Windows by Julia Denos {Picture Book Review}

Have you ever walked down your street or driven through a neighborhood, only to catch a quick glance at a random open window? Perhaps you were passing by a store or studio, and saw something that might have caught your eye? If you think about it, every window tells a story. Some windows may have the curtains drawn, giving the impression that someone is sleeping or nobody is home. Some have their curtains wide open to reveal a slight glow of a television lit up in the background. Other windows may display a well lit room along with a crowd of happy people standing together, perhaps celebrating some special event.

Windows is a children's picture book that we've been enjoying for the past few months that offers a simple, yet, poetic storyline about observing the world around us, more specifically around our own neighborhood.  As a little boy gazes out his window, he sees all the wonders that begin to take place as the sky gets darker and evening comes around. Soon the windows around the neighborhood begin to light up from the inside. He decides to go for a quick walk and take it all in. The story then follows his personal observations of what is going on inside each window and the tales they have to tell. 

Before your city goes to sleep, you might head out for a walk, your dog at your side as you go out the door and into the almost-night. Anything can happen on such a walk: you might pass a cat, or a friend, or even an early raccoon. And as you go down your street and around the corner, the windows around you light up one by one until you are walking through a maze of paper lanterns, each one granting you a brief, glowing snapshot of your neighbors as families come together and folks settle in for the night. With a setting that feels both specific and universal and a story full of homages to The Snowy Day, Julia Denos and E. B. Goodale have created a singular book — at once about the idea of home and the magic of curiosity, but also about how a sense of safety and belonging is something to which every child is entitled.

Julia Denos is the illustrator of several books for children, including Grandma’s Gloves by Cecil Castellucci and Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo. She is also the author-illustrator of Swatch: The Girl Who Loved Color. Julia Denos lives in Quincy, Massachusetts.

There are many reasons why I personally enjoy this book. For one, pictures books are a favorite here in our home. My son and I enjoy snuggling up on the couch while reading them. The detailed illustrations throughout the book each have a story to tell on their own. There's plenty of details to look at as you flip through the pages, both in the foreground and background.

The text is simple with a few short sentences on each page, making it a great book for beginning readers. The ending is one of my favorite parts as it offers a heartwarming completion to the story (although I won't give it away for those who have yet to read the book).

The official release date of Windows is October 17, 2017, which is perfect for this time of year. Although the story is not specific on the actual season in which it takes place, I personally received a sort of autumn vibe from the illustrations–which displayed a lot of yellow and amber toned foliage.

Be sure to keep a look out for Windows at your local bookstore or online.

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