“Sadie’s perfect day is spent with friends. Some of them live on her street, and some live in the pages of books.”
How I love this passage showcasing a little girl’s vivid imagination. It sums up the book This is Sadie by Sara O’Leary (author) and Julie Morstad (illustrator) perfectly. When these two ladies team up, they create gorgeous books for young and old alike. I was as charmed by this book as I was by the trio of “Henry Books” they dreamed up in the past.
We meet Sadie in her messy bedroom—a sweet girl among a scattering of toys and clothes. She’s drawn simply, surrounded by a white space full of possibilities. The story flows from Sadie’s bedroom to the make-believe worlds of the books she inhabits: a deep ocean where she becomes a mermaid or a grassy jungle where she becomes a wild boy. The gorgeous illustrations of the fantasy worlds are painted in lush, muted greens and blues that give the books a vintage feel. The story then ebbs back to the simplicity of her bedroom. Portraying a child’s reality with small, simple illustrations in a negative space, and then contrasting it with busy, full-page illustrations representing her imagination, is not a new technique. We’ve seen it done often since Maurice Sendak wrote Where the Wild Things Are in the sixties. Perhaps too, the writing doesn’t have a clear focus. Still, it’s a beautiful book about the importance of creative play. Children and grown-ups will surely enjoy reading it together during story time.
To learn more about the “Henry Books,” check out Sara’s blog.
Check out Artist Julie Morstad on finding inspiration for her illustrations in Quill & Quire.
If you’re a parent or a teacher and plan to share this book with kids, you must get your hands on this free, online activity kit.
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*