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Monday, March 14, 2016

Tell Me A Tattoo Story, written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2016. $22.99 ages 4 and up

"This one?

This one reminds me of
the day I met a pretty girl.

What made her so pretty?

That's a good question, little
man. I'd have to say it was
her smile."

Many people today have very definite opinions as to what others choose to do with ink on their bodies. Just ask! Or don't - many speak freely and openly about their take on tattoos! So, when a young boy, fascinated by his father's many tattoos, wants to hear their stories again, his father complies.

Each one of them has a personal history and Dad has shared them often: a dragon for a favorite book, a memory of his father, a reminder of a pretty girl they both know well, a long trip while in the military, and finally, a tiny heart. They each choose that one as their favorite - and they have good reason for it to be so. You will have to read this fine story to understand why.

Eliza Wheeler does a lovely job of moving readers from present to past, using India ink with dip pens and watercolor to create her touching family memories. They focus, as does the story, on family and the events that make each tattoo special. Past memories are infused with added color for a feeling of warmth and understanding.  The endpapers are terrific, too!

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