Thursday, June 4, 2015

The High Street by Alice Melvin

One of the wonderful things about living in a different country is getting to explore all the multicultural treasures found in the library. This author, Alice Melvin, is English. I have noticed a significant increase in European, Oceanic, and Asian books that have been coming home with us from our library trips, which was something I often had to scout out on my own and pray the library would accept my book-buying requests in the midwest. 

Canada is a commonwealth country, so the obvious ties with Australia and England are apparent. There are a lot of Chinese and Japanese people living in Canada, especially on the Pacific Coast where I'm at, and I see a lot of books coming from those two countries within the children's stacks. I love that! So many of the treasures I've found over the last 8 months of living 'abroad' (my American friends might laugh at that), is that the culture is very different--even down to which types of picture books get front and center in the local libraries. Books create and enhance a culture, and here it is markedly different than my American, midwestern experience. 

I picked this book up for two reasons. The first, being that I loved the modern-victorian(ish) illustrations throughout, and the second, because my daughter loves flap books. I figured even if the words weren't great, we'd still enjoy the book. I found upon our first read that yes, the story is lovely as well! It's a great book all-around. Both my children enjoyed this story and I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures of the outside of each building, along with the 'dollhouse-view' of the inside of each store. 

This story is about a little girl fetching different necessities for her basket on High Street, a main street where each little shop has what she needs...except when one doesn't!
This book is more in line with a repetitive poem, which can sometimes get unbearable to read aloud, though most children seem to like them. It's not quite the same, as the words of each item she buys are subtracted on each page until she comes to her last item. Do you know what I mean? It's not agonizing like reading aloud "We're Going on a Bear Hunt!", but there is some repetition throughout. 

On Alice's website you can peek inside and see quite a few more of the whimsical illustrations that grace the pages. This storybook is a feast for the eyes, and a fun book to read if you're a treasure-hunter, because there is so much going on visually. I've found there's even a fun paper-doll-like kit of the Emporium and a few of the characters for sale on her site. 
We had fun enjoying Melvin's story and already have a few more of her titles on hold at our local library. Cheers!

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