Good food and good times to be had around the blue table. Raschka tells a simple story about the joy of family mealtimes and enjoying food with friends at a special time of the year.
The book begins at breakfast time where the arrival of family members is signified by objects. A glass of milk shows the arrival of a child, a cup of coffee for a parent, a newspaper and another hot drink indicate author adult. Further objects appear on the breakfast table - pastries, a book, a teapot, a sheet of paper with crayons. Breakfast is eaten and enjoyed and eventually the table is cleared and everyone must “get going.” The table is then filled again with foods from the garden, the store and the farm. Apples are turned into a pie, flowers are trimmed for a vase. All in preparation for a celebration meal with another family.
It is a real delight of a picture book that celebrates family mealtimes. The story is told with sparse text, the entire book features two sentences with many pages featuring only one or two words. Characters are represented by the the things on the table and it is these things on the table that invite the reader in to look closer as the illustrations tell their own story. The reader witnesses all of the action from an aerial viewpoint, looking down on the table and this provides lots of opportunity for careful observation. Chris Raschka uses the objects on the table to show the passing of time. There is the obvious coming and going of objects but more subtle detail sees glasses, mugs and plates getting emptier, newspapers and books being opened and a blank page becoming a scene of colour. It is this blank page that connects the two meals together as the drawing done at breakfast time turns into place-cards for the later meal.
The illustrations are bright and vibrant and convey fun and happy times. In the second meal, forearms and hands can be seen around the dinner table and show people of different ethnicities.
Recommended for 2+.