Hip hip hooray!
*cartwheels* *backflips* *high jumps*
ME WITH YOU by Kristy Dempsey, pictures by Christopher Denise,
(Philomel Books, 2009). Picture Book for ages 4-8, 32 pp.
Each new book is a miracle, but a first book is a very special cause for celebration. No matter how many books an author publishes, there is, and always will be, only one first book.
And this one just happens to feature two thoroughly lovable, endearing bears (eeeee!). You may know we’re just a wee bit partial wildly crazy for characters of the ursine persuasion. Actually, this book caused such a stir in the alphabet soup kitchen that it was hard to get our regular work done — what with all the fur brushing, dancing with joy, reading aloud over and over again, and happy growls of approval.
Winkler is inspired to play the piano just like the grandfather in the book.
Pudding, Hilda, and Laura have their own tea party after reading the book.
Me with You celebrates “a pair beyond compare”: a winsome, playful cub and her kind and loving grandfather. Kristy, who is a poet as well as an author, describes all the ways these two are more completely themselves because of their singular relationship.
Through lyrical, lilting stanzas of simple, rhyming verse, the affable cub mentions, among other forays, a charming tea party, a glorious day on a tire swing, and fun in the garden:
When you are in the garden,
I’m prepared to top the spout.
Together we know how to grow
a rainbow from a sprout.
Even when things don’t go so well, the cub knows her grandfather will be there for her:
I’m me when I am sick in bed,
all feverish with flu,
so you stay close to care for me
and watch the whole night through.
Whenever I am not so nice,
and selfish with my stuff,
you’re the one who loves me
and forgives me if I’m gruff.
The sentiment is sweet and heartwarming without being sappy, and young readers will find comfort and reassurance in the unconditional love and patience of the grandfather. It is good to know that, “When the path is rocky, you are there to hold my hand.”
Christopher Denise’s charming, engaging illustrations beautifully capture the adventures and misadventures of this inseparable pair. The resident bears cannot stop praising Denise’s decision to depict the characters as bears, and then to portray them with such unending verve and personality.
I love the hugeness of the grandfather and his palpable gentleness, the playful eagerness of the girl cub, the bucolic setting, and the added details that make the spreads even more cuddle-worthy: polka dot napkins at the tea party, that tiny piece of pie on a teeny plate resting in the grandfather’s huge paw, or the dollhouse in the cub’s room with Goldilocks and the Three Bears on the floor.
The palette favors warm, muted earth tones, with the characters set against soft focus landscapes. This creates a certain dreaminess and timelessness, with the characters taking center stage, and the rest of the world fading back. A perfect book for toddlers and preschoolers, Me with You is destined to become a laptime favorite.
Especially in honor of Kristy’s first book, the resident teddies have created a special soup that bears repeated slurping. Please help yourself to as much as you like, then amble over to your fave indie to pick up your copy of Me with You. Consider it a bear essential!
Today’s Special: Cub Chowder (twice as good when shared with a friend).
For an extra treat, have some cherry pie, just like the cub and her grandpa had at their tea party:
photo by anthony parisi
For more about Kristy and her books, visit her official website and Live Journal blog, Reverie — Abstract Musings on a Hopeful Life. Kristy is running a contest on her blog through June 15th. Click here for details about how you can enter to win a copy of Me with You!
To see the adorable book trailer, click here.
To view all the Soup of the Day posts on this blog, click here.
Thank you for creating this book, Kristy and Christopher!
Happiness is sharing this book with someone you love.
*All spreads posted by permission of illustrator, copyright © 2009 Christopher Denise, published by Philomel Books. All rights reserved.