Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE READER by Amy Hest


by Amy Hest & illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7614-6184-5
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Reading anytime, anywhere is touted in this story about a boy, his dog and a snowy day.

Never named in the text, the titular reader packs up a suitcase for a day of sledding and reading with his dog. Reaching the hilltop, they frolic about, making snow “angels … snowballs … more angels … and a snow dog for the dog.” Then, it’s time for “warm drinks and crunchy toast for two.” Well-fed and satisfied with their play, instead of heading home to read indoors, the reader takes out a book called Two Good Friends and reads aloud to his dog, delightedly saying, “Just like us!” at book’s end. After repacking the suitcase, they then sled downhill and return home. Although the premise might seem a bit odd—the snowy scene could spell book damage, after all—one might regard it as the wintertime equivalent of a beach read. The evocation of imaginative play on a snowy day is reminiscent of Uri Shulevitz’s Snow (1998) and, of course, The Snowy Day. Castillo’s soft, inked lines and luscious watercolors echo the text’s gentle tone. Subtle incorporation of white painted letters falling like snow around the pair during the read-aloud scene adds a lovely touch to a spread begging to be made into a poster touting the joys of reading.

A charming (if rather implausible) celebration of a snowy, book-y, day. (Picture book. 3-6)