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The Picture Book Buzz

Reading Together - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

This is a beautiful #PPBF picture book celebrating the magic and imagination of reading and the creation of memories and precious family time.

Book cover - a mother, father, young girl, and a dog enjoying time together reading.

Reading Together: A Heartwarming Story About Bonding with Your Child Through the Love of Reading

Author: Robert Broder

Illustrator: Melissa Larson

Publisher: Blue Star Press (2024)

Ages: 4-8

Fiction


Themes:

Joy of reading, family time, books, and imagination.


Synopsis:

Discover the magic of reading together with this story of a family’s love for picture books and the moments of laughter, imagination, and connection they share. Filled with playful illustrations and fond memories from classic children’s tales, this book takes you on a nostalgic journey through childhood, when the joys of discovering new stories together create bonds that last a lifetime.


Whether you're a parent looking to relive the magic of reading with your child, or simply a lover of picture books, this book is a must-read for anyone who values the bond of family and the power of storytelling.


Opening Lines:

When you were born,

and we carried you into our home,

we read to you.


Before you could sit up on your own

and look at the thick shiny pages,

we read to you.

Over and over.


What I LOVED about this book: I love this opening image of the family (and cat) all snuggled together in a rocking chair reading to their baby! Melissa Larson's created such a wonderful atmosphere with her earthy tones, roaring fire, and best of all - a room full of books. The cat on the stack of books in the nursery definitely triggers memories of the mountains of books we brought home from the library and our nightly routine of "just one more book ..."

Internal spread - on left, a mother, father, baby , and cat all piled up in a rocking chair reading. On the right, mother and father lying on a rug in the nursery reading to a baby.

Text © Robert Broder, 2024. Image © Melissa Larson, 2024.

As the book explores the parent's enthusiasm of sharing books, first concept board books then nursery rhymes, they are joined by a dog and a growing sense of imagination flowing out of the books and coming to life around the young girl and her family.

Internal spread - on left, a mother, father, young girl, cat , and bok snuggled on the parent's bed reading. On right a plant grows out of a book and a doll and bear share a tea party.

Text © Robert Broder, 2024. Image © Melissa Larson, 2024.

When the girl grew up, as kids are prone to do, and so did the stories and the imaginative scenes playing out around the family. The stories "became a part of us. A part of our family." With a gentle, lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations, the family discovers "Dinosaurs and pirates. Bears and monsters. Lions and fairies." and even made up their own stories. Young readers will enjoy the colorfully imaginative spreads and adults will reminisce about the books they read as kids or read to their kids. I remember escaping into the pages of so many books as a child, especially ones with horses, dogs, and spunky young girls.


Even though ultimately picture books were exchanged for comics and chapter books. The joy in reading and spending time together continued. From acting out the comic scenes, to the child reading to the parents, and a wonderful image of family time around a campfire reading a book together, even if "We started learning that not all stories have happy endings." I absolutely adore Melissa Larson's campfire scene and her capture of their love of reading and each other. It reminds me of some of our camping trips.

Internal spread - on left mother and father drinking coffee as the girl reads to them at the kitchen table. On right, the family sits at a campfire roasting marshamallows and reading a book.

Text © Robert Broder, 2024. Image © Melissa Larson, 2024.


Slightly reminiscent of "Puff The Magic Dragon," the ending hits a lightly melancholy note, one that will resonate with many parents, before finishing with a perfect "aww" moment and a stunning illustration. This is a great book for encouraging reading and family time. It's a perfect gift for a new family or anyone who loves reading and books.


Resources:

  • what book, or books, did you like when you were younger? What's your favorite book now? Why?

  • can you name all the books or nursery rhymes which the author or illustrator referenced?

  • the girl and her parents made up a story of floating in a boat and riding a Pegasus through cotton-candy pink and yellow clouds. Make up your own story and write it, make it a comic, or illustrate it.

  • do you have a special place to read? if not, imagine the most amazing place to read. Write a description or draw an image of this real or imaginary place.

If you missed my fun interview with Robert Broder on Monday, find it (here).


This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions and resources see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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