Perfect Picture Book Friday – Brown Is Warm, Black Is Bright

Just a smidge behind with the post this morning (oops! 😊) but woohoo! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a book I thought was gorgeous on this level. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I highly recommend finding a copy because it is not to be missed!

Let’s have a look, shall we?

Title: Brown Is Warm, Black Is Bright

Written By: Sarah L. Thomson

Illustrated By: Keith Mallett

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers, August 30, 2022, lyrical fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Brown, Black, natural world, dreams

text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown

Opening: “Brown is crisp. . .
crunch and crackle,
catch me as I fall.
Black is splash. . .
Spray! Splatter!
to send a puddle flying.”

text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “Have you ever paused to savor the power and beauty of brown and black? Brown is strong as a tree and sweet as honey in tea; black is the hopeful promise of a seed and the grace of a bird in flight… and the quiet space where dreams begin.”

text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown

Links To Resources: what do Black and Brown (or other colors) mean to you? How do they make you feel? Draw a picture of it, or write a haiku or a poem about it. What do you think of when you think of Black or Brown (or other colors)? Recipes to make? Make them! Flowers or vegetables to plant? Plant them! What is one dream you have? Is it something you’d like to share? Or something to hold in your heart just for you?

text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown

Why I Like This Book: This book is a perfect example of what picture books should be – a beautiful marriage of text and art. It is a celebration of Black and Brown, but also of love and hope and wonder, strength and dreams and play, warmth and safety, and the beauty of the natural world. The words are lyrical and evocative, and the art is warm and lush and gorgeous. It makes you feel the text. And Keith Mallett’s skill with facial expression is remarkable. A lovely read that will create a feeling of calm and safety and encourage children to explore all that the world has to offer outside, and all the dreams they may have inside.

text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown
text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Sonny’s Bridge

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, and this week I have a legitimate perfect picture book to share with you (after last week’s falling down on the job 😊)

Wait until you see this book, due out in May, so you’ll have to wait just a little to read it, but you can pre-order your copy today or request it from your local library!

Sonny's Bridge

Title: Sonny’s Bridge

Written By: Barry Wittenstein

Illustrated By: Keith Mallett

Charlesbridge, May 21, 2019, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 6-9

Themes/Topics: music (jazz), finding yourself

Opening:
Misty night.
Summer night.
East River New York City night.
You hear that?
     Hear what?
That.  THAT!
     Somebody’s playing the saxophone.  So what?
So that’ Sonny Rollins, that’s what.
     Wait.  WHAT? That’s Sonny Rollins? The Sonny Rollins?
     What the heck is Sonny Rollins doing on the Williamsburg Bridge
     this time of night?
Nobody knows, man.  Nobody knows.  ‘Cept Sonny, and
He. Ain’t. Sayin’.

Brief Synopsis: The 1950s was a great time to be a jazz musician.  Sonny Rollins began playing saxophone as a kid in Harlem and rocketed to fame at a young age.  But the demands of two shows a day every day for ten years took their toll, as did the pressure of people’s expectations of greatness.  Sonny took a break from performing, but he couldn’t take a break from music – it was who he was.  He had to find a place to play where he could feel the music and it wouldn’t bother anyone else.  Williamsburg Bridge was the perfect place for Sonny to restore himself, practice and play to his heart’s content, find his own music, until he was ready to return to recording with new self-confidence.

Links To Resources: the back matter of the book is a wealth of resources.  The author tells  about his own experience with jazz; there are “Liner Notes: About The Bridge Album”; there is a timeline of Sonny’s life; quotes from Sonny: and resources for learning more.

Additional information from a conversation with the author (thank you, Barry 😊): when asked how he’d come to “write in jazz”, Barry answered that he had written and performed poetry in college and always loved the Beat poets.  That combined with his acquired love of jazz made the vibe come naturally.

Why I Like This Book: I loved this book for the history – the information about Sonny’s life and music, the way the title page looks like a vinyl record album with the needle dropping to play, the message that even great artists can succumb to pressure and moments of self-doubt –  but even better was the way the story was told.  Barry literally wrote in jazz.  You can feel it in the opening lines above.  And some of my favorite lines:

Painting rhythms with colors nobody ever seen before.

Now Sonny’s gotta find a place no one goes.
Where he can make notes cry and squeak, beg and plead, 
bend ’em up, bend ’em sideways.

and

Dark shades on to keep the inside from getting out
and the outside from getting in.

All of those lines could just as easily pertain to writers, or artists of any kind – looking for new ways to express themselves, the privacy to experiment, feel and perfect, and a way to hold onto creativity without distraction or doubt creeping in to ruin it.

In addition, Keith Mallett’s art is amazing and absolutely perfect for the book.  Deep blue and purple nighttime scenes, deep orange sunset behind building silhouettes, and brighter day time scenes.  I love this page:

fullsizeoutput_16e8

text copyright Barry Wittenstein 2019, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2019

I apologize – my iphone photo doesn’t do it justice!  The blues and purples are much better than this in real life!

Overall this is an amazing book with a lot to offer educationally and artistically.  A great addition to any classroom, library, or kids’ room shelf!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂