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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Things to Do, written by Elaine Magliaro and illustrated by Catia Chien. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2017. $

"Things to do if you are a

Flit among flowers.
Sip nectar for hours.
Be yellow and fuzzy.
Stay busy.
Be buzzy.

Things to do if you are an
ACORN ... "

I have always had great admiration for those who write books to fire the imagination, and act as an example of what can be said through a love of  poetry. Of course the words must be so carefully chosen. It cannot be an easy task. Yet, when we read the published work and share it out loud, it seems so impossibly right. That is exactly how I felt when I read Elaine Magliaro's debut book. I have been following her at for a number of years. It's lovely to hear that the book is being welcomed by many.

The concept seems simple - think of a child's world, pick a word that inspires, and imagine what you might do in its place:

Things to do if you are an

Be pliable and pink.
If I draw before I think,
          rub out every mistake
that I happen to make.
That's what your job's all about.

                 Go on -
                            wear yourself out!"

What fun! I have tried a few myself. Lucky I am not looking to have a book published, but I had a good time trying to imagine myself as turtle, wind, pond, snowdrift.  Ms. Magliaro includes a wide range of topics: dawn, birds, honeybee, acorn, snail, sun, sky, eraser, scissors, rain, boots. orb spider, crickets, and moon.

The acrylic artwork is textured and a lovely complement to the strength of the poetry. Perspectives change, emotions are clear, the colors are gorgeous, bright and have real impact. Young listeners will follow the dog and its owner with interest as they make their way through a joyful, busy day. Imaginative, buoyant, and thoughtful, this is a book worthy of repeated readings.

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