Thursday, June 15, 2023

Today's read... The Thing at 52 by Ross Montgomery

I'm squeezing my Joker Read in today! While my calendar is always booked months family's eyes always go wide when they see my scribbled-full mess...the publishing world's constant movement has me shoving things around, at least, once a week. Releases get delayed, mail heads off on side-trips to China (at least, that's my explanation for delayed postal delivery), or...and this is rarer...a book isn't what I expected. (If you haven't noticed, I'm always publishing positive reviews. That's because I don't see any reason to use my time for books I don't enjoy...or yours.) These scheduling-hiccups allow for 'other' books to slip in through the cracks (yay!) And that's where my Joker Reads come in.

Anyway, the second I saw this book, I wanted to read it. And I'm betting I'll want a 'Thing' (monster), too! Let's see if this one is worth having.

(Note: This one is going on my possible favorites of 2023 list)

by Ross Montgomery
Illustrated by Richard Johnson
Frances Lincoln Children Books
Picture Book
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

JULY 18th!!!

Spark meaningful discussions about loneliness, friendship, community, and coping with loss with this enchantingly illustrated story about a girl who befriends a monster.

There’s a Thing on my street.
He lives at number 52.
I see him sitting in his front yard when I walk to school.

He was big and lumbering and a wore a tiny top hat perched on top of his rather large head. She didn’t think he had any friends, so she brought him a flower.
It wasn’t long before their friendship bloomed… the Thing was gentle and kind and the adventures they went on were the best she could ever imagine.

The girl soon discovered that there were many Things , living all over the place…which gave her an idea. She invited them all to a party, and the Things danced till midnight. Thing had never felt so happy.

But one day the Thing had to go and their adventures came to an end.
All Things have to go sometime …

In this poignant story, discover how small acts of kindness can grow into great friendships , and how the community you build from those friendships can provide comfort and companionship when you need it most.

Written by the beloved children’s author Ross Montgomery , and illustrated by the incredible Richard Johnson, The Thing at 52 offers a comfortable starting point for discussing difficult topics with children. The book’s magic will draw you back again and again.



After finishing this one, a peek through the window will carry the wish to discover a Thing living next door.

A little girl sees the 'Thing' living next door every day on her way to school. It's always alone and seems lonely. So, she decides to bring it a flower. Soon, a friendship forms, and the two have wonderful times together.

I picked this one up simply because of the cover. The Thing and girl together on the roof promises tons of warmth and adventure...and after reading the blurb, I hoped it wouldn't head into too much melancholy. Luckily, these pages held a story better than I even expected.

Thing is large and fuzzy and clumsy and oh-so-friendly. There's no sense of fear as the girl and it become wonderful friends. Instead, it reminds of an older, lonely, and very friendly neighbor next door, who simply isn't able to make contacts on their own. The small adventures the two have remain in reality but are kept entertaining and whimsical enough to keep young readers/listeners invested in the tale. There is a more serious message about dealing with loss, but it is not nearly as heavy as many books with similar intentions. It does offer food for thought but in the most lovely way (quite clever) and ends with a lightness and the same fun a monster book should have.

The illustrations bring across each scene wonderfully. It's hard not to wish that Thing could step right out of the pages and plop down at the listener's side. Warmth, fun, and friendship radiate from each moment and do invite to flipping through after the story's been read.
This tale is appropriate not only for story times in groups but also for bedtime reads. The author and illustrator have understood their audience, and not only given warmth and thought, but let children's fantasies fly.

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