STARRED REVIEW
November 17, 2015

Three little letters, one big day

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Gracia Lam
Review by

“All begins cheerily” for some busy children whose daily experiences continually loop back to those three letters at the beginning of the alphabet. Awake Beautiful Child’s longest sentences are a mere three words, yet the book offers plenty to consider and enjoy.

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“All begins cheerily” for some busy children whose daily experiences continually loop back to those three letters at the beginning of the alphabet. Awake Beautiful Child’s longest sentences are a mere three words, yet the book offers plenty to consider and enjoy.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s ABC sentences span a breakfast of apples, bananas and cantaloupe, but also include a photo taken at a birthday party (“Avoid blinking—Cheese!”) and the entreaty to “always be curious.” Gracia Lam’s illustrations juxtapose swaths of pastel with bolder details, many of which are extra ABC words for kids to seek and find. Some also recur, as when a cactus from the beginning of the story becomes a casualty of rowdy play later on. The cycle of a day—waking up in the morning, a refreshing afternoon nap, a busy afternoon full of activities and then the slow winding down toward bedtime—is captured sweetly here.

As if the extra ABCs illustrated throughout the book weren’t enough of a bonus, there’s also the amazing book cover: The jacket unfolds into a double-sided poster with still more visual treats to unpack. I’d be absolutely beyond cheered if this duo decided to tackle the entire alphabet in small batches. Awake Beautiful Child sure makes for a lovely beginning, and it’s one kids and parents both will love returning to.

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Awake Beautiful Child

Awake Beautiful Child

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Gracia Lam
McSweeney's
ISBN 9781938073922

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