One comes to this book with high expectations given the mother/son author team combined with the wonderful artistic talents of illustrator Shadra Strickland. It was only the illustrations, however, that didn’t disappoint me.
Louise is a little girl who gets some advice from an unnamed adult, who assures her that “If you are sometimes lonely or sometimes sad, know that the world is big but not so bad.” Louise may be frightened, but “Scary thoughts are your creation when you have no information.”
Louise is directed to a place she can count on to find out about the world – the public library: “Here is shelter from any storm. In this place you are never alone. These books are loyal friends, helping you explore, dream, discover, think, learn, and know much, much more.”
Louise leaves the library with a wagon full of books and she is smiling:
“Fear and sadness – where did they go?
Louise doesn’t care. Louise doesn’t know.”
Evaluation: I found the quality of the verse to be very disappointing. In addition, the message conveyed won’t please all parents, who might like their children to exercise caution when they don’t know if, for example, a dog or a person on the street or an abandoned car or house – all of which Louise passes by on her journey – may in fact represent dangers that should not be explored. But the watercolor-and-gouache paintings by Shadra Strickland are adorable.
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2014