Kwame Alexander’s poetic text in How To Read A Book perfectly captures the rush of feelings buoyed by a love of reading and stories! From settling in with a new reading choice, or an old favorite:
FIRST, FIND A TREE – A BLACK TUPELO OR DAWN REDWOOD WILL DO – AND PLANT YOURSELF.
Alexander evokes the anticipatory thrill of beginning a story:
ONCE YOU’RE COMFY, PEEL ITS GENTLE SKIN, LIKE YOU WOULD A CLEMENTINE
The deep, all-consuming focus as the story draws you in and holds you in its grasp:
NEXT, DIG YOUR THUMB AT THE BOTTON OF EACH JUICY SECTION AND POP THE WORDS OUT…
…SQUEEZE EVERY MORSEL OF EACH PLUMP LINE UNTIL THE LAST DROP OF MAGIC DRIPS FROM THE INFINITE SKY——
Melissa Sweet’s illustrations complement the text with their abundance of vibrant pinks and oranges, bolstered by warm browns and just a touch of muted green and blue pastels. The images are mostly laid out in a collage-like configuration, further enhancing the aura of child-like wonder that permeates the atmosphere of the book as a whole.
Due to the structure and font (all block capitals–sometimes with empty spaces colored in) of the text it might be difficult to navigate for an early reader and will probably work better as a read-aloud for them. The text and illustrations together evoke the intense experience of reading at its best and most exciting. Although primarily intended for young readers, How To Read a Book is really a picture book for all ages–especially bookish ones!