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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Someone Like Me, written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Chris Sheban. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2017. $ 23.99 ages 4 and up

"A girl who hid under the
flowered tablecloth of the
dinner table,
watching the shoes
of the grown-ups who
told secrets

and never knew
she was there,
who tried to teach her dog
to talk by moving his lips ... "

Leave it to the superb Patricia MacLachlan to help children and their parents understand how readers and writers are made. How do they learn to tell stories and write them down? What occasions the development of a writing talent such as the one we enjoy every time we pick up a MacLachlan picture book or novel?

Speaking directly to her readers and thinking back on her own life, Ms. MacLachlan draws on memories and imagination to help them see that they, too, could be on a path to doing some writing of their own. Her words are a constant invitation to think about times in their lives when they might be living the exceptional moments that should be written down.

Her insights come from many moments in her life, the people from past days, the place she calls home, and the dreams she remembers so vividly.

"If you were a girl whose great-grandmother loved
the smell and feel of prairie earth,
and ran through the grasses
sending the geese on the slough to
fly up
and back again
Then maybe you would grow up to be
someone who carries small bags of sweet prairie earth ... "

Chris Sheban uses watercolor, colored pencils and graphite, and a deft touch to create warm, reflective moments. Gently drawn, they are an invitation to look deeper, to be inspired, and to carefully focus on the world around us.

Charming, and insightful, kids will never tire of hearing it.

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