Happy Saturday, part 2!
We're reviewing Debbie Ohi's delightful Where Are My Books? today. If you follow her on Twitter or Instagram, you know that she's an exceptionally creative artist, with an eye for making ordinary objects into art.
She brings that delightful energy to her debut book, where one curious young boy tries to figure out where his beloved bed time stories are disappearing off to...
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
Ohi's illustrations are both inventive and colorful, while also telling a genuinely thoughtful story on the importance of sharing, and connecting with others over a love of certain activities.
Spencer loves to read. He reads a book every night. But one morning his favorite book goes missing, and in its place is a tulip. Spencer searches high and low, but he can't find his book.
The next morning another book is missing, a nut in its place. And the morning after that, another book is missing.
What is happening to Spencer's books? When he finds out, Spencer devises a surprising solution that will delight readers (and librarians) everywhere.
We finally met at ALA back in June, and she was as delightful as I thought. So when Simon & Schuster kindly sent me her book Where Are My Books?, I couldn't wait to dig in.
Ohi introduces us to Spencer, a young boy who loves his bedtime stories. However, one morning, he realizes that his favorite stories are disappearing, and it's up to Spencer to figure out what's going on...
What's delightful about Where Are My Books? is Ohi's ability to pack a story about reading, sharing and empathy, into a few short pages. Ohi begins by emphasizing the importance of bedtime and routine - something many parents will likely appreciate - and amps up the action when Spencer discovers his books missing.
But rather than show the negative effects of those missing books, Ohi gently emphasizes Spencer's willingness and creativity as he tries to figure out what's going on. It's proactive and funny, with many older brothers likely appreciating a certain tea party, and also gently emphasizes the importance of problem-solving skills.
And when Spencer does get to the bottom of the mystery, Ohi wonderfully reminds readers of the importance of sharing. Spencer could have easily chosen to demand all of his books back, but instead, understands that there are others who appreciate his books, and generously works out a way for his stories to be enjoyed by all.
Ohi's lovely life lessons are emphasized by colorful drawings with bold details. The color palette for Spencer's adventures is a vibrant one, and lovingly accentuated by the small things - e.g. a narwhal plushie, which will likely make readers, both young and old, smile.
Bottom line: Where Are My Books? is not only a perfect book about bedtime traditions, but also helps emphasize a lot of fantastic life lessons as well. This is one book that is guaranteed to remain a much-loved staple on bookshelves for years to come.
(Seriously, I'm never, ever parting with my copy!)
(Also, how can you not want to find out what happens, after that cliffhanger?)
About the author:
Debbie Ridpath Ohi writes and illustrates books for young people. Where Are My Books?, the first book that Debbie has written as well as illustrated, launches in 2015 from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.
Her illustrations also appear in picture books Sea-Monkey and Bob (written by Aaron Reynolds, 2015), I’m Bored (New York Times Notable Book, written by Michael Ian Black) and Naked! (also written by Michael Ian Black, 2015), as well as ten Judy Blume chapter books and middle grade titles reissued by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster. For more info, visit DebbieOhi.com or @inkyelbows on Twitter.