Castle of Books

Tate. Mar. 2020. 48p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781849766685.
PreS-Gr 1–Two children contemplate the reason for books in this thoughtful, imaginative picture book. After an unseen narrator asks why they need books, two children supply a plethora of answers, first beginning with more practical responses such as being able to observe and discover, to more leisurely reasons such as play. The answers then begin to build into deeper concepts, such as developing empathy, creativity, and personal growth, and even the more abstract, such as using books to travel or to fly in a figurative sense. After listing these reasons, the narrator joyously decides to understand the reason for books. Sanna’s text is succinct, but purposeful, with the narrative evolving from the more grounded and rational responses to the more creative, profound, and whimsical reasons. With the brevity of text, the illustrations become central and are featured on two-page spreads; the unbridled lines and colors coupled with the unconventional and conceptualized art style deftly showcase the fantasy of reading and the spectacle of the imagination. With whimsy, creativity, and affection, this story will resonate with lovers of books both young and old.
VERDICT Recommended. A wondrous and meaningful portrayal of the power of books and the reasons they are so needed.

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