October 7, 2011

Autumn Picture Book Review: The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg


I love picture books.
When I started having kids I decided that I wanted an autumn/Halloween picture book for everyday in October. I am still reading these out loud to my sons every night before bed (they are now 11 and 13). They still love hearing the books and I love, love, love that they still let me read to them (they actually are the ones to remind me each night). So, for the months of October and November I am going to spotlight some of my favorites!

The top of my list if The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg.

Not only is this one of my favorite Autumn books it is one of my all time favorite picture books.

The story is of Farmer Bailey who hits a man with his car. The man is dressed in strange leather clothing and looks very much a "hermit." He can't remember who he is and he doesn't talk, so Farmer Bailey brings him home. The stranger quickly becomes part of the family, helping out around the farm and playing with the daughter. But he can't escape the feeling that something is missing. One thing that really bothers him is how all the trees to the north are red and orange but all the trees around the farm and to the south are green. One day he pulls a leaf off the tree and blows on it, it changes color.

I just adore this book. The page where he blows on the leaf is my absolute favorite. It gives me goosebumps every time I read it. There is also a page where he watches the geese flying south and seems almost hypnotized by them. I totally feel that way when geese fly overhead. I love it when they are close enough to my house so that I can hear the air moving around their wings.

And the pictures are unparalleled. Chris Van Allsburg is amazing. So real but yet, so whimsical. The colors are just a bit muted, but still outstanding. I drool over them.

If you have never seen this picture book, find a way to rectify that. This is the perfect time of year to read The Stranger with a child in your life!

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