Thursday 12 July 2012

194. The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer illustrated by Chris Shebab

The Lonely Book by Kate Bernheimer illustrated by Chris Shebab
Published May 2012 Random House

From the publisher:
When a wonderful new book arrives at the library, at first it is loved by all, checked out constantly, and rarely spends a night on the library shelf. But over time it grows old and worn, and the children lose interest in its story. The book is sent to the library's basement where the other faded books live. How it eventually finds an honored place on a little girl's bookshelf-and in her heart-makes for an unforgettable story sure to enchant anyone who has ever cherished a book.

A beautiful picture book about books and libraries last week, who would have thought there could be another one?  Well surprise surprise…there is!

This is the story of a book.  A green book with a yellow ribbon to mark its pages.  The cover has a picture of a girl in the forest under a toadstool.  It was a brand new book at the library and it had pride of place on the new book stand, although it was rarely there, as it was constantly in demand.  Even when it made it’s way to the children’s section, it was still borrowed, so it was still happy. Over time the book became faded, pages were torn, the last page was missing and the book was hardly ever borrowed, the book was completely forgotten. 

That is until a little girl found the ignored book, and thought it was the most beautiful book in the world.  The story of the book continues as Alice keeps borrowing the book, and borrowing the book, sleeping with it under her pillow, and even taking it to school for show and tell, until the day she forgets to renew it, and it’s left at the library. The book ends up in the basement with all of the other books waiting for the library book sale, and it’s the loneliest it has even been. Alice reads lots of other books, but she never forgets the beautiful green book with the yellow ribbon.  Will the lonely book and the little girl meet again?  You will have to read the book to find out.

Kate Bernheimer was not a name I recognised, and after a quick Google search, I realise that there was no reason I would know her, as this is her first book for children.  She has however written a large number of books for adults.  The illustrator Chris Sheban was also a new name to me, after another Google search, I found that he has indeed illustrated a number of picture books and jacket covers, but I can forgive myself for not knowing him because his books have not had a wide Australian release.

The illustrations are gorgeous, and are perfectly suited to the gentle story.  With the advent of ebooks and eReaders, this story shows the love of an ‘old fashioned’ book.  Those of us who love books, will always have books, and will always have those falling apart, much loved, simply can’t get rid of favourites on our shelves.

Who will like this book:
Read it if you like: 

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