I know that I promised a special Library Monday post on a very, very favorite book for today, but Mariam and I are still deeply involved with our read-aloud of the book that I had wanted to share, and we need another week or so to finish it. Because it is long. Really long. Many hundreds of pages. And it is probably much better suited for older children because I am having to do a whole lot of on the fly editing as I read. But it is oh-so-good just the same and the two of us are absolutely loving the shared reading of it. We'll talk about it next week, okay?
In the meantime, this week's Library Monday post is about another book that is generally regarded with much, much enthusiasm around our house: Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. I know that I have mentioned previously how much Mariam and I enjoy Kevin Henkes' books. His characters are incredibly quirky and sweet and his stories tend to approach some of the trickier bits about being a small person in a big world in just the perfect way.
This is certainly true of this book in particular. Lilly is a mouse of great spirit and spunk. She has incredible enthusiasm for everything that she undertakes and when she is excited about something new or wonderful, she struggles to contain that excitement in exactly the way pretty much every kid I've ever met also struggles. When she returns to school after the weekend, sporting a shiny, purple, plastic purse that she thinks is simply magnificent, this excitement exceeds its school day boundaries and Lilly finds herself in trouble with the one person whom she admires the most: her teacher, Mr. Slinger.
One of the things that is so great about this book, is the way that it gently approaches the idea of anger and the way that being angry can impact our actions. It's obviously a useful lesson for the small set, but this book manages to discuss anger, remorse and making things right without coming off as being preachy or overwrought in any way. In fact, it's pretty funny. Lilly does indeed behave impulsively in her anger towards Mr. Slinger, and makes a mess for herself, but she also owns up to her mistakes, and then manages to be brave enough to admit to being wrong and to set about making amends. If you ask me, this is a life lesson that many of us could still benefit from even as adults!
Aside from the story, readers will appreciate the colorful, humorous illustrations in this book. Lilly, her classmates and her family are all drawn with wonderful details, most especially some of their facial expressions as the story moves on. The illustrations really bring this tale to life, and paired with the great narrative, this is one picture book that holds up well for repeated reading. Very well indeed.