There are so many beautiful and sophisticated picture books being published – blends of fiction and nonfiction, illustrated books, and books that defy easy categorization. These hybrid books can be challenging for libraries because it’s not always clear how to shelve them, but when I get stuck, I put them on permanent display, concerned that if they disappear onto the shelf, they won’t be seen again. It seems like there’s a trend toward making thoughtful and well-designed books that exist in the space between children’s books and adult books that could be displayed on a coffee table.
We received two new picture books this week, and both could justifiably be put into the art section: Look at the Weather by Britta Teckentrup and Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall. Either would be a perfect gift for your child, your mother, or your best friend.
Look at the Weather is a chance to do just that: 152 pages of paintings of every kind of weather: sun, rain, ice, snow – and extreme weather like rainstorms and tornadoes. It’s a nonfiction book, but poetic and awe-inspiring. What the book does best is instill a sense of wonder and curiosity about the weather beyond our daily check on which coat to wear. It reminds us of the weather’s power to create beauty and sometimes fear and destruction. The book has a larger trim size, giving the illustrations “room” to convey the mood of specific weather events.
If you know a child or adult interested in weather, this is the gift you have been looking for.
It’s hard to look at Sophie Blackall’s new picture book, Hello Lighthouse, without the temptation to get the scissors and cut out the pages to hang on your walls. Blackall’s pictures are cozy and warm, even old fashioned. It’s the kind of book to keep by your bedside so when the news of day gets you down, you can ease into the night by looking at Blackall’s warm and cozy scenes.
The story is about the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his family before the keeper is replaced by a mechanical light. Even though the actual idea of being that isolated from the world is daunting, Hello Lighthouse makes a life of winding the clock and polishing a lighthouse lens seem like paradise.
Yesterday was beautiful, sunny and warm with signs of spring everywhere. I celebrated the new season by going to one of my favorite events: Books in Bloom at the James Library in Norwell. Each year a group of devoted and creative people select a book to bring to life in flowers. Here are a few I especially enjoyed: