4 out of 4 stars
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I was happy to spy a title on the review list by Kamon, the author of another book I reviewed. As I enjoyed the previous story very much, I wasted no time accepting the current selection, While: A Story of Time Around the World. It is a children’s picture book that explores a boy’s view of what is happening in different regions in the world, all at the same moment in time.
At 10 AM, a teacher begins a class lesson about the concept of time. As students often do, Emerson looks out the window and starts daydreaming about what he sees outside his classroom. The student’s thoughts wander as he notices a group of ladybugs and a man working in the playground. Emerson’s imagination takes hold as he reflects on different areas around the world. What might people and animals be doing in other countries right now? Like his cousin Gina, even people who live on the other side of the U.S. are just waking up while he is already in school. Emerson remembers his father explaining, with the aid of a time zone map, the way it is nighttime in some regions while the sun is rising where they live.
I loved this fun, educational book. The descriptions made me feel as if Emerson was taking a magic carpet ride around the world. The author makes effective use of the boy’s daydreams as a plot device to show examples of different time zones. I particularly liked the choices of offbeat places such as Iceland, the Himalayas, and Mount Fuji, in order to give a lively view of life around the world.
The author is also the illustrator of the story. The colorful, whimsical artwork is a wonderful complement to the narrative. Each page of text is accompanied by a full-length illustration. Younger readers would enjoy looking at the pictures of exotic locales. It might spark their interest in learning more about these places. It is a nice touch that the nighttime illustrations are shown on a black background, a helpful reminder that it is a completely different time of day in those locations. The casual font used for the text is also a good fit for the story.
The ending of the book is thought-provoking, although the phrasing on the last page might be a bit sophisticated for children.
This book has easily earned 4 out of 4 stars. It has a nice mix of ingredients to entertain and educate younger readers. The story kept my interest with a cute plot and eye-catching illustrations. I would recommend this book to children ages 3-9. A great choice for storytime and beginning readers, it’s a perfect example of the concept that learning can be fun.
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