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BEFORE YOU by Rebecca Doughty


by Rebecca Doughty ; illustrated by Rebecca Doughty

Pub Date: Dec. 27th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-544-46317-2
Publisher: HMH Books

Doughty explores the difference one person can make.

The first half of the book looks at the world “before you” came along. “I was a flower with no pot. // I was a polka with no dot.” The latter assertion is cleverly illustrated by a scene of animals, all in polka-dot clothing, dancing the polka in the background while a forlorn pig stands alone looking on, back to readers. But then “you” arrive, and everything is different. “You put the cozy in the nook. / You put the story in the book.” The pictures’ backgrounds modulate from white to colorful scenes, and now there are two to share things in each illustration, though there is no consistent “you” or “me”—the anthropomorphic animals (and objects!) change throughout. The line-and-color cartoon artwork highlights the sadness of being alone in the first half and the joy of sharing things with a friend in the second, body language and facial expressions doing the heavy lifting. In addition to the book’s obvious love-you-lots theme, its bounty of metaphors and clever depictions of them make it a boon for classroom use.

A celebration of friendship that uses metaphors to excellent effect.

(Picture book. 4-7)