The Collectors – written and illustrated by Alice Feagan

The Collectors – written and illustrated by Alice Feagan, Kids Can Press, 9781525302046, 2021 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book?  Winslow and Rosie spend their time collecting treasures in the woods and displaying them in their extraordinary treehouse. Although they work as a team, each girl has her specialty. Winslow finds objects while Rosie does the identification and cataloging. As the shelves fill up, the girls decide to find one last amazing object, but everything they find on their final trip turns out to be too big, too far, too deep, or too high for them to reach. Downhearted, they return to the treehouse in time to see something special that’s been there all along, a nest with three babies just about to hatch. The digital illustrations (which resemble cut-paper and collage) do a nice job of conveying the fun of exploring the natural world. I especially loved what my students used to call the “magic picture”, the cover art that later appears in the story. Here it’s the image of the two little girls, standing hand-in-hand in front of the black, yawning mouth of a cave. Feagan also does a nice job of playing with what the girls imagine they can find: a giant purple gemstone, a fossilized T-Rex or the feather from a rare bird. For those who dream of planning their own expeditions, there’s a lovely two page packing list, complete with detailed drawings, of all the necessary equipment: a map, a magnifying glass, a field journal, water and snacks, etc. Winslow has white skin and bushy orange hair; Rosie has brown skin and glasses, and wears her black hair in a messy ponytail. 

Anything you didn’t like about it? The text was not as strong as the illustrations. Occasionally the narrative lapsed into stiffness, and the girls’ conversations didn’t sound genuine. 

To whom would you recommend this book?  Adventurers planning their own backyard collecting trips. 

Who should buy this book? Public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: May 11, 2021

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