A Glass

Overview

Sometimes the most basic of objects can come to represent so much more. In the simple yet beautiful A Glass, acclaimed children's author and illustrator Etienne Delessert tells the story of his stepmother . and of the glass that came to symbolize her. Illustrated in the unmistakable style that has earned Delessert decades of renown, this is a story of wild mushrooms, garden snails, imaginary characters, and—above all—love. Readers will learn of one seemingly unbreakable glass and of the shatterproof love between ...

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Overview

Sometimes the most basic of objects can come to represent so much more. In the simple yet beautiful A Glass, acclaimed children's author and illustrator Etienne Delessert tells the story of his stepmother . and of the glass that came to symbolize her. Illustrated in the unmistakable style that has earned Delessert decades of renown, this is a story of wild mushrooms, garden snails, imaginary characters, and—above all—love. Readers will learn of one seemingly unbreakable glass and of the shatterproof love between a parent and a child.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 10/14/2013
Anyone familiar with Delessert's dark fantasies will be surprised and touched by this memoir of his stepmother, Eglantine Besson, which will be perhaps best appreciated by adult readers. Left motherless after his birth, Delessert found the woman his father hired to care for him to be an imaginative and patient companion: "We took snails for rides around the garden in my wooden carriage." Eventually, Besson and his father married. The title and cover image, a European-style drinking glass, refer to an object that went flying during one of only two arguments son and stepmother ever had: "I can't even remember the reason for her anger.... It did not break. We laughed, hugged... for the rest of her long life." Affectionate drawings of other small objects—a pin in the shape of a duck, a pile of books on a chair—are the repositories of Delessert's memories. A striking portrait shows Besson in old age, her silver hair gathered elegantly on her head, smoking one of her cherished miniature cigars. The ringing final sentence states what the rest of the book has made plain: "She was my real mom." Ages 7–up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
12/01/2013
Gr 3 Up—In this gorgeously illustrated picture book, Delessert shares the story of his relationship with Eglantine Besson, whom he refers to as his "real mom," the woman he met at age two and a half after his birth mother died. Using the simplest of everyday objects—a crystal drinking glass—as a metaphor for the unbreakable bond between him and his stepmother, Delessert leads readers down a road full of both joyous and bittersweet recollections of their life together. The author recalls an occasion when his mom threw the glass during an argument, yet it remained unbroken, saying later that the glass now sits on his desk, a forever reminder of her loving presence. Vivid memories of making strawberry jam; discovering snails in the garden; and a love of books and puzzles are depicted beautifully through both language and illustration. Delessert says that he and his mother "laughed, hugged…for the rest of her long life," saying, "all of my friends wanted a mom just like mine." With its sense of poignancy and heartfelt wisdom, as well as artful illustrations, this is a deeply symbolic and moving story of love, life, and the eternal bond between mother and son.—Natalie Braham, Denver Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
Delessert's loving portrait of Eglantine Besson, the woman who was, as he puts it, "my real mom." His sparely told reminiscence begins with a first meeting at 2 1/2, when she was hired to be a caregiver in the wake of his birth mother's death. Along with imparting her love of stories and books, he recalls a lifetime of laughter and hugs ("All my friends wanted a mom just like mine"). There were also occasional arguments, during one of which she threw a drinking glass that, unbroken, still sits on his drawing table filled with brushes and memories. Both that glass and his mother are drawn with softened edges and surfaces but a formidable, monumental solidity in the illustrations. The relationship as depicted seems to have been a loving but not intimate one; narrative claim notwithstanding, there is no hugging or laughter to be seen in the art. Aside from one craggy, introspective final portrait ("Eglantine lived to be 92. Until the end, she relished smoking little cigars"), the later pictures are all of objects or of figures significantly posed facing in different directions. Still, the author's warm feelings come across as deep and genuine. An unusual valentine, depicting with seeming simplicity a profound but not demonstrative attachment. (Picture book. 7-10, adult)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568462578
  • Publisher: Creative Company, The
  • Publication date: 8/13/2013
  • Pages: 1
  • Age range: 7 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Etienne Delessert is a Swiss-American artist and author whose picture books have earned numerous honors, including two Graphics Prizes from the Bologna Children's Book Fair. His work has been presented in retrospectives at the Louvre and at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Among his many children's book credits are I Hate to Read!, The Lonely Pine, Spartacus the Spider, and Moon Theater.

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