Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Best Wishes! I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld


As two small children race across a meadow, their high-flying red kite faithfully follows their path, in Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld's I Wish You More (Chronicle Books, 2015), and what parent doesn't wish for those moments for their children?

But there are more than simple best wishes going on in Rosenthal's simple list. Of course, what goes up must come down, at least for favorite kites, but what the writer really wishes is that the memory of that gloriously rising kite is what will remain with the child, as the celebrated Tom Lichtenheld's illustrations show. There is a depth of meaning in some of Rosenthal's blessings that extends beyond the pictures: I wish you more umbrella than rain is more than advice to buy really big umbrellas; it is also a wish for resiliency to deal with whatever life brings. Another wish, for more treasures than pockets is illustrated by a frustrated kid, his pockets already stuffed with shells, looking woefully at the all the wonderful beach riches he can't take back with him, but the hope also suggests that there will be an real embarrassment of such experiential riches in the child's future.

Rosenthal also offers some humorous wordplay with a bit of a double-entendre:


Lichtenheld's facing page portrays a girl, one shoe already tied, struggling with the second shoelace which seems hopelessly in a knot, while the chosen homophone hints at a wider wish for more successes than failures.

Rosenthal and Lichtenheld's newest collaboration can be read on several levels: preschoolers will enjoy the repetition and the humor on each two-page spread (hugs vs. ughs!), while some older graders and certainly parents will sense the subtle meanings implied in the author's carefully crafted text. It's also a twofer, suitable for Mothers and Fathers Day gifts. Kirkus Reviews adds, "The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic."

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