Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Present review

The Present
2010

Sparing use of color in mostly grayscale illustrations gives special emphasis to the excitement that a child feels upon discovering a package hidden in the coat closet. Arthur's birthday is right around the corner, and he's certain the present is meant for him. We never see Arthur, instead, the clean, bold lines of the graphic design-inspired illustrations depict each of the many, many items that Arthur supposes could be in the box. As he ponders each possibility, he usually makes a comment on why he would or wouldn't like each potential gift. A ring toss? "If he practiced a lot, he could become the world champion ring tosser and get his picture in the newspaper." It could be a bowling set, which he wouldn't care for, or a wheel, which he wouldn't need. There are plenty of other things that Arthur wants though.  A Japanese lantern that he could marvel at, a paint set, a new backpack to replace his current one which has holes in it. Could it be those ice skates he's always wanted, a french horn which would be neat to play, a computer that he could watch movies on?  Could it be a pet fish?  It's pretty exciting thinking about all the possibilities.  


Although much of the book seems like it could appeal to one's greedy baser instincts, ultimately, there is a very altruistic message to this book, that it really is better to give than to receive.  When the doorbell rings, and a woman from a charity is looking for donations, Arthur gladly gives her the still unopened box.  The Present provides plenty of fodder to spark some interesting discussions: What kind of gifts are you hoping for?  How many gifts do you think is enough?  Would you give away a present you'd been looking forward to opening?  What if somebody else really needed it?  Definitely an interesting book.


I borrowed this book from the library.

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