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Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Book of Gold, written and illustrated by Bob Staake.Schwartz & Wade, Random House. 2017. $23.99 ages 5 and up

"It was a strange store filled floor to ceiling with curious things. There was an elephant head hanging on a wall, and a suit of armor. There was even a dinosaur bone displayed beneath a fancy glass dome. While his mother and father looked at the dusty knickknacks, Isaac sat down on the cold tile floor and waited."

I meant to do this post when I was sharing 'books about books' earlier this week. My mind wandered, I guess!

Isaac Gutenberg was extremely lucky. He had parents who loved to read, and who spent their days trying to encourage their young son to take a leap of faith and find a passion for books, too.

Isaac was not in the least interested. When they made a trip to the New York Public Library, he was unimpressed and reluctant to go inside. While they read, he moped. Their trip home led them to a store that promised a gift idea for Isaac's Aunt Sadie. They looked, Isaac moped. The shopkeeper shared a story that finally piqued the young boy's interest.

"There is a legend," she explained, "that somewhere in the world there is one very special book that's just waiting to be discovered. It will look like any other book, but it holds all the answers to every question ever asked, and when it is opened, it turns to solid gold."

To be fair, Isaac's interest lay in the fact that the book was gold, and might be worth a lot of money!
But, it was the beginning of a quest for a young boy. He spent a great deal of time looking at, but not reading, any book he could get into his hands. Until one day ...

The perfect book at the perfect time is what parents, teachers, and librarians want for our kids. It will take time, and patience, and we might grow tired. Isaac did not, and in time, he found one book, then another, then another - until he was spending his days and nights learning everything he could learn.

Isn't that the real beauty to be found in a book? Let's keep passing the shopkeeper's story forward.

Bob Staake's digital artwork takes us from the past to the present, from New York to India, and on a journey that results in a love of books we hope each child discovers. He moves his readers from the sepia tones of Isaac's reticence to the bold colors of discovery and love for books of all kinds.

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