Title: The Knowing Book
Author: Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press, 2016
Themes: Enjoying the journey, discovery, what we can know, what we don’t know
Before you forget
Inspiring and wise, this story begins and ends with the sky that is always above you. In between, a young rabbit travels through the wide world, experiencing joy and sorrow and all the wonder that the world has to offer. Along the way he chooses a path, explores the unknown, and ventures along trails on and off the map. And at the end of the journey, braver and more confident, he returns home, the place he can always count on and will always know. This beautiful celebration of life is the perfect gift to mark any milestone in a child’s life from birth to graduation. (Goodreads)
Why I like this book:
I love the mix of contemplation and action in this beautiful soulful picture book. While the publisher suggests kindergarten up for the intended age, I feel the abstraction of the message may go over the heads of younger children, though they may certainly appreciate the wistful young bunny protagonist and his desire to explore his world and then return safely to waiting parents. A sense of wonder is sustained from the opening invitation to look up throughout the story. In each of the bunny’s activities from kite-flying to having a good cry, is a call to embrace the big and the small, the hard and the easy, the joyful and sad moments.
The use of every inch of the page on each of the double spreads by Cordell adds to the text an emphasis on the expansiveness of our universe, and how much there will always be to experience and explore. The reader’s own young wisdom is trusted to engage with this book and expand the imagining for their own lives. I appreciate the maturity of this text and would wish for more picture books of such a philosophical accessibility combined with poetic prose and tender, unhurried illustrations.
With a small group of kids or an individual, open a door, follow a trail and see where it leads!
Check out my interview with the illustrator, Matthew Cordell.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.