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Friday, July 24, 2015

Ask Me, written by Bernard Waber and illustrated by Suzy Lee. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son. 2015. $21.99 ages 3 and up

"And I like beetles,
and bumblebees, and
And I like flowers.
No, I love flowers.
Bees love flowers, too.
And bees make honey,

When Bernard Waber died two years ago, we did not know that there would be another book from his pen, published posthumously. So, it is a special treat to be able to share Ask Me with you. It is a book for all; but especially for dads and their small daughters. If you happen to know someone like that, and are looking for a gift that is a gentle reminder of the beauty to be found in a shared walk, it is perfect!

As they stroll through autumn glory, the little one has her father ask her what she likes. She is full of enthusiasm and wonder. He is patient and fully engaged in their shared conversation. As they walk, she is reminded of the many wonderful things in this world that please her. He extends the conversation with pertinent questions. I love the feeling you get in reading this back and forth between the two. It is evidence of time spent together and how strong the bond between them truly is. What a delight to read their story!

Suzy Lee uses colored pencils with a soft touch, in keeping with the tenor of the tale. Primary colors attract the eye, while making the whole design look deceptively simple. The loose lines, expressive faces, have our attention placed squarely on the two as they wander together.

The ending to a perfect day comes all too soon:

"Wait. Ask me something else.
Ask me if I want another good night kiss.
Would you like another good night kiss?
Yes, I would like another good night kiss."

What a gift Bernard Waber left us!


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