Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Typewriter by Bill Thomson

It's been almost three years since we saw a book from Bill Thomson and six years since we first met a trio of diverse, curious, imaginative kids in Chalk. I'm thrilled to show off his brand-new book, Typewriter, which is a splendid celebration of the power of words.

Two boys and a girl arrive at a closed carousel, the only spot of color in the dull wilderness a monarch butterfly (perhaps left from the Chalk adventure?). They are delighted to see something special on top of the bee - a mysterious box. When they open it they discover...a typewriter. A few minutes of tweaking later and they type their first word... and the magic begins. With a simple word the snow-covered landscape is transformed into a beach and the exuberant creators start adding to their newfound playground. Things get a little (ok, a lot) out of hand and they'll need some quick thinking and fast typing to save the day. Adventure over, they pack up the typewriter and cycle off together, perhaps thinking of new stories to tell.

Thomson's stunning art, which is created by hand and not digitized, is the perfect medium to capture the exuberance and joy of the trio of children as they discover the power and magic of words. I love that there is diversity not only in the children pictured but in their actions - this time it's the girl who initiates the mischief and comes up with a clever plan to set it right. There are many subtle details in the art - the butterfly from a previous book, the play on words of the "spelling bee", not to mention the delicious scariness of the giant crab!

The clear sequence of events in Thomson's wordless titles make them great storytime choices, especially if you're just starting to use wordless titles in your storytimes. Be prepared for gasps of excitement, delight and surprise as you turn the pages and have the kids tell the story and discuss what is happening in each picture. Older listeners will be inspired to create their own stories with a few simple words and pictures while teachers will find many uses for this new book in school (once you've explained what a typewriter is of course!)

Verdict: Another triumph of wordless art - celebrating the power of words! A must have for your library and a good opportunity to check the condition of your other Bill Thomson titles and see if a revamp is needed before featuring them in a program.

ISBN: 9781477849750; Published 2016 by Two Lions; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

1 comment:

Bill Thomson said...

THANKS for your kind words, Jennifer! I was glad to see that you picked up on who caused and solved the problem and some of the other subtle details! Did you also notice who was initially following and then leading the group of young cyclists?