Ergo, by Alexis Deacon/Illustrated by Viviane Schwarz, (July 2021, Candlewick Press), $17.99, ISBN: 9781536217803
There’s something for everyone in this philosophical primer for little ones. Ergo is a chick who wakes up, deciding to explore her world. She wiggles her toes, flaps her wings, gives a tentative peck with her beak, and decides that “I am the world and the world is me”… until she realizes that the world, her world, is far more complex than that.
I had to mention this to my 18-year-old, whose mind was blown by the fact that the author created a kid-friendly story of Plato’s Cave. And that’s exactly what Ergo is! Kids will love the story of a chick discovering its egg, and the existential freakout when she realizes that she isn’t as in control as she previously thought. Viviane Schwarz’s simple ink and watercolor illustrations translate the message, giving life and meaning to Alexis Deacon’s story, with an adorable wide-eyed chick who wants desperately to figure it all out.
Me? I’d give this one as a baby shower gift, too. Adorable, hilarious, perfect. Engage your littles with a post-storytime craft by letting them create thumbprint Ergos of their own.
How to Be on the Moon, by Viviane Schwarz, (June 2019, Candlewick Press), $16.99, ISBN: 9781536205459
A little girl and her best crocodile friend decide to go to the moon. They ready their math skills, practice having patience, and pack travel games and sandwiches, then take off for a jaunt on the moon.
This is the second Anna and Crocodile adventure from Viviane Schwarz (the first, How to Find Gold, was published in 2016), and it is a celebration of friendship and imagination. The illustrations are pencil, crayon, and watercolor, giving the scenery different textures; it’s like taking a peek into an imaginary landscape. The moonscape is amazing, and looks like aluminum foil (more on that in a minute) against a colorful rocketship and blue-black spacescape. The book is upbeat, with an overall sense of playful fun, that makes this a book I’ll return to again and again at storytime and science time.
Speaking of science time, I’m finishing up my summer reading programs this week, and will be reading How to Be on the Moon when the kids and I make aluminum foil moons. It’s a simple enough craft that I can open it up to all ages, and I think it will be a fun way to bid summer reading goodbye for another year.
Author/illustrator Viviane Schwarz has fun, free downloadables and activities on her author webpage. Check them out!
I look forward to seeing where Anna and Crocodile go on their next trek!