Over the Shop – JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng

 Over the Shop – JonArno Lawson, illustrated by Qin Leng, Candlewick, (9781536201475),  2021 

Format: Hardcover picture book

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

What did you like about the book? A grumpy-looking older lady and a happy little girl live in a house that has a general store in front.  The little girl begins feeding the stray cat that is living in the alley next to the store. The older lady, who is probably a grandparent, is making a sign to advertise the apartment above them that she wants to rent out.  Many people come to look at the apartment but it is a filthy, broken down disaster.  Just as grandma is giving up, taking the sign from the window, a couple (one brown-skinned, the other white) show up and rent it.  They clean, repair and build – and then they re-vitalise the shop!  Meanwhile the little girl has lured the cat inside where it now happily lives.  Grandma is no longer scowling.  The illustrations, done in watercolor and ink, have a European feel.  They are soft pastels, very intricate, reminiscent a bit of Quentin Blake and Edward Ardizzone.  This is a sweet, mesmerizing story, filled with love.

Anything you did not like about the book?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Those who like wordless picture books would be first and then everyone else who appreciates a beautifully-illustrated, evocative story.

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and teachers who might be doing a unit on wordless stories and people at home to look at with their children on a one-on-one, imagining the words.

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

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

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Manager, Youth Services Book Review

Date of Review: 1/17/2021

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