Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Starting in close and pulling back, this love letter to libraries foregrounds their gift for connecting each reader with just the right story. Schu (This Is a School) starts with books' basic element--"This is a word"--then widens out from word to page, page to book, book to shelf, and to the world, "full of humans," who sometimes need help "connecting." In thick-lined ink, watercolor, and pastel art from Castillo (The Ramble Shamble Children), the first book shown--Chris Butterworth's Sea Horse--is just right for a pale-skinned child who totes an unwieldy seahorse kite into the library after visiting a New York City park. A light-skinned librarian knowingly proffers the title, and the child is soon belly down with it on the round rug. Subsequent pages introduce variously diverse "readers/ with minds full of questions," whose visits lead to finding a book that aligns with their interests. Realistically drawn, recognizable book jackets cover the pages, creating jumping-off points and sparks of recognition in a title that's both the next best thing to an actual library visit and fine preparation for a first foray. Ages 4--8. Author's agent: Molly O'Neill, Root Literary. Illustrator's agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Mar.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 2--An homage to book and library lovers everywhere, Schu and Castillo's book takes readers on a journey that shows how words can lead to human connections. The main character is a young girl whose love for seahorses leads her to the local library. There she meets the librarian, who looks a lot like Schu, and other children who love books. The sentences are simple, often with just one word per page. The main character is depicted as white, but a diverse group of children and adults are included in all other aspects of the story. Castillo uses ink, watercolor, and pastel to create a beautiful and vibrant library setting that invites everyone into the spreads. Those in the know will have fun spying illustrated covers of actual picture books. VERDICT A valentine to reading, books, the love of books, and the rooms that house them, this charmer will find a home in every heart.--V. Lynn Christiansen
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
To find just the right book--that is the question and the answer. "This is a word. This is a word on a page. This is a page in a book." A light-skinned family--two children and their caregiver--visits the library and finds a whole world of words, pages, shelves, and books waiting for readers to discover them and unlock their secrets. The older child, lying on their tummy, reads their book, enraptured. Other enthralled kids are there, too--"with minds full of questions…with ideas to explore…with hopes for the future…with imaginations ready to spark," all caught up in the words in their own selected books, some of which readers may recognize. This brief, very simply told tale clearly makes the point that readers often forge meaningful connections with books. It also expresses the idea that a story "helps us understand…everything!" While this is a lovely notion, it's a vague, idealistic (and not necessarily true) one that young children may not fully grasp--though they'll relate to the idea of losing themselves in beloved books. The soft illustrations, created with ink, watercolor, and pastel, suit the gentle narrative. They depict racial diversity; one child is shown wearing a yarmulke. The children's librarian is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A slightly lofty but sweet tribute to a book's ability to create deep, lasting connections with readers. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.