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CASTLE OF BOOKS by Alessandro Sanna Kirkus Star


by Alessandro Sanna ; illustrated by Alessandro Sanna

Pub Date: March 31st, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-84976-668-5
Publisher: Tate/Abrams

Two children discover why we need books.

The question is posed on the first, otherwise-blank double-page spread: “Why do we need books?” On the next spread, two white children gaze up at a wall of books, rendered in swift watercolor strokes of reds, yellows, and blues. When a book falls off of the shelf and hits one in the head—“Thunk!”—the children get to take a look at the mysterious red object. “Blah Blah Blah,” it reads. Then, in a celebration of books (and of infinitives), the children find out just why we need books: “to play”; “to understand one another”; “to invent.” The children, accompanied by a black cat and a brown dog, read, build book towers, travel, and fly. A scribbly whale even leaps from an open book on verso across the gutter to amaze the children; the next double-page spread depicts a brown-skinned Pinocchio (a nod to Sanna’s Pinocchio: The Origin Story, 2016). The riotous actions of the books—tumbling off shelves, flying through the air, teetering in rickety towers— are nicely balanced by the soft palette of sunshine and golden yellows, watery blues, bold reds, and greens, with black waves that look like cursive writing. The children’s adventures with the books lead to the conclusion, which mirrors the opening in design: “Now I understand.”

A visual feast.

(Picture book. 3-7)