Monday, January 3, 2011

Book Review for Forsythia & Me by Vincent X. Kirsch

Forsythia & Me

Forsythia & Me by Vincent X. Kirsch

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
January 4, 2010
40 Pages
Ages 4–8
Fiction/Children’s/Picture Book

Vincent X. Kirsch is the author and illustrator of Natalie & Naughtily and Two Little Boys From Toolittle Toys. He grew up in a very snowy place where the sight of forsythia in the spring amazed him. He now lives in New York City.

Forsythia & Me is a story about friendship, devotion, and self-confidence.

Forsythia & Me begins with two best friends, Chester and Forsythia. Forsythia is a unique child who does some pretty amazing things. She can make the most incredible birthday cakes. She flies out of the one she has made for Chester.

She can play the piano so well that she can do it while standing on her head if requested. She can grow prize winning purple roses in the wintertime. On Saturday afternoons, Forsythia performs in the circus and on Sunday afternoons, she dances in the ballet.

Her many talents constantly impress Chester. He’s in awe that she can tame ferocious animals in the city zoo, so they are never late for tea. And her painting skills are good enough to entice the attention of royalty—but what can Chester do that can possibly compare to his friend’s immense talents? He doesn’t know because the focus has always been on Forsythia, but he finally gets his chance to prove himself.

One day Forsythia falls sick. She tries everything to feel better, but nothing works. It is then that Chester bakes her a cupcake decorated in frosting with her initial in the center. She begins to feel better.

Chester then plays her some music. He isn’t perfect, making 13 mistakes, but he tries his best. She asks him to play again.

Chester proceeds to show Forsythia all the wonderful, albeit imperfect, things he can do for her.

Forsythia & Me is a great story for anyone who admires a friend. For a long time Chester’s talents are hidden in the shadows of Forsythia’s. Yet as a devoted friend, it doesn’t matter to him. He takes joy in her accomplishments as she eventually does in his.

After reading this 40-page hardcover picture book, children between the ages of 4–8 should leave the story with these messages: Believe in yourself. Never hold back. Don’t settle for staying in the shadows. Rise and shine like the sun, like Forsythia—and you don’t have to have extraordinary talents to do so.

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