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A Most Unusual Chandelier in a Most Original Picture Book

Debbie Glade shares her thoughts on this enchanting picture book.

The Goldfish in the Chandelier ($17.95, Getty Publications) by Casie Kesterson is quite an uncommon book. This is a story about a boy named Louis, who visits his Uncle Henri, who lives in a big beautiful house outside of Paris. Upon his arrival, Louis discovers that Uncle Henri is distraught over his job. You see, Henri has been a chandelier designer for over 30 years, yet he is stumped over how to design a new chandelier for his customer, Madame Marie. Louis and Uncle Henri try everything to find inspiration, from laying on the floor and looking up to the ceiling imaging what the light would look like to telling old stories and making many sketches. In the end, Louis ends up being a big help to Uncle Henri, and what they create is quite spectacular.

In addition to the original story line and setting, what’s unique about this book is that the fictional story is based upon a real chandelier in the collection of J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Some of the inspiration for the chandelier is based upon actual events in history. The text is quite sophisticated and lengthy for a picture book, and the story really captures the imagination of the reader. Also the watercolor illustrations with pen and ink accents, by talented artist Gary Hovland, are delightful and inspiring. Another uncommon, yet wonderful aspect of this picture book is the actual long and narrow shape of it – something you don’t often see in picture books.

If your child has a great imagination he or she will enjoy reading this story and so will you. And how nice would it be to travel to the J. Paul Getty Museum to see the chandelier that inspired this story? And while you’re at it, check out the rest of that museum and the oh, so spectacular outdoor gardens and views.

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