Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Picture Book Review: A Walk in the Words by Hudson Talbott (2021)

Quick Booktalk

In first person, the author relates his experience learning to read and to accept himself as a "slow" reader.

About the Illustrations 

The pictures in this book do a great job of capturing abstract concepts in a concrete medium. The whimsical illustrations really help to convey how the author felt about words, books, and the act of reading and also how his feelings changed and developed over time. The visual comparison of the world of words to a scary, complex forest works really well, as does his shift in perspective at the end of the story toward seeing the world of words as an ocean whose waves he can surf with ease. 

Story Time Possibilities

This is a definite classroom book that will most likely be used to address kids' anxiety about reading. There really is no story here outside of the lesson about learning to read at one's own pace, and that's the kind of thing teachers want to read about on the first day of school to break the ice and set the tone for the year. I think the text is pleasant to read aloud, but I'm not sure I see the book being chosen for anything other than bibliotherapy.

Readers Advisory 

I am not convinced that a child who is reluctant to read is going to be persuaded otherwise by reading a book. I do think such kids will relate to some of the images Talbott uses to describe his journey, so it does have the potential to be a good conversation starter, but it would require just the right touch from adults to get the interest of the child who could most benefit from it. For me, this seems mostly like a picture book that will be loved by adults but not necessarily universally embraced by kids. It's a well-done picture book, but its audience is likely to be limited. 


I received a finished copy of A Walk in the Words from Penguin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. 

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