At long last, the third book in this trilogy, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon, was published this week.
The first book is Spoon, published in 2009. I was immediately captivated by the clever story of a spoon who feels that he misses out on everything. Knife gets to spread, and fork goes practically everywhere. Chopsticks are cool and exotic. He’s just a plain old spoon. His mother tells him what his friends say, that he can measure, and dive into a bowl of ice cream head first. He learns to see himself in a whole new way.
This is the perfect book to read to a child who might have some self esteem or self confidence issues. And, doesn’t every child feel that way at times?
The second book, Chopsticks, was written in 2012. Chopsticks have never been apart and are best friends. While learning some fancy new culinary tricks, SNAP! A chopstick breaks his leg. “Chopstick was quickly whisked away” (to the doctor.) This subtle humor is carried throughout the book. Everyone waited. “No one stirred, not even spoon.” As chopstick heals, the other chopstick tells him to venture off and try new things. “Go. Chop, chop.” He learns there is much he can do alone, like pole vault and play Pick Up Sticks. Once his leg healed, the two could stand alone or stick together.
This is the perfect book to read to a child who is worried, or afraid to take a risk, or try something new.
In 2017, author Amy Krause Rosenthal passed away from cancer. She had written the third book in the trilogy before she died. This past weekend, illustrator Scott Magoon introduced the new book, Straw, at a local bookstore. He was terrific! Everyone laughed at the clever humor and play on words in the story. Besides reading, he drew illustrations, and included children in drawing.
Straw lives up to the reputation of the other two books. Straw has a big family and many friends, but “He has a great thirst for being first.” He zips through drinking and is ‘bent’ on always being first… until he races through a very cold drink and gets BRAIN FREEZE! He was feeling low until a friend came along and showed him not everything is a race. ” You gotta stop and smell the milk shake.” He learned to blow bubbles and see their rainbows (that was the illustration he drew, with children helping to draw the bubbles.) He shared all he had seen with his friends. “What you’re feeling is called awe, Straw.”
This is the perfect book to read to a child who always wants to be first or be the boss.
As he drew an amazing illustration of Straw and the bubbles, he suddenly stopped and said to the audience,
“Let’s help bend the world a little bit and blow bubbles in our glasses.”
Everyone knew what he meant. Take the time to pay attention and see beautiful things.
Straw has a sideways page. I remember vividly one from the (one and only) book my grandmother read to me, The Five Chinese Brothers. I’m glad to say a sideways page still holds the same awe for children.
I told Scott that his books were being read to hundreds and thousands of children. I told him he made a difference. Authors and illustrators need to hear this from the messenger, the one who reads their story aloud. That’s me. They need to know children connect and ‘get it’. They need to know their book has made a difference.
Okay, the book signing line was long, and my fellow teachers were giving me the hairy eyeball as I talked to Scott. Yet, Scott’s eyes said it all. He was deeply grateful and happy.