It all starts when a boy picks up and starts reading a book that was left by someone else on a NYC subway bench...
We think this 2010 Giverny Award-winning book will become a special joy and treasure for children in the upper-half of the age-band (ages 4 to 8) that is typically served by children's science picture books.
It couples sound botanical content with green and wonderful illustrations depicting the vivid imagination of the boy and girl in the story.
The lush artwork is evokes the wonder of a visit to experience California redwood trees--up-close and personal.
The book's carefully chosen science content is the trigger for the imagination of the children in the story--both city-dwellers who are likely unfamiliar with any forest--much less one containing these giant redwood trees. We think it can do the same for its readers.
The book's artistic device is to portray what the characters are thinking when they read the book. What is also clever is this is really a book about a book.
The variety of visual perspectives the book offers of these magnificent trees, coupled with the viewpoints of two city-wise but nature-deprived urban children, make this book a delight to read.
We especially liked the injection of 3- and 4-shot series of illustrations for visual variety. Small visual details and a very subtle ecological message repay repeated readings by a child.
Last but not least, we have found that children are fascinated by the idea of a "never-ending story"--as the abandoned book in the story recirculates to capture the imagination of child after child.
Finally, we think Jason Chin's artist-storyteller genius is never more evident than when we notice that the little girl's imagination of the same book DIFFERS from that of the little boy.
May Jason Chin go on to write more delightful children's science picture books like this one!