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Forsythia & Me
     

Forsythia & Me

by Vincent X. Kirsch
 

Chester has always been amazed by his best friend, Forsythia. She can do the most incredible things, like tame ferocious animals at the zoo and play the piano while standing on her head. But one day when Forsythia gets sick, Chester discovers all the amazing things he can do.

Vincent X. Kirsch’s charming story and whimsical illustrations will warm

Overview

Chester has always been amazed by his best friend, Forsythia. She can do the most incredible things, like tame ferocious animals at the zoo and play the piano while standing on her head. But one day when Forsythia gets sick, Chester discovers all the amazing things he can do.

Vincent X. Kirsch’s charming story and whimsical illustrations will warm the heart of any reader who has ever admired a friend.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The narrator's best friend puts the word "accomplished" to shame. Forsythia can play a piano concerto backwards standing on her head and can paint a royal portrait "from memory with a blindfold on." Her adoring devotee, Chester, a boy dressed like Little Lord Fauntleroy, never grows envious or weary of Forsythia's talents: in every illustration in the first half of this book, he can be seen smiling and admiring, happy with life on the sidelines. But when Forsythia gets so sick that she "had to cancel her sold-out spectacular figure-skating show," Chester's efforts to make her feel better prove that he has talents of his own, albeit comparatively modest ones. Kirsch's (Two Little Boys from Toolittle Toys) spindly ink drawings and lavish detailing (Forsythia's bedroom curtains are splendiferous with individually drawn flowers), along with Forsythia's preposterous achievements, evince an appealingly batty aesthetic. But while readers will almost certainly know peers who are über-talented, they'll get little sense of why Forsythia appreciates the narrator as anything other than a one-man entourage, and it's tough to determine which character better fits the description of "too good to be true." Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
 “Kirsch's spindly ink drawings and lavish detailing (Forsythia's bedroom curtains are splendiferous with individually drawn flowers), along with Forsythia's preposterous achievements, evince an appealingly batty aesthetic.” —Publishers Weekly

“Kirsch’s sketchy black-and-white cartoons with splashes of color are reminiscent of those in Kay Thompson’s “Eloise” books. The illustrations, combined with the measured pace of the text, give the book an elegant air that is as timeless as its message.” —School Library Journal

"The young audience will welcome the wild, imaginative play and the story of loyal friendship, all captured in the winsome ink, watercolor, and pencil illustrations." —Booklist

 

 

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Young Chester tells us all the amazing and wonderful things his friend Forsythia can do. Among them: she can play a piano concerto upside down and backwards; she grows prize-winning roses even in winter; she performs in the circus and ballet; she paints portraits; all this as Chester watches and admires. But one day Forsythia isn't feeling well. So Chester bakes her a special cupcake, plays music for her, and picks her a bouquet of forsythia. He even invents and dances a special jig. When it's time for tea, Chester draws a picture of her. All this makes Forsythia feel well enough to do her figure-skating show just for her special friend. The friends are depicted in an outlined cartoon-y fashion touched with color, on single and double pages and in action vignettes. Yellow is the predominating color in Forsythia's clothes and costumes, even her bedroom walls and furniture. And yellow is the color of the trophies and prizes she has won that are arrayed across the end pages and title page. There are many other amusing details to observe in this humorous look at the different aspects of friendship. Be sure to look under the jacket to see the wild contrasting cover. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Chester is, quite understandably, in awe of his best friend, Forsythia; after all, she can bake incredible cakes, play piano upside down, grow prize-winning roses, perform in the circus and the ballet, train ferocious animals, and paint royal portraits. But when she gets sick, it's Chester who shows his worth as he bakes her a special cupcake; plays the accordion (making "only thirteen mistakes"); and cheers her up with bouquets, dancing, and drawing. Chester's talent clearly is in being a good friend. Kirsch's sketchy black-and-white cartoons with splashes of color are reminiscent of those in Kay Thompson's "Eloise" books (S & S). The illustrations, combined with the measured pace of the text, give the book an elegant air that is as timeless as its message.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Kirkus Reviews

In a worthy if idealistic portrait of True Friendship, narrator Chester delivers a paean to the skills of his omnicompetent buddy. Forsythia can do anything from baking a huge birthday cake and playing a piano concerto upside down to taming zoo animals and performing in both the circus and ballet. Comes a day when she feels so poorly that she has to cancel her "sold out spectacular figure-skating show," however, Chester springs into a series of parallel efforts—crafting a cupcake for her, playing "Chopsticks" on the accordion ("made only thirteen mistakes"), performing a basic pirate jig and so on. These demonstrations buoy her out of bed and onto the ice for a private performance in next to no time. Though Kirsch draws the broadly smiling pair as children, dressing Chester in short pants and Forsythia (the taller of the two) in bright stripes and heart-shaped pink shades, their only character traits are a total lack of ego or self-consciousness—in other words, symbolic figures operating on a moral level to which flesh-and-blood readers can only aspire.(Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374324384
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
01/04/2011
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Vincent X. Kirsch is the author and illustrator of Natalie & Naughtily and Two Little Boys From Toolittle Toys. He grew up in a very snowy place where the sight of forsythia in the spring amazed him. He now lives in New York City.

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