Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Hello, Goodbye Window


The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster, illustrated by Chris Raschka.

2006 Caldecott Medal

The Plot: The nameless narrator visits her grandparents. The "hello, goodbye" window is the kitchen window. When coming to visit, it's the Hello Window; when leaving, the Goodbye Window.

The Good: I only just realized that the narrator was nameless. That's pretty cool. (Unless, because I already handed this over to my niece and nephew, my notes are wrong and she has a name, and I'm just a stupidhead.)

The narrator calls her grandparents Nanna & Poppy; that's what Queen Lucy & Skaterboy call my parents.

I love the illustrations; they are colorful, alive, vibrant, and detailed, but there is also a roughness to them. The family is multiracial, but the text is silent on that. Just like a child would be. I love that a kid can look at this book and see themselves and their family, and it's done in a natural way, no "message" moment.

The child's perspective is note perfect: "When I get tired I come in and take my nap and nothing happens until I get up." The world ceases to exist as the child sleeps.

Another part I liked: "I'm glad because I know we're going home, but it makes me sad too because I have to leave Nanna and Poppy. You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know. it just happens that way sometimes." I love that "you know," so typical of a child's thoughts; letting you in on some bit of wisdom they have discovered.

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