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Windows by Julia Denos, illustrated by E. B. Goodale

Windows by Julia DenosE.B. Goodale is a gift. Through words and pictures, Denos and Goodale capture that magical feeling that you get when the sun is setting and you can just see into homes as you walk down the street - that feeling of being connected, being part of the world, feeling happy because you see other other people in their homes, safe and content, with the knowledge that you, too, will soon be safe and content. I almost don't want to say anything more about Windows because it's a joy to discover it and experience it for the first time. Denos's text is perfectly spare. The illustrations do most of the storytelling, with Denos's words gently directing the reader's eye or imagination. Perhaps because she herself is an artist who has illustrated many children's book covers and picture books, her first authored and illustrated picture book, Swatch debuting last year, Denos possesses an understanding of how the words and illustrations work together that shines in Windows.

Windows begins, "At the end of the day, before the town goes to sleep, you can look out your window . . . and see more little windows, lit up like eyes in the dusk, blinking awake as the lights turn on inside: a neighborhood of paper lanterns."  As the boy, in a red hooded jacket, walking a white dog and calling to mind Ezra Jack Keats's Peter and Willie, meanders through his neighborhood, Goodale's illustrations capture the time of day marvelously, the world darkening just a shade on every page. The walk ends where it began, with "someone you love" in the window, waving. The final illustration shows mother and son, curled up in a chair reading a book, the dog curled up and sleeping nearby. I hate to sound goofy or overly sentimental, but reading Windows really is like getting a warm hug. Pass this superb book - and hug - onto someone you love!

**The author and illustrator bios on the jacket flap revealed something that made Windows even dearer to my heart: both Denos and Goodale lived or live in Somerville, MA and Goodale used this city as her inspiration for her illustrations. My daughter graduated from Tufts University (in Medford, adjacent to Somerville) in 2015 and visiting her was my first trip to Boston. Somerville is also the home of Candlewick Press, the publisher of Windows and a publisher of very high quality children's books I have admired since my days as a bookseller, book reviewer and parent purchasing children's books. I probably looked like a huge dork, but on one visit to see my daughter, I invited myself to the offices of Candlewick so that I could see and be where the magic happens. It is so wonderful to know that a picture book like Windows has deep roots in a community!

Source: Review Copy


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