I just read an absolutely lovely, artistic children’s picture book called Where Are You? that’s coming out from Alfred A. Knopf in June. The illustrations by debut children’s picture book author-illustrator Sarah Williamson (follow her on Instagram at @sarahewilliamson) are absolutely amazing. There are so many reasons why I love this tale of a little green snake who goes in search of his little pink snake friend. This is definitely a book that challenges our ideas of traditional print text as the only way to convey meaning.
As a painter and budding photographer, I love the artistic touches in this book. The color palette is what stood out to me initially. The bold colors portray cityscapes, lily pads, and light posts. Sometimes I forgot that there were words on the pages! Whereas younger children will be enamored with the style, older readers – even middle and high school students – can explore how Williamson creates her illustrations with gouache and paper first and then composes Photoshop. Where Are You? could certainly be a mentor text for art students of all ages!
As a professor of children’s literature, I like the way younger readers can be involved in this book. Young readers will enjoy the book’s call-and-response elements. Young readers will eventually memorize this book and read it to their parents, teachers, or siblings. Young readers will also like the fact that they have to search the pages for the pink snake. These readers can be involved in making meaning from this book before they can read the print text. I LOVE it!
This is the perfect children’s picture book to put on your bookshelves. I know it will DEFINITELY be on mine!