GITTY AND KVETCH Written by Caroline Kusin Pritchard Illustrated by Ariel Landy (Atheneum BYR; $17.99,…
More and more it seems that stories of fires, tornadoes, hurricanes and floods tug at our heart strings. How do we explain these disasters to our young children? Capstone came up with a most creative and unusual way. Flood ($15.95, Capstone: Picture Window Books, Ages 6-8) took a bold approach and created a book with no words, rather with incredibly detailed and impressive illustrations by Alvaro Fernandez Villa. These pictures tell the full story of a family of four that must flee their home before a major flood destroys it.
Capstone is making a substantial donation from the sale of Flood to the non-profit organization, Save the Children. The money raised will be used for the Domestic Emergency Relief Fund which provides food, health care and education to families with children following natural disasters.
As parents, we want to protect our children from pain and despair, yet this is not always possible. This book was created with that purpose in mind; it helps young children understand and deal with natural disasters, teaching them the inevitable lesson that some life events are unfortunately out of our control. The wordless narrative allows parents to open up discussions about what the family in the book is experiencing. Capstone provides an excellent Flood Reader’s Guide containing general information about floods and tips on “reading” a wordless book – before reading, while reading and after reading the book. It’s all in studying the details of the illustrations and asking children what they see and how the family must be feeling while fleeing their home. There are even suggestions about acting out the story or posing as a reporter.
Flood covers the gamut of so many emotions – hope, fear, despair, sadness and eventually gratitude. It gives children and parents a chance to express themselves without the fear of being judged. I admire Capstone for taking the risk to broach such a sensitive and unpleasant subject for young children – and oh, how well they do so. I also love the fact that this book will inspire children to think in ways they may never have before. They will look at the illustrations and use their own judgment to determine what is taking place. And I must add here that these are some of the best illustrations I’ve seen in a picture book.
When you finish “reading” Flood with your children, you are left with the powerful message of hope. And, as I mentioned earlier, when you buy the book, Capstone donates a portion to Save the Children, leaving others in need also with hope.
– Reviewed by Debbie Glade