The Big Umbrella (1pt)

The Big Umbrella (1pt)


The Big Umbrella (1pt)
Author(s): Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates
ISBN: 1534406581
Publisher: Simon Schuster

In the tradition of Alison McGhee’s Someday, beloved illustrator Amy June Bates makes her authorial debut alongside her eleven-year-old daughter with this timely and timeless picture book about acceptance.By the door there is an umbrella. It is big. It is so big that when it starts to rain there is room for everyone underneath. It doesn’t matter if you are tall. Or plaid. Or hairy. It doesn’t matter how many legs you have.Don’t worry that there won’t be enough room under the umbrella. Because there will always be room.Lush illustrations and simple, lyrical text subtly address themes of inclusion and tolerance in this sweet story that accomplished illustrator Amy June Bates cowrote with her daughter, Juniper, while walking to school together in the rain.

Review(s):
  • Illustrator Bates applies her signature watercolor, gouache, and pencil style to a quiet story about a smiling umbrella, a tale sparked by a conversation with her seventh-grade daughter, co-author Juniper Bates.The eponymous rain protection is a big, red, friendly, helpful umbrella that sits near the front door and "likes to spread its arms wide" when it rains. As the pages turn, the umbrella grows in size, its smile ever widening, "to give shelter." It gathers all in—tall, hairy, plaid. "It doesn't matter how many legs you have," the omniscient narrator assures, as a basset hound droops forlornly outside its shelter before being welcomed in. While the book does not bill itself as political, it is hard to read it without thinking of current events—and of the umbrella as a metaphor for the United States. "Some people worry that there won't be enough room under the big umbrella," the narrator warns. "But the amazing thing is…there is." The final spread of this gentle picture book is an illustration of diverse people in a park: a black jogger; a white man in a wheelchair with a small dog on a leash; a brown woman wearing a hijab with a butterfly in her palms; two men and three children (in child seats), all of different skin colors, riding a tandem bike. A subtle, deceptively simple book about inclusion, hospitality, and welcoming the "other."(Picture book. 3-6)
  • Wearing a yellow slicker and boots on a rainy day, a child carries an open red umbrella down a city street. On each page, a sentence lightly personifies the umbrella: “It likes to spread its arms wide. / It loves to give shelter. / It loves to gather people in.” More and more folks join the child under its rapidly expanding canopy, until, in the last illustration, the umbrella arches over a park filled with animals and culturally diverse, differently abled people, all enjoying themselves and their surroundings. The appealing watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations work beautifully with the text to tell the story. In contrast to the gray skies, the red umbrella stands out visually, creating a warm, cheerful space for those beneath it. The main attraction of this expansive picture book is neither the plot nor the concept, but the upwelling of a boundlessly inclusive spirit reminiscent of Leodhas and Hogrogian’s Caldecott-winning Always Room for One More (1965). Well designed for classroom read-aloud sessions, this open-ended picture book creates a natural springboard for discussion. (Booklist Nov 1, 2017)
Price: $16.99