The Table

Holiday House/Neal Porter. Oct. 2024. 56p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780823456420.
Gr 1-3–It can be said that everything has a story to tell, but perhaps a beloved kitchen table collects the most stories of them all. From children who are not interested in eating what is placed in front of them to the many activities that take place in a family’s life, a kitchen table is a place for gathering, working, playing, and remembering. And when circumstances change and a table no longer fits in one family’s space, it just might find a new home where more memories can be made. This poetic picture book transports readers to life in the American countryside, where time moves slowly, home-cooked meals are frequent, and family is everpresent. No faces are ever shown, but hands are frequently used as the focal point of the illustrations. These hands are depicted in many hues and clearly showcase the work they have done throughout their lives. Perhaps most interesting is the way the text is presented, primarily in dialogue, but handwritten on rectangles of color that look like strips of paper. The choice vocabulary and onomatopoeia used within the story bring rural America to the readers’ ears, and the inclusion of conversations about church, cornbread, and working class families enhance this design. Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully written, this is a story that will encourage family discussion and reflection.
VERDICT This unique addition to the shelves celebrates the American experience through the lens of a beloved kitchen table.

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