We’ve got the data back from Literati’s January book clubs and crunched the numbers. Here, Literati’s CEO Jessica Ewing, and Dr. Mark West, a children’s literature expert at the University of North Carolina, take a deep dive into the books our members decided to keep to find out why they liked them so much.
While Peek Inside Nighttime was the top performer in club Sprout (3-5) for January, Jessica says when it comes to the sheer raw beauty of illustrations it’s hard to beat the work of two-time Caldecott Honor winner Pamela Zagarenski.
In Sleep Like a Tiger, Zagarenski, who was Literati’s featured illustrator for December’s experience ‘Magic Doors and Secret Passageways’, illustrates the dance between the world of the day and the realm of dreams.
It surprised us that it was our second-best performing book in Club Sprout. “She was a natural fit,” Jessica says, “and we couldn’t resist including Sleep Like a Tiger in the January theme box because her illustration style has such an ephemeral, dreamlike quality to it.”
In Sleep Like a Tiger, Zagarenski illustrates ‘the dance between the world of the day and the realm of dreams.’
Mark said Sleep Like a Tiger reminded him of the complexity of illustrations in Goodnight Moon that oftentimes kids catch but adults don’t. “Adults are so conditioned to being slaves to the text,” he says. “We come to the last period on the page and we cannot help ourselves; we have to turn it over. But I remember when I was reading Goodnight Moon to our son years ago and he said: “Wait, I haven’t spotted the mouse yet.” I had no idea that there was a mouse on every page. I didn’t see it. I only paid attention to that one part of the text that says ‘goodnight mouse’.”
Mark found similar visual allusions in Sleep Like a Tiger. “There’s an orb that you associate with the sun on every single page and you have to look for it. Sometimes it’s very cleverly hidden. Then there’s the persistence of wheels – it begins with the character riding her scooter, but then wheels appear again and again. And there are recurring images of old-timey coffee cups and pots. But children are looking at the pictures more carefully than we are, particularly kids who can’t read and don’t care about those squiggly lines on the page that don’t mean anything to them.”