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Pickle Me This

January 22, 2016

The Moon was the Best, by Charlotte Zolotow and Tana Hoban

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I never knew that Charlotte Zolotow (literary legend, famous editor and author of books including William’s Doll, The Hating Book, and so so many others) worked with Tana Hoban, who was Russell’s sister and a photographer who produced beautiful children’s books throughout the 1970s and ’80s. But Harriet brought home this beautiful book from school yesterday, not a library book, a hardcover with its dust jacket intact. “What’s this?” I asked her, because she usually only brings home books about Scooby Doo. And she informed me that her teacher had loaned it to her. “I told her about the Barbados trip,” she said. “And she said I should read this.”

It’s a story about a little girl whose mother and father take a trip to Paris, and the little girl asks her mother to remember all the special things to tell her about. What the mother remembers isn’t necessarily what one would expect from a trip to Paris, but instead the memories are perfectly attuned to a child’s-eye view, gorgeously complemented by Hoban’s photographs in vivid colour.

You’ve probably heard me say before that Harriet has the most wonderful teacher, and the thing about such a statement is that it’s always been true. “The Barbados trip” is an event that looms large in Harriet’s future, our first time going away without her for a week, and while she’ll be in good care and is looking forward to many parts of having her adventures while we’re gone, she’s still nervous. Which her teacher was able to intuit, and treat with a literary salve—and what an exquisite one. I read the book twice, and its ending brought me to tears every time.

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