Picture Book Look

In a Village by the Sea

on January 7, 2016

This picture book reminded me of something very important. I had heard a lot of buzz about it and so I was excited to snag a copy. I read through it, and, as I often do, I asked my teen daughter to read it also. We love sharing all kinds of books with each other, but since picture books are my favorite, I often ask her to read whatever it is I’m reading so we can then discuss our various observations.

I read the book, gathered my thoughts, and then asked my daughter to read it as well. What each of us took away from the book was tremendously different, and it was then that I was reminded that a good picture book must be savored. As one might savor the pleasure of a decadent dessert, it must not be rushed, or much will be missed.

The joy of this book comes in the artwork. It comes in the simple, repetitive text that is comforting in the way that one is able to anticipate the next line and is satisfied to see it appear upon turning the page. The joy comes in the continuity of the dog being present on nearly every page. It comes in relating to the warmth and love evoked by the combination of words and images, and it comes in the playfulness of the cricket, who we first meet on the title page. . .and if we are not rushing, we will notice he has something like a scroll in his hands and two screws sitting idly by. What are those for, you wonder.

Yes, there are many “lessons” available in In a Village by the Sea. For my midwest American family, we see a way of life not familiar to us, (coastal) as well as a different culture (Vietnamese). But there are many ways in which the book showcases our similarities. . .the father going off to work, the family waiting expectantly for his return,  and the love that is felt when we see him return home safely to the family he loves so much.

I encourage you to read In a Village by the Sea with a little one on your lap if possible. My guess would be that he or she will notice every bit of the magic that is woven through this lovely picture book. And remember, slow down and experience the book through eyes of wonder.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: