The Balcony by Melissa Castrillón


914QGrrguvL._AC_UY218_ML3_The Balcony by Melissa Castrillón. Simon & Schuster, 2019. 9781534405882

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Wordless (or nearly) picture book

What did you like about the book? This nearly wordless picture book tells the story of a little girl uprooted from her rural home by a parent’s new job. She finds herself in the city, and sad to be away from nature. When she decides to plant seeds in a pot on her balcony, she makes friends with and shares her blooms with all of her neighbors, notably a child across the street on her own balcony. With just a few hand lettered words, the story is really a vehicle for Castrillón’s gorgeous three color art, which like the voluminous plants in the story, has a life of it’s own. The blooms and tendrils and vines create habitats for all sorts of small creatures and for the child of the story. The pages in the center of the book, when the family is en route to their new home, are bereft of blooms, and the reader misses them and rejoices when they are again present, lush and fanciful and profuse. The endpapers and cover under the jacket feature blooms as well. I have a special place in my heart for this sort of wordless picture book, because adults and children can share it and enjoy it in endless ways.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  For fans of Castrillón’s other picture books, and for families looking for bibliotherapy on the subject of moving. For all ages.

Who should buy this book? Day cares, elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: November 24, 2019

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