How to Love and Care For a Book

I read to children a lot, but I’ve never had a child squeal with delight when I removed the book jacket to reveal the book’s cover.  Such is the magic of the book The Jacket by Kirsten Hall and illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova, published by Enchanted Lion Books, 2014.  Actually, I don’t often take the jacket off a book, but this one is special.

I read it to Karishma, my 6 year old neighbor here at BridgeMeadows community.  She’s become my go-to girl for reading picture books.  Most kids delight in story, but Karishma seeks books out and is always working on one of her own.  She was very interested in this story about a book that is alive.
Not only is Book alive, but he’s a bit lonely and in need of someone to care about him.

Finally, a girl discovers Book and takes him home:

The art is playful and inviting with lots of white space

But Book isn’t the only love in the girl’s life.  There’s her dog.

The name Egg Cream always gets a laugh from kids

Book can see why the girl loves Egg Cream, but he’s a big slobbery problem to Book, and that dog’s always interrupting the girl’s reading.

Tolstikova’s creates great expressions for book and the girl

One day, a disaster happens and Egg Cream damages Book.  The girl is upset and it feels like she no longer loves Book.  The next morning, however, the girl makes Book a jacket and he is even more special to her.  The last pages of the book show how to make a book jacket for any book you love.

One of the things I loved about The Jacket was that although Book saw Egg Cream as a problem and was damaged by him, they never became real enemies.  The girl, the book, and the dog are all a kind of family, and there are ways to work out things if there is love.  The sweet way the girl repairs Book delights the children I read it to. 

It’s always a pleasure when I find books like this because the children I read to are all part of adoptive families.  Some are adopted into families, some are with their birth parents but have adopted brothers and sisters.  They need stories about creative resolutions to problems. stories that show how damaged things can be repaired – sometimes in ways that make them more colorful.

I read it to a group of children, and before I started I asked them if any of them had a very favorite book they liked to read over and over again.  None of them did.  After I read it, one girl said, “The Jacket’s my favorite book now.”
When I read it to Karishma, it was just me and her.  After I read it, I took off the jacket.

She squealed, “It’s book!” grabbed it from me and hugged it.  “Oh Book, I’m so happy you’re here.”  Then she was quiet for minute.  “Wait a minute.  This is Book.  And Book is a book about a book.  That’s awesome.”

Awesome, indeed.

Here’s a trailer for The Jacket:

Kirsten Hall is a former teacher who wrote learn-to-read books for Scholastic .  She is the proprietor of Catbird Productions, a literary agency.  The Jacket is her debut picture book.  You can learn more about her by clicking here.
Dasha Tolstikova has held many jobs including photographer, reporter, film producer and painter.  This is her debut into the world of picture books.  You can find out more about her here.
The Jacket was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of 2014 and a Huffington Post Honorable Mention for ‘Most Charming’ Picture Book of 2014. 
The publisher, Enchanted Lion Books, publishes LOTS of charming and thoughtful books.  You can see their catalog by clicking here.  I reviewed another of their books, The Hole, by Oyvind Torseter earlier this year and you can click here to see it.  I will review more in the very near future.
You can read reviews that Karishma helped me with here (Wild by Emily Hughes) and here(Hug Me by Simona Ciraolo).

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