Sunday, May 16, 2021

Review: Is Was by Deborah Freedman


by Deborah Freedman
Atheneum Books
Picture Book 
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

Explore the connections found in nature in this simply stunning picture book that explores the idea of change, both big and small.

This sky is
the same sky that was blue,
and now is
spilling down in drips and drops…
until rainclouds pass…

Over the course of one day, a small child experiences the way the natural world changes from sun to rain and from day to night as things transform from is to was in this breathtaking book.

GOODREADS   /     AMAZON    /    B&N    /    KOBO     /     BOOK DEPOSITORY


                                                * poetic 
                                                * changes in nature 
                                                * beautifully illustrated
                                                * great for even shorter attention spans


With gorgeous illustrations, the change from 'is' to 'was' is introduced through nature in a way which keeps boredom away.

The difference between is and was is presented in these pages through changes in nature. While it starts out basic enough (blue sky turns to downpour), the illustrations soon glide into various forms of past and present (a chipmunk drinks from the puddles, only to dart away and leave a bird flying to flowers instead). The scenes are lively and yet calming...simple and yet with enough details to awaken curiosity and have the listener wanting to revisit them again. And then, the entire books takes a broader arc as the 'is' of daylight becomes a 'was' and night time settles in.

Firstly, I love the illustrations. These are the kind which demand attention thanks not only to their beauty but due to the familiar scenes and interesting 'unspoken' tales. The text is kept short and sometimes just floats along as a word or two on the page. It adds a calm and artistic atmosphere, while allowing the visual scenes to hit with their full glory. This is the kind of picture book which can be read aloud to a group, but kids will want to get their fingers on it themselves, so they can flip through the illustrations and let them soak in. And they'll discover all sorts of simple adventures, too.

The difference between 'is' and 'was' is subtly brought across in a unique manner, which promises and delivers so much more along the way

And here she is...

Deborah Freedman once was a child who liked to swing on swings. Now, she is an author-illustrator of picture books for children. She lives in a colorful house in Connecticut, where, from her favorite writing chair, she has watched blooms, storms, and moons come and go. You can learn more about Deborah and her books—including Blue ChickenThe Story of Fish & Snail; ShyThis House, Once; and Is Was—at

No comments: