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Saturday, September 15, 2018

In-Between Things, written and illustrated by Priscilla Tey. Candlewick Press, Penguin Random House. 2018. $22.99 ages 3 and up

"If you travel outside
and then back in once more,
an in-between thing
you will need is a door.
Doors take you through walls
separating kitchens from halls,
and you from
that pie filled with
scrumptious meatballs.
In-between things can
transport you somewhere,
take you to places ... "

Priscilla Tey explains the meaning of in-between right at the beginning: “An in-between thing is a thing in the middle.” Then, in engaging and detailed artwork, she has a furry feline and a seemingly disgruntled canine lead readers from page to page as she explains just what in-between looks like.

"The dog is between 
the floor and the cat
(and does not enjoy being
in the middle like that!)"

The fact that said cat is on his back might be the problem. Shrewd in its presentation of a concept that can be difficult to explain, Ms. Tey shows her target audience the many ways the word can be used. There is humor in the presentation which uses bright colors, familiar scenes and many little 'stories' to bring clear understanding. All occur right where the two live. I am impressed with the mood created by the new ideas that pop up constantly. Kids are encouraged to look closely at every inch of the double page spreads, ensuring talk about all that is going on there.

"If you build a fort and fill it with light,
it will separate you from the monsters at night."

How cool an idea is that for little ones? A flashlight fills the blanket fort with warmth, while sad monster-like creatures pout in the surrounding darkness. They learn about the combinations created when you put a skirt and a pair of shorts together, or a spoon and a fork. Between the two, they make something brand new! So much fun, and definitely encouragement to let the imagination soar when considering other prepositions ... on, in, off, over, under. What are the possibilities? 

The rhyming text works, the fun is much appreciated, and the learning goes on and on! Young kids will need a discerning eye and a patient reader to find all the many ways that 'between' can be used to help describe their world. 

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