You know those books you read when you were a kid--"Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (text only) by V. Lee Burton," "The Little House," "Harry the Dirty Dog," "The Caboose Who Got Loose -," "Where the Wild Things Are," and so on? Remember why they transported you? It wasn't usually because they were fantastical like "Wild," it was because they were so vivid. The worlds they created were built with their sense of art just as much as their sense of words.
I feel like a great deal of the new books I try to pick up and read to my kids today have lost that. They spend so much time focused on the "message" and the "lesson" that they forget the world. Because once you are in the world, you learn its lessons easily, almost without realizing it:
"Mike" & "House" both teach that we always have purpose and use no matter our stage of life.
"Harry" and "Wild" teach about the value of home and family and love.
and "Caboose" reminds us that once we become happy with our lives, we'll find what we're looking for.
Bringing back that tradition of high art and soft lessons is Micah Player, with his debut Children's book, "Chloe, Instead." If you look up Mr. Player here on Amazon you will find this is not his first artistic effort, and it is clear he has no trouble merging his high talents in ink & paint with subtle wordplay.
Chloe is an only child who was excited to be getting a new sister, as most big sisters would be, and for the same reasons: she thought she would be getting a little version of herself. Her illusions about this are shattered in a mess of chewed crayons, crumpled books, and banged keyboards. The way she deals with it will define their relationship through the years, and will be a nice tool for any young child also expecting a new sibling about to be "plopped" into their ordered little world.