The blue table

Christopher Raschka

Book - 2020

The blue table becomes more than just a blue table, as plans are made, families gather, and food is served, and gratitude is felt.

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Picture books
New York, NY : Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers [2020]
Main Author
Christopher Raschka (author)
First edition
Physical Description
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Spare text and images center the titular cerulean table, around which a small family--and later, a second--gathers to share meals and gratitude. Instead of showing human figures, Caldecott Medalist Raschka showcases tabletop objects and dishes from a bird's-eye view, which appear and disappear as the pages turn. In colorful illustrations crafted from watercolor and cut-paper collage, a glass of milk first signifies "a child." Across the gutter, the addition of a coffee cup and saucer to the surface indicates another arrival--"a parent." And a page turn later, "another parent" joins, the table now host to a second coffee cup, a plate of cinnamon rolls, and activities befitting a comfortable breakfast (a newspaper, a book, crayons and paper). "Good things/ from the garden,// the store,/ and the farm" are assembled next, among them veggies and a turkey, and a leaf is added to the blue table in preparation for "one more family." Images include hands and forearms in a variety of skin tones as all gather, "thankful," for a many-coursed meal. A gentle picture book that celebrates the joy to be found in both everyday routines and holiday abundance. Ages 4--8. (Oct.)

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Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-K--A blue table is the focal point of this brightly colored picture book that takes the food icons of Thanksgiving--pie, turkey, potatoes, corn--and transcends them for a simple story of gathering and gratitude. First one family comes together, planning and organizing, and then a second family joins in to share a lovely meal. The simplicity is deliberate; there is no dialogue, only two dozen words, and there are no faces of the people planning or participating in the meal. Only the hands of the people are shown, allowing readers to see that the characters are of different races. The bright watercolor pictures will offer opportunities to engage young readers in discussions about what the pictures mean and what they might enjoy for a shared meal. VERDICT A pleasant story, with an indelible blue table as its hearth, and most collections will want to add it to their shelves.--Debbie Tanner, S D Spady Montessori Elem., FL

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Review by Horn Book Review

The titular blue table in Raschka's (Mama Baby, rev. 3/20) latest offering is akin to a stage, with props appearing to represent characters named in the text but initially unseen in the art. Throughout, watercolor and collage illustrations match the text's simplicity, with loose, gestural lines lending a comforting roundness. "A child" is the first character mentioned, represented by a glass of milk on the blue table. Nearby is a vase with a cheery yellow flower that first appeared on the opening wordless page, both objects invoking those who placed them there. Next, a cup and saucer, a mug, a newspaper, and a book introduce "a parent," and "another parent." Someone also places a plate of pastries on the table, and the child's setting grows to include paper and crayons. Then, all objects disappear on a page reading "get going." The blue table is empty -- but not for long. "Good things from the garden, the store, and the farm" arrive. But perhaps the most pleasing arrival is anticipated by wordless pages in which the table is extended to accommodate "one more family." Now Raschka provides glimpses of people holding hands around the table in thanksgiving. Readers may regard this scene as the Thanksgiving holiday, but it could evoke any occasion of togetherness, perhaps providing comfort and hope for a return to such times in a post-pandemic world. Megan Dowd Lambert January/February 2021 p.89(c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A blue table symbolizes and facilitates the connections among family members and between friends. Raschka creates his narrative in two straightforward sentences. His paintings reflect the action and objects described while adding nuance and detail. The story, like most days, begins with breakfast. Food, drinks, and other objects stand in for the characters. "A child" is represented by a glass of milk. Two parents drink from a teacup and a mug; a plate of pastries is shared. A newspaper, book, crayons, paper, scissors, and a flower in a vase spread across the comfortably crowded table before it is cleared so that the family can "get going." Next, the table fills right back up again. Food from the garden, store, and farm are piled high. An apple pie is constructed in preparation for a celebratory meal shared with another family of three. The aerial, foreshortened perspective throughout and numerous items on some pages may give the impression that the jumble of objects is random. Close examination, however, is richly repaid, with the disappearance of food and drink indicating the passage of time and the use of the child's crayon drawings as place cards tying the two meals together. Shown only from the elbows down, the six diners include two with brown skin and four whose skin tone varies from pink to amber. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.5-by-23-inch double-page spreads viewed at 100% of actual size.) A charming and cozy celebration of the places and routines that anchor and connect us. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.