Prather’s Pick: A wonderfully imaginative book
June 23, 2015
The imagination is a wonderful thing, and that's what this week's picture book is all about. "This Is Sadie" is a great book about a little girl and her great big imagination.
According to the short biography on the book's inside jacket cover, author Sara O'Leary always wanted a little girl to name after her grandmother who was nicknamed "Sadie," so she "invented" one. That's how "This Is Sadie" came about.
The book was illustrated by Julie Morstad, who did the beautiful artwork in gouache, watercolor, and pencil crayon. "This Is Sadie" is published by Tundra Books, a division of Random House of Canada Limited and Tundra Books of Northern New York (2015).
As the book begins, the reader finds Sadie in a big cardboard box, big enough to hold Sadie anyway, but in the little girl's mind it isn't a box at all. It's a great big sailboat, crossing a wide sea (in reality, it's "sailing" on a patchwork rug or blanket).
So there she is, hair blowing in the wind, her hands on her arms as she stares out over the water looking for land. A sea gull is perched on the boat, wondering what Sadie is up to. And when Sadie has sailed around the room, she comes back to land and begins her next project.
Sadie is still in her pajamas, and it isn't even time for breakfast yet, but there she is, pounding nails into pieces of wood, making something that's already pretty tall and…well, interesting. Nails are scattered all over the floor.
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Sadie's room is one interesting place. Some books are stacked on a chair, a few of them about ships; a clothesline, hung with doll clothes, is tied between the bed and a chair; and a record player is running. You'd never guess that Sadie has to be quiet because "old people need lots of sleep."
Sadie likes foxes, too. A little fox is propped up against her wood masterpiece, and a fox mask is lying on the floor. Sadie wears a fox mask in the cover page illustration.
So pretty soon it's time to tidy the room. Everything goes under the bed. Then Sadie chooses her favorite dress and gets ready for the rest of the day. There just aren't enough hours to get everything done!
There are friends — both live and in books — a fort house to make by hanging blankets over a rope, and worlds of imaginative experiences, including living under the sea and being a hero of fairy tales. It's pretty imaginative, indeed.
How much fun it would be to share this book with children!
Sara O'Leary co-created the award-wining Henry books with Julie Morstad. She has also written fiction for adults. Morstad was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Illustration.
You can purchase "This Is Sadie" in hardcover for $19.99. It can also be found in the children's room at the Craig Moffat County Library.