Sunday, November 7, 2021

Review - In November

In November

by Cynthia Rylant
illustrated by Jill Kastner
Date: 2000
Publisher: Harcourt Mifflin Harcourt
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

In November, the air grows cold and the earth and all of its creatures prepare for winter. Animals seek food and shelter. And people gather together to celebrate their blessings with family and friends.

Cynthia Rylant's lyrical language and Jill Kastner's rich, cozy paintings capture the cherished moments of this autumn month--the moments we spend together and the ones we witness in the world around us.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a pretty picture book with lyrical text and lovely oil paintings... and a decidedly American bent that will likely limit its audience outside the United States.

I didn't realize that this was an American Thanksgiving book when I picked it up. And, to be fair, it doesn't start out that way. The book shows how nature changes and prepares itself for winter when November comes around. We see the weather changing. We see the plants changing. We see the animals' behaviour changing.

And then we get to the people. The last part of the book is taken up with Thanksgiving stuff. The food is better. People are nicer to each other. Everybody gets together to give thanks.

Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not! But it does come across as quite Americocentric, and by giving the book this focus, it could be confusing to children in other parts of the world whose experience of November is quite different.

Aside from that, the book is fine. It would make a nice addition to a holiday library of Thanksgiving picture books (especially since it doesn't focus on gluttony as so many others do).

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3 out of 5

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