The Welcome Chair by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

The Welcome Chair by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021.  9781534429772 

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

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book? The amazing partnership of Rosemary Wells and Jerry Pinkney has produced an unforgettable, beautiful picture book for all ages. Based in part on diaries from Rosemary Wells’ great grandmother and from stories told through family lore, the story follows a rocking chair created by a German immigrant in the 1870s and then passed through the generations – some family and some not. The illustrations are some of Jerry Pinkney’s finest and incredibly beautiful – warm colors with exquisite, lined detail and historical accuracy (Jerry talks about his research in an illustrator’s note at the end). Rosemary Wells’ remarkable storytelling also comes into play here as she did not have all the details about the chair or even what happened to it after 1918. She tells its story anyway, touching on different moments throughout the decades that are not necessarily momentous but are significant. Why is the title The Welcome Chair? Read it to find out.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This picture book would be great for a classroom read but also anyone who loves Jerry Pinkney’s illustrations and attention to historical detail. Lovers of Patricia Polacco will also enjoy this book.

Who should buy this book? All ages and both school and public libraries should own this.

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: Pam WattsFlavin, Head of Children’s Services, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: November 18, 2021

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