Friday, April 27, 2012

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: The Hello, Goodbye Window
Author/Illustrator: Norton Juster/Chris Raschka
Publisher/Date: Michael Di Capua Books - Hyperion Books for Children/ 2005
Genre/Audience: Fiction/Ages 3+

Themes: grandparents, imagination, special places

Opening: "Nanna and Poppy live in a big house in the middle of town.  There's a brick path that goes to the back porch, but before you get there you pass right by the kitchen window.  That's the Hello, Goodbye Window.  It looks like a regular window, but it's not."

Synopsis: From School Library Journal

Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 1–The window in Nanna and Poppy's kitchen is no ordinary window–it is the place where love and magic happens. It's where the girl and her doting grandparents watch stars, play games, and, most importantly, say hello and goodbye. The first-person text is both simple and sophisticated, conjuring a perfectly child-centered world. Sentences such as "When I get tired I come in and take my nap and nothing happens until I get up" typify the girl's happy, imaginative world. While the language is bouncy and fun, it is the visual interpretation of this sweet story that sings. Using a bright rainbow palette of saturated color, Raschka's impressionistic, mixed-media illustrations portray a loving, mixed-race family. The artwork is at once lively and energetic, without crowding the story or the words on the page; the simple lines and squiggles of color suggest a child's own drawings, but this is the art of a masterful hand. Perfect for lap-sharing, this book will find favor with children and adults alike.–Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR  

Why I Love This Book I know I just used this book in my grandparents-theme list, but I had to share it today, too.  It is beautiful in so many ways.  From the lyrical prose to the vibrant illustrations, this book celebrates the grandparent-grandchild relationship.  The metaphor of the window is brilliant, letting the girl look out at the world and in at her grandparents with wonder and appreciation.  Never needing a name, the girl is each one of us, allowing us to reminisce (or wish for) that special bond that grandparents can share with their grandchildren.

ELA Lesson Plan:

This book offers so many jumping off places for activities, from creative writing to art.  Have students think of their own special window, draw it, and write about what they can see in or through  it. 

Or have them imagine a magic window.  Who would they want to see through it? 

Or have your child write a note to a grandparent, telling them why they are so special.  Could it be your grandfather plays the harmonica, too, and his specialty is breakfast?  Or your grandmother has a fabulous garden?  They would love to get some mail, so tell them what you love about them!

For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.


  1. I'm hooked. I loved this line--"That's the Hello, Goodbye Window. It looks like a regular window, but it's not."
    Thanks for the review.

  2. Such a unique book. Who would have thout a window would be used so creatively in a story -- brilliant. Will have to read it. Great post.

  3. What a beautiful book. Our families live far away so hellos and goodbyes are a big deal. We'll have to pick up this title.

  4. This book sounds absolutely wonderful -- it grabbed me right away with that first line. Your review made it come to life. Thank you!

  5. I loved the opening. Plus, it's a good age for our toddler and a great topic. We love our grandparents, but are far away from them.

  6. Hi Laura, I have seen so many reviews of this book, and they are all glowing and beautiful reviews about this lovely picture book that has won a great deal of recognition for its artistry and its message. Too bad I haven't found this one yet. I really should start looking for this in our library. Thank you so much Laura for sharing this book for PPBF.

  7. It's nice to have a PPB about grandparents! Great pick!

  8. Laura...I had a grandmother who had a window just like that! Thank you so much for sharing this story and for the wonderful review and resources. I will definitely have to see if the library has this book. :)