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Saturday, February 2, 2019

What a COLD Needs, written by Barbara Bottner and illustrated by Chris Sheban. Neal Porter Books, Holiday House. Penguin Random House. 2019. $23.99 ages 4 and up

"A cold needs socks,

Mom's soft hands,
Grandma's famous chicken soup,

a kiss from Grandpa's
gentle lips,

and plenty of Dad's
goofy jokes."

Wow! What a perfect book to be sharing these days! Seems that everyone I talk with has a cold - on the phone, on FaceTime, in person. It is that time of year.

I Love to Read month is just beginning, and I will be toting this book from school to school as I visit. Can't wait to share it with kids - and adults, as well. I love everything about it.

This young child is as unhappy as any of us are when confined to bed with a cold that needs a lot of care.The red nose, sad demeanor and lethargy are right there for all to see when we turn to the first page. A warm bed, birdsong and raindrops lift spirits, as do the many other efforts meant to help one so sick feel more comfortable. Young readers will recognize themselves in many of the small scenes.

"A cold needs someone to say,
"Poor you."
And someone else who says,
"You'll feel better soon."

Have you been there? I think is a universal affliction. While every attempt to make it better can be helpful, nothing works as well as the cold playing itself out and moving on ... unless it's to someone in close proximity. Poor Dad!

The warm and reassuring text is matched perfectly with Chris Sheban's illustrations done in watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite. Each image reflects empathy in soft tones and comforting settings. I have a few favorites - the child blowing a red and runny nose while used tissues can be seen everywhere, the dog's ears blown back with the power of the next sneeze, and the warmth of an afternoon nap, with soft music playing in the background, mouth wide open in an attempt to breathe, and the company of a loving pet.

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