Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal | Book Review
The Children’s Book Review | January 15, 2017
Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Age Range: 16+
Paperback: 317 pages
Publisher: Dutton (2016)
What to Expect: Quirkiness, Interactive Social Media Component, Life Philosophies, Humor
At first view, I really didn’t know what to make of Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Was it really a “textbook”? Was it really a “children’s book”? Was it really a book at all? I am still not sure I know the answers to these questions, but I am certain that reading this quirky collection of mis-fitted observations, questions, essays, statements, dialogues, text-messages, and images was both inspiring and in some way therapeutic.
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal could be described as a memoir, or perhaps a lifestyle guide. Written with humor and wisdom, it allows readers an insightful glimpse into not only the author’s life but also her thoughts, philosophies, experiences, and personality. Composed of what may seem at first to be disconnected elements, the different parts of this “textbook” all in fact work together to instill a sense of one-ness in the reader, forging connections and suggesting that we are all the same, deep down, and that it will all be ok.
There is no plot to describe in this book, but a few elements are worth sharing in detail. In a humorous stab at the standardized testing which determines so much of modern life, Rosenthal begins this collection with a pre-test, asking questions such as “chairs are great because” (p. 11), and offering multiple-choice answers such as “some swivel, and that’s fun” or “they are quiet” (p.11). Few of the answers are mutually exclusive, and most are laughable, inviting the reader to laugh at the absurdity of the genre. Equally worth describing is the interactive element of the book. Readers are invited at intervals to partake in social media activities, actively fostering participation in a wider global community. For example, on p. 153, readers are invited to participate in the “rainbow experiment”, by snapping and sharing a rainbow if they can see one right at that moment. “Rainbow posts will remain live for one day. So at any given moment, you will be able to see where in the world there are rainbows” (p. 153). Not only is this a beautiful idea, but the spontaneity of the activity perfectly characterizes this book: it is a constant encouragement to live in the moment, and in the world, connecting with those around you, and finding the joy in living now.
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal is unconventional, crazy, and lovely. It beats any self-motivational or meditative text I have before encountered. I highly recommend it – get one for yourself, and one for someone you love.
About Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Amy Krouse Rosenthal writes for both adults and children. Her alphabetically structured memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life was named one of the top ten of the decade. She has written more than thirty children’s picture books, including Little Pea, Spoon, Exclamation Mark, Duck! Rabbit!, Uni the Unicorn, and I Wish You More. A New York Times review declared that her children’s books “radiate fun the way tulips radiate spring: they are elegant and spirit-lifting.” Amy has been a regular contributor to YouTube (The Beckoning of Lovely, The Money Tree), public radio, and TED (7 Notes on Life). She lives in Chicago.
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Humor, and Young Adult. You may also enjoy this interview: Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal | Pop Quiz With The Author