Sunday, November 10, 2013

30 Days of Picture Books - The Village Garage by G. Brian Karas

It's Day 3 of our 30 Days of Picture Books. Scoot over to Pinterest where I've created a board for our 2013 picks, and you can find a board for our 2012 picks there as well. And if you've got suggestions for titles we should feature in the series, we'd love to hear them -- comment here on the blog, or post them to us on Facebook!

Today's choice is one that we've read every fall, and that never fails to satisfy. I've posted before about our appreciation for author/illustrator G. Brian Karas, and his skillful integration of diversity into the cast of characters he uses for virtually every book. The Village Garage originally caught Sprout's eye because of the giant piece of machinery on the front cover. We brought it home in a huge stack of other titles, but this is the one that stuck with us. I'm not sure why it became associated with fall for us -- it's actually an exploration of the seasons -- but fall it is, and ever will be.

Karas goes inside the Village Garage to examine what workers do every season to keep life flowing smoothly in the small village where they live. From spring cleanup, to summer paving projects, from fall leaf wrangling to winter snow removal, each time of year brings unique challenges and requires different equipment. Karas frames the story with small bits of humor (Sprout loves when one worker sprays another with water during a truck washing) that feel authentic and add the perfect depth. No matter how mundane or unappealing the job might be, these village workers make it look like fun!

This is a natural fit for kiddos who love vehicles and who are fascinated by any aspect of big machinery. But it's a good way to introduce a discussion about the rhythm of life, and how what's critical in one season -- mowing lawns, for instance -- is totally a non-issue in others. Sprout especially likes part where the workers are waiting for snow, and then it comes, mountains of it. The scene with the snowplow rumbling through the night is especially thrilling for Sprout, and never fails to delight (plus it's followed by sledding - what could be better?).

For a unique take on seasons that's nicely balanced between informative and fun, look no further. But watch out for snowballs!

The Village Garage by G. Brian Karas, published by Henry Holt and Company

No comments: