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The blanket where Violet sits
Where is it?
Fiction/Biography Profile
Violet (Girl),
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews
Publishers Weekly Review
A "The House That Jack Built" narrative structure gives a night of stargazing galactic dimensions in this expansive picture book. As the sun sets, a child cuddles on a blanket with two affectionate caregivers, all of whom are portrayed with brown skin. "This is the blanket where Violet sits,/ eating a sandwich, an apple, and chips," the rhythmic verse opens, before opening outward to encompass the city, planet, sun, solar system, galaxies, and "the known universe, past comprehension,/ billions of light-years in every direction." Befitting Wolf's pleasing cumulative prose, Tobia's pencil and digital renderings offer varied perspectives, from close-ups of the trio--clad in headlamps as they position a telescope and point at the sky--to macro views of outer space, an arrow indicating Violet's position. Circling to a conclusion, the creators jointly emphasize the mystery and majesty of the universe, encouraging wondrous space-filled bedtime musing. Ages 3--7. (Aug.)
Booklist Review
Violet and her parents walk to a hilltop in a city park, hauling provisions and supplies, including a telescope. Sitting on a blanket, they enjoy a picnic as the sun sets and then turn their attention to the darkening sky. The text shifts its focus progressively from the family, their city, their planet, its moon, its sun, its solar system, and its spiral galaxy within thousands of clustered galaxies, encouraging listeners to consider the vastness of space: "Here's the known universe, past comprehension, / billions of light-years in every direction, / and billions of galaxies out in the black. / There might be a Violet out there, looking back." Step by step, using the rhyme, rhythm, and repeated images reminiscent of "The House That Jack Built," the narrative returns to Violet sitting on her blanket in the park. Wolf uses the nursery rhyme's structure effectively, sending listeners' imaginations soaring before bringing them back to the familiar. Tobia's pencil drawings, digitally enhanced with color and texture, create warm, inviting scenes in this mind-expanding picture book for young stargazers.
Horn Book Review
In this preschooler's introduction to the universe, a little girl's city-set picnic with two loving caregivers zooms from the titular blanket out to "the known universe, past comprehension," and back. Wolf adopts a cumulative "House That Jack Built" rhythm and structure that begins, "This is the blanket where Violet sits, / eating a sandwich, an apple, and chips," and simply but gracefully adds elements. Tobia's (Oscar's Tower of Flowers, rev. 9/21; Anna Hibiscus books) frame repeatedly expands perspective further and further before returning, like the rhyme, to blanket and family in a gentle ebb and flow. Her characters are rendered in her signature style, with round, dumpling-like faces, soft noses, and tiny eyes topped by emotive eyebrows. They are a family of color bundled for the outing such that one adult's gender expression is entirely ambiguous (the other sports a soul patch). As day turns to night, Violet's caregivers don headlamps and set up a telescope (presumably carried to the park in their little red wagon, festooned with fairy lights). As Tobia's paintings take in the solar system and the galaxy, they retain a warm informality while also achieving a sense of awe. Between the tried-and-true narrative structure and the centering of this abundantly loved child, this must be the coziest exploration of the universe ever. Vicky Smith July/August 2022 p.105(c) Copyright 2022. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Review
Violet has the perfect vantage point for observing an array of celestial wonders. A small family--a child with two adults, brown-skinned, warmly bundled in jackets and hats--spends a stargazing evening in a city park. "This is the blanket where Violet sits, / eating a sandwich, an apple, and chips." Wolf's cumulative rhyme begins here, then travels from the cozy red blanket to the wide universe. First, we see the full moon and the blue planet, red arrow indicating the West Coast of North America, where the sun is setting. "This is the yellow star orbited 'round // by the small blue planet with moon so pretty / that shines on the park in the bustling city, / home to the blanket where Violet sits…." Stars shine in a deep blue sky; planets line up in bright colors. Then, "This is the galaxy, spiraling white…." Tobia's perspectives shift from Violet and parents, gazing through a telescope, to an aerial view of their city, to the far reaches of the solar system, the galaxy, and beyond, and back again to Violet. The full-bleed illustrations picture deep space, pinwheels of stars, and distant galaxy clusters within the reach of a child's imagination. The snack ("a sandwich, an apple, and chips"), the memorable rhyme, and the very big idea all affirm that the child is at this moment the center of the vast universe. (This book was reviewed digitally.) Stellar fuel for the heart and mind and an expansive storytime choice. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Cozy and expansive at once, this warm bedtime book reminds us that our aspirations--no matter how big--deserve the universe.

A gorgeous picture-book ode to wonder and safety, told in cumulative rhyme and with earthy illustrations evoking brick brownstones and crisp autumn skies. In a galaxy spiraling white, on a small blue planet with a moon so pretty, in a green park in a bustling city, a little girl sits on a blanket with her family, eating a sandwich, an apple, and chips. Equipped with telescope and space book, Violet gazes up into the great beyond, imagining a rocket ride to the stars . . . and a soft, sleepy return to her blanket. Lyrical and meditative, this is the perfect picture book to savor and share during a late-night picnic under the moon--or anytime.
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