Even Quiet Books Can Surprise You

Monday I blogged about quiet picture books. I had not yet read I Know a Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand but it does it right. That said, when I picked the book up, I wasn’t so sure.

My first thought when I got it home from the library and flipped through it was how dated it is. That was when I decided that the illustrations looked like they were from the sixties. Since the book’s original copyright is 1956, that shows that Paul Rand was a visionary. Ha! I’m joking.

But only a little. Because, like many quiet books, this story is timeless. That’s because it doesn’t deal with the tech that is current now or current events. It deals with feelings.

It deals with knowing and growing and exploring the world. In part, the depth comes from the fact that the last page looks into the future. The rest of the book is about where the character is now. The last spread moves the focus forward to what will come. It isn’t super specific. Instead it is lyric and poetic and deliciously open ended.

The hook? That’s securely on the first spread when the narrator announces that he knows when he looks into a mirror, he sees himself. That’s the signal for the reader. “Me, too! This kid is just like me.”

The depth comes as the narrator reveals what he knows about pets and then moves into the larger natural world. Then back to himself on that very last spread.

The illustrations aren’t contemporary. They don’t look like todays digital illustrations. Or even lusciously detailed tapestries of color found in today’s picture books. Blocky though they may be, they feel deliciously retro like Converse sneakers and skinny jeans.

This book is a quiet story that just makes you want to sigh, flip back to the front of the book and begin reading it again. This will definitely be something I wrap for the kids next Christmas. You mean you’re not shopping yet? I’m not really, but I always keep my eyes open for great books to share with them and with you.


#PictureBooks #booklovers

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