Author: Reynolds, Peter H.
Violet longs for the time when her family was connected: before life, distractions, and technology pulled them all away from each other. They used to gather at the table, with food and love, to make memories, share their lives, and revel in time spent together. Can Violet remind her family of the warmth of time spent together and gather around the table once more?
Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/01/21)
School Library Journal (10/01/21)
Booklist (+) (10/01/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/01/2021 *Starred Review* A girl named Violet remembers when her family would gather around the table to prepare food and share meals full of laughter and celebration. But nowadays, she eats at the table alone, while her father watches “a big screen,” her mother texts people on her phone, and her brother plays video games. Sad and lonely, she is startled to notice that, day by day, the table is shrinking! When it fits in her hand and suddenly vanishes, she goes into action, asking her family members for help. Together, they build a table that is “stronger, more beautiful than ever.” And happily, the good times return. You can read this picture book as a parable for our times, when electronic devices that supposedly connect people actually isolate them. Or you can simply admire Violet for recognizing a problem, taking charge, and solving it. Either way, many children will relate to her longing for family togetherness. Reynolds tells the story simply and illustrates it expressively. The scenes depicting the child’s isolation are drawn in black lines with moody purple-gray washes on white backgrounds, but when Violet reminisces about the past happiness and later, when the family comes together again, colorful washes brighten the pages. A reminder of what really matters. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2021 K-Gr 3—Violet, a small Black girl with natural curls, reminisces about a table and how her family used it. There was the gathering of food stuffs brought to the table, and then the preparations, from setting the table to cooking meals and lighting candles, and then then the meal itself. These memories appear in full color, while scenes of Violet's present state, mourning those moments, are colored purple. She often finds herself at the table alone, for her family members have "new" places to be. The melancholy of this household grows worse: the brother plays games on his device, with friends Violet cannot see, the mother is perched in a stairwell, texting silently over her phone, and Violet's father is just as immersed in watching a gigantic TV. The table grows literally smaller, till it belongs more in a doll's house than a dining room. Then it vanishes. How Violet involves her family in real life, rallying them one by one, is a study in collaboration, ingenuity, practical measures, and how to sow the seeds of communion. VERDICT Simple, sweet, charming, and uplifting, this book takes an understated rebuke of screen time and transforms it into a child-sized lesson of love.—Kimberly Olson Fakih, School Library Journal - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.