Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book Ninety-Six

For spring break, just a few weeks ago, my family and I went away for tens days and I had a blissful time not working and not doing dozens of chores every day. I slept and dozed, and I realized that I was completely exhausted. I also realized that I am a bit of a workaholic. I take on so many writing and editing projects that I find myself scrambling to get everything done. I spend my life trying to keep up. Today's picture book is about a woman who discovers that too much work and no play really is not a good thing, which is something I need to keep in mind too.

Ingrid and Dieter Schubert
Picture Book
Ages 4 to 7
Lemniscaat, 2003, 978-1932425024
   Kate is a highly organized, very tidy, and extremely efficient sort of person, but she isn’t in the slightest bit friendly. In fact, one could even go so far as to say that Kate is downright grumpy. She likes things done her way, and all things messy, untidy, and disorganized irritate her. The sad thing about Kate is that she misses out on some of the fun things in life. When a huge, scatterbrained, messy, but extremely charming and friendly giant moves in next door, Kate is not pleased. She wants nothing to do with him, his animals, and his fun-loving and rather lazy ways.
   So, all summer Kate works and works, and the giant plays, sleeps, and loafs. Then the winter starts to approach and in no time at all a ranging storm has blown away the giant’s flimsy hut.  Now Kate may be an unfriendly sort, but she isn’t cold-hearted, and she soon has the giant in her house, out of the cold and the wet. What follows is a most extraordinary encounter between two very different kinds of people. The giant suggests that he should make a bit of soup, but of course Kate doesn’t want to use any of “her food” to make it. The giant has to become very resourceful and sensitive to overcome their differences. Can these two very opposite people find a middle ground?
   With wonderfully busy, detailed illustrations that are the delight of small children, and with a touching and simple story, the creators of this book amuse and entertain us. They also give us pause to think about the nature of people, and how too much of anything is not always a good thing, be it hard work, or hard play.

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