IN THIS MOMENT
“…a good essay…must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in, not out.” Virginia Woolf
Ultimately, concept picture books are essays. They invite children to explore new perspectives, new realities, and experience their world in a different way. Concept books may be deal with ideas as seemingly simple as counting, colors or opposites. Such books help the child find order in the world. Yet, other concept books can go far beyond order, and celebrate the complexity and wonder of the world. These books have a great deal to offer the child in her journey from egocentric toddler to an understanding of being part of a much wider world
Three outstanding, yet very different picture books, invite the child to explore the realities of time, self and simultaneity.
AT THE SAME TIME by Tom Tirabosco shares a brief text based in the truth of “and at the same time” a multitude of things are occurring near by and around the world. Gentle evidence that one’s private world is not the only world.
Silvio Freytes’ IN JUST A SECOND also takes an expanding look a moment, but does so with a more intimate and interactive view. A specific geographical moment is a weave of all the experiences of those reacting to one another. Some directly. Others with a silent glance. But everyone is affected by what he notices as are the people that notice the man reacting to something else they hadn’t noticed.
If you subscribe to the “butterfly effect” every action or moment eventually effects all other actions and moments.
Karla Kuskin’s wonderful THE PHILHARMOIC GETS DRESSED not only explores simultaneity, but also the eventual confluence of those separate realities within a moment. In this case it is the reality of one hundred and five people getting dressed for work. One hundred and five lives coming together in the same moment and “turning the black notes on white pages into a symphony.”
The seemingly mundane subject that brings you sighs of wonder just might be your next picture book. And, in turn, make your readers’ world more interesting.
Picture Books Discussed
AT THE SAME TIME by Tom Tirabosco. Kane/Miller, 2001 (1997).
IN JUST ONE SECOND by Silvio Freytes. Illus. by Flavio Morais. WilkinsFarago, 2009 (2007).
THE PHILHARMONIC GETS DRESSED by Karla Kuskin. Illus. by Marc Simont. HarperCollins, 1982.