The big umbrella is a slightly hard book to get behind in some ways. The fact that the umbrella magically grows to fit everyone it needs to under it, can be a bit hard for the brain that takes things literally. I know this is a symbol of love. The umbrella is love and there is room for everyone. But my first reading had me saying, “What! Hold on there! I’ve never had an umbrella big enough for me, let alone all those people, that hairy creature and whatever that bird is…” Then I read again and said, “Okay, you were an English major, you know what a symbol is.”
With that said, this book is a book that you read to a child and they will let it roll off their back. Why would it be impossible for a magic umbrella? Why wouldn’t everyone not fit?
Amy June Bates and her eleven-year-old daughter keep me with their illustrations. They are water colors that mimic a rainy day perfectly. Things are less solid, colors are a bit runny. And we see all types of people scurrying along to find a dry spot. This smiling umbrella never falters and is happy to be of help. The minimal text pulls you along as you wonder who next will be there. As a game, you can have your young child point out all the different legs you see under the umbrella. You can count how many legs you see. You can guess who or what might be next.
The Big Umbrella is a lovely book and one that can be read anytime and does lend itself to all ages enjoying it, by themselves or together.