Never has a book been so aptly named. All the World, a Caldecott Honor Book by Liz Garton Scanlon creates an entire world within its pages. For a chapter book, that’s expected. For a board book with 20-some pages and maybe 200 words, that’s a feat.
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As much as I like words, the pictures are the big winner in All the World. The first time we read through this book, I got caught studying all the details in each illustration, until Fiona got tired of it and started turning the pages for me. (She’s always on a schedule like that.) Every page is so rich with people, nature, buildings, locations, vehicles, accessories. If you erased all the words, you could tell endless stories about this small town. There are so many people and they could all be disconnected but then they’re all at a big gathering at the end!
And the atmosphere! I’ve never seen anything express atmospheric conditions so beautifully! You can feel the crisp morning at the beach, the balmy afternoon, the downpour that drives everyone, dripping wet, into the glowing cafe. Then “…all the world can hold quite still” and I want to be THERE, in any one of those cozy coastal houses, as it shows all the characters doing their nighttime routines – conversations, nursing, snuggles…
Illustrations aside, the text isn’t half bad. Scanlon turns everyday objects and events into something quite poetic. I imagine if you closed your eyes and just listened to the words, you could still be completely swept up into the story. Each word perfectly captures the mood of the moment.
Thanks to the magical combination of illustration and poetry, I feel like I’ve lived this book, every single time I read it. I lay it down and sigh, as if I’ve just come in from watching the rain clouds drift off into the sunset. It is just so relaxing! Fiona has asked me to read it at nap time and bed time, every day since we got it from the library. And surprisingly, I’m fine with that.
I have to say this is one of my favorite books. The board book version is one of my top picks for a baby shower gift. (Always go board book for a baby shower. Paper books will be put on a high shelf until the baby is old enough to not tear the pages out of your beautiful, thoughtful gift. Mom may be tempted to hold her breath until Baby reaches that stage. It will be yeeeeears.)
Do these illustrations look familiar? You must have read The Boss Baby (another one of my top gift picks)! Illustrator Marla Frazee is the genius behind the Boss Baby books, a hilarious duo that are just as fun for the parents as for the kids. Oh yeah, and the new movie?! Can’t wait for that one.
Based on these three books of hers, I need to check out the rest of Marla Frazee’s work. So far, so impressed. Is there an author or illustrator that you can’t get enough of? Let me know so I can look them up! We’re also obsessed with Frolic books and everything by Paul Schmid.
Mom’s review: When the kids aren’t climbing on me, I pore over this book by myself. Searching each page for things I’ve missed in the illustrations. I want to live in each page. So um, yeah, I kinda like it? Plus it’s unintentionally educational. Fiona asks tons of questions about the characters’ relationships, activities, and everything they touch.
Toddler’s review: Mom says this book is like a visual encyclopedia for me. Whatever that is. I’ve learned raft, palm tree, cafe, harp, and night gown, and I want to know more about all of them! Read it again!
Baby’s review: I never get my lil chompers on this one because Mommy and Sissy are always holding it. Just like me, this book never gets put down unless the grownups have to go to the bathroom.
Mom to two little ones who are way cuter than they have any right to be. Locavore, bibliophile, ambivert. Lover of architecture, the desert, and raisins. Caffeine free. Probably hangry right now.
I wrote about desert landscaping and urban water conservation in my former life.