Norton Juster's The Hello, Goodbye Window
Caldecott winning illustrations by Chris Raschka
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
A beautiful, bi-racial children's book
Grandparents are famous for not disciplining their darlings. Indulge, indulge, indulge. Their love for their offspring's offspring is obvious and out in the open. You could say that they're kind of transparent.
Kind of like the hello, goodbye window, which is what the little girl in Norton Juster's first picture book calls the kitchen window at Nanna and Poppy's.
It looks like a regular window, but it's not.
The kitchen is where Poppy and Nanna can most often be found. Their granddaughter comes to stay when Mommy and Daddy go to work (and often stays over too!), and every day is clearly a joy for all involved. There's no hint that, despite their regularity, these visits could ever be run-of-the-mill, and the hello, goodbye window is very much where the joy of each visit starts.
The days are clearly crammed full of activity as the girl is served by doting grandparents who clearly have all the time in the world to give and love giving it.
No wonder there's such joy!
Chris Raschka's Caldecott Medal winning illustrations are captivating and meant to look almost as if the little girl herself could have created them. Using a child's palette and a child's materials, he manages to apply just enough definition to make everything clear.
These are what your child meant the paintings on your refrigerator to look like.
Unmentioned in text but clear from the pictures are the child's biracial roots. Dad and Poppy appear white, Mom and Nanna black. That this fact goes unremarked upon makes the book all the more remarkable.
If the name Norton Juster sounds familiar, it's because he's the author of The Phantom Tollbooth, perhaps this reviewer's favorite book from childhood.
Celebrate grandparents (and windows, and transparent love) with The Hello, Goodbye Window.
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