Once upon a time a typewriter proudly typed for its Russian author. It had the Cyrillic keyboard, that tapped out story after story. But when the author comes to America, the typewriter is used less. That is, until a new owner finds it and has it ring out again. Typewriter by Yevgenia Nayberg, is a different story. Typewriter is, as advertised, about a typewriter. While we tend not to see something like this today, the book is set in a contemporary setting. There is some history and a look at something we might not know much, if anything, about. An afterwards with information about immigrants and typing stats are included.
Once upon a time there was a jacket that fit a little girl perfectly. Then one day, it did not fit, and was passed down to the next child. Each one of them loved the stuffing out of that jacket, until the day it was no longer able to be worn at all. Leaving the youngest child out of the line of succession. Yet, mothers know a thing or two about a thing or two about how to keep the love flowing down through all the children and she finds a way to keep that specialness going in No Ordinary Jacket by Sue-Ellen Pashley.
Both picture books deal with the everyday but show how amazing that can be. Nayberg’s illustrations are classic, darker, but bright colors with a sepia-colored touch, create the feeling of old school imagery. They are lovely and can invoke emotional responses. We find the story of an immigrant told by something that cannot talk unless we make it. The details are busy and edgy. The tone is on point and clicks in place. The anamorphic qualities of the typewriter to look human and sound human, of course, adds to this character coming to life. Thea Baker’s illustrations in Jacket on the other hand, are softer. They are bold, bright, and cozy. Baker has created a beloved friend with their illustrations as the jacket journeys from child to child. The jacket is less of a person but still is a character of the story.
Meant for older children at least aged 5 and up, these are not traditional “action stories” and might not work for the active child. However, they are interesting and might allow for conversations. Of course, adults will appreciate the details that come to life on the page.