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Review of Windows

Windows
by Julia Denos; illus. by E. B. Goodale
Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g
10/17    978-0-7636-9035-9    $15.99

“At the end of the day, before the town goes to sleep… / you can take a walk, out your door / into the almost-night.” A brown-skinned child puts on a red hoodie and heads out to take the dog for a walk, mother watching protectively from the apartment window. This child, the “you” of the text, traverses a populous urban neighborhood, musing on the activities glimpsed through windows of buildings passed along the way: “There might be a hug / or a piano / and someone might be learning to dance.” After a few city blocks and some time at the dog park, the child arrives home again: “You look at your window from the outside. / Someone you love is waving at you, / and you can’t wait to go in.” The book closes with mother and child curled up in a chair, reading a book together. The tone is contemplative, balanced by considerable action in the ink, watercolor, letterpress, and digital collage illustrations and a sense of vibrant life throughout. Carefully composed double-page spreads contain enough detail to intrigue but not overwhelm, and although the book becomes progressively darker as night falls, there’s always a glow — from the spectacular sunset, from the many lit-up windows. Several recent picture books feature nighttime urban walks (The Way Home in the Night, rev. 7/17; City Moon, reviewed in this issue); this one stands out for its child protagonist’s independence, its matter-of-factly benign portrayal of a diverse neighborhood, the emotion conveyed by the language, and the stunningly atmospheric art.

From the November/December 2017 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano About Martha V. Parravano

Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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Comments

  1. Sam Juliano says:

    “…..this one stands out for its child protagonist’s independence, its matter-of-factly benign portrayal of a diverse neighborhood, the emotion conveyed by the language, and the stunningly atmospheric art…”

    Perfectly framed! I know a Calling Caldecott qualification essay on this title is imminent, so I’ll save my scene-specific observation for that post, but I can still applaud this ever-perception look at a real metaphorical mood piece of a book that is meant to be as celebratory as it is all-encompassing. Lovely book.

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