Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Pictures from our Vacation


PICTURES FROM OUR VACATION; Lynne Rae Perkins; New York: Greenwillow, 2007; unpaged. Picture Book

Lynne Rae Perkins is such a genius. She wins the Newbery for Criss Cross and has had a couple of picture books in the running for Caldecott, the most recent of which is Pictures from our Vacation. Nominally about a family's two-day trip to vacation at the old farmstead, this book is most of all about ways of seeing. When the family arrives, the father sees happy memories everywhere; the kids see dust and cobwebs. The Shangri-La Motel where they stay on their way is small potatoes compared to the Blue Motel the young girl sees in her head, identical blue cottages on the outside, but inside filled with wonders: an aquarium room with a sandy floor; the room with a bed that glowed like the sun (though you could turn if off at night); and the jungle room, with a waterfall for a shower. Though each child has a camera to record the vacation, what they see at the farm and out the windows of the car, what they see in their heads, and what their father remembers of his childhood days are more vivid and longer-lasting, as they are in all our lives.

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