If I had a daughter or son or non-binary child, I would immediately find a perfect warm moment to read this book with them. And I mean ‘‘with them.’’ I would totally make them read a couple of passages and I’d pause on all the images, which are quite heart-warming and beautifully done.
This is the kind of story that feels like a classic. You’ve never read it before, and it doesn’t feel like you have necessarily when you do, but it does feel right. Like this was a story that was meant to be written and told and that belongs in the world of children’s literature. Certainly some aspects have been explored before, and of course talking animals are quite popular in kids’ stories, but there is still a lot about it that is different and surprising. It made me think that trains should be more present in these books, as they can surprisingly be very enchanting.
This is the kind of writing style that is completely engaging. There’s actually something I really like about it and simultaneously dislike: It seems so casual, as though the narrator is telling a story that is coming to their mind, in a very natural way. On the other hand, it seems so natural that it doesn’t feel edited at times. Charlotte’s Web is, I think, one of the best edited children’s books of all times, and it still reads ‘‘natural’’ and works for its audience, engages it. So yes, at times I did wish it had felt less ‘‘casual’’ and more, well, professional. But the story is so interesting and the characters so memorable that, in most cases, it’s easy to overlook and just go with it.
I want to congratulate the author, who is best known for his adult bestselling books, for giving children literature a try, and doing a pretty fantastic job at it, too. I am already looking forward to the sequel, supposedly coming out in May 2022.
Thank you Hachette Book Group Canada for the title in exchange for a review.