The Little Books of the Little Brontës

Tundra. Oct. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780735263697.
Gr 2-5–Lively text and illustrations introduce the Brontë family, who lived “many years before you were born” in a house “at the edge of the wild moors.” A double-page illustration contrasts the lonely landscape with the book-filled interior where Charlotte reads aloud a book she has made for Anne, her youngest sister. The rest of the family is first glimpsed at the dinner table, where empty chairs mark the recent loss of their mother and two oldest sisters. A “world unto themselves,” the four children explore the moors, read voraciously, and write their own stories to share and enact among themselves. When their father gives them toys, a box of wooden soldiers piques their imagination. They craft tiny books for the soldiers in writing so small that none of the adults in the house can read it. “The books they write are tiny, but the worlds inside them are huge.” Mixed media illustrations add period detail and enliven the narrative; books and pets may be glimpsed on almost every page. Excellent appendices include an author’s note, time line, and instructions for making a book, as well as a photo showing some of the books made by the Brontë children. This work is excellent for small group sharing, especially for fans of longer picture books like Sophie Blackall’s Farmhouse or Melissa Sweet’s picture book biographies.
VERDICT Exquisitely crafted text and illustrations convey an emotionally resonant tale of resilient family bonds and the lasting joy of stories.

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