This Holiday, Give the Gift of Reading: ‘Izzy and Poe’ Book Review
Published on December 24th, 2013 | by Charu Suri
0 This Holiday, Give the Gift of Reading: ‘Izzy and Poe’ Book Review
If you’re a shopper like myself, you’ve probably left your purchases to the Cinderella Hour. Last Friday, I felt completely flustered as I walked down 5th Avenue in search for some ideal gifts for friends. It suddenly dawned on me that despite the Nooks, Amazon Kindles and tablets, all I wanted to do was to buy my friends some good old-fashioned books. It seemed like a great idea at the time, but in truth I could not find a single bookstore nearby. And then I became quite sad. Just a few years ago, I was able to brush shoulders with so many more bookstores in the city: Borders at Columbus Circle; Oscar Wilde Bookshop; and perhaps the most crushing of all –the four-story Barnes & Noble right across Lincoln Center that was my home, hearth and haunt for so many years. A New York Times article from August 30, 2010, said that although people loved the chance to look at the books, browsing and reading became the primary focus for frequenters of the Barnes & Noble flagship at Lincoln Center, not so much the actual physical purchase of books. And I find myself guilty of this far too much these days. I rely on BCCLS, my state library system, and my local library to borrow free e-books. I visit one of the last remaining Barnes & Noble bookstores in the city (the one on 44th and 5th) to check out their titles and sip a latte in their café but not so much as to buy a minted copy of The Bee Keeper’s Daughter (I read it through my library system for free).
So I too am to blame for this dwindling in bookstores, and yet, in romantic fashion, I kind of wish that bookstores didn’t have to die. I’m so glad that my cousin, at any rate, continues to churn out books. Her second book, Sparks Off You is a poignant coming of age story, and her latest illustrated children’s book, Izzy & Poe is a charming book written after the birth of her first child, Illyria. Since I love dogs, it was not hard for me to find Izzy & Poe’s adventures charming, especially when you add the magical twist of a parrot teaching these dogs to fly. I have had the chance to meet these dogs in person, and it is impossible not to love their inquisitive nature, unbridled energy and diamond-like eyes.
The book is short (18 pages of text, and 44 pages in total with illustrations) but apart from the cute fantasy of a story, the illustrations by Lindsay Merrill are really what caught my eye throughout the entire read. From the warm chocolate brown tones of the horses to the creamy white, beige and black tones of Izzy and Poe themselves, every drawing spills off the page dressed in what seems like 3D Technicolor meets Pixar, and makes the $15.99 gift paperback price tag ($9.99 for standard) completely worth the value (if you see one of my favorite authors John Grogan’s Marley children’s series—also beautifully illustrated—you’ll see how why drawings are the lynchpin of a great young kid’s storybook). This is a charming anytime book: breakfast, lunch, nighttime—I had great fun reading it to Erika and she kept pointing to the flamboyant parrot and dogs and horses, which makes you realize the animalia are quite realistic and not completely fantastic. The story itself is short and ideal for kids’ short attention spans, and thankfully, nothing catastrophic or crazy happens to the dogs in their Wright Brothers-like quest for flight. Some people will say that I am biased (Felicelli is my cousin after all) but this is a completely objective review. If I saw this book in a bookstore and I knew nothing about it, I’d be compelled to pick up a copy. And if anything, to continue supporting of bookstores, and ‘old-fashioned’ books.