Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hello, Goodbye Window

Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster and illustrations by Chris Raschka is precious and fabulous and feel-good and down-home and picture book love. This 2006 Caldecott winner pairs two top notch artists and it's perfect like creamy garlic mashed potatoes.

This is a story about a little girl who stays with Nanna and Poppy while her parents go to work and about the hello, goodbye window, actually a large kitchen window in the front of the house, where the sweet humming of life's day to day activities play out. Mostly this story is about family and love. It's multi-generational and multi-racial it's simple and yet describes complex emotions for little ones. "Mommy and Daddy pick me up after work. I'm glad because I know we're going home, but it makes me sad too because I have to leave Nanna and Poppy. You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know. It just happens that way sometimes."

This book has its eccentricities too, like Poppy and how he makes oatmeal for breakfast with bananas and raisins that he hides down inside. Or how he plays Oh Suzanna on the harmonica (the only song he can play but in many different ways.) Or how he exclaims, "HELLO, WORLD! WHAT HAVE YOU GOT FOR US TODAY?" Oh, they play, play, play together, it's what grandparents do best! There's a wonderful illustration of Nanna and the little girl looking out the window at the stars. "Do you know how many stars there are? Neither do I, but she knows them all." Now these are not twinkle, twinkle little white stars we see. No, they're Chris Raschka stars. They're stars as a child might have drawn in pink, yellow and green with straight lines that intersect. And if you adore Raschka's art like I do you will also enjoy Five for a Little one. -Just had to mention that little gem. I think I could read Hello, Goodbye Window everyday for a year...or two, and smile at Poppy chasing his granddaughter with the hose- so wonderful. Well, I had to include a soundtrack.

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