First there was a Spoon, then Chopsticks, and now Straw joins the trio of picture books featuring eating implements. Amy Krause Rosenthal’s fertile imagination gives Straw a distinctive personality and character trait. That’s right. Straw is his name so a capital letter is in order.
Here’s the thing: Straw has a compulsion to be first. He measures his consumption in relationship to the nearby straws, constantly comparing himself to others. With help from friends, he learns to slow down and savor the moment.
The text is chock full is delightful word play. "I think what you're feeling is called awe, Straw." Gentle message. Charming characters. It's better than a thick milkshake with whipped cream and cherry on top.
Scott Magoon's illustrations capture the anxiety of wanting to be first. He injects whimsy into the narrative, giving the straws expressive faces and body posture. Who knew a paper drinking straw could be so dramatic?
Straw’s tubular shape is highlighted with imaginative page design and orientation, inviting readers to turn the book and look at things in a new way,
There are not-so-subtle homages to the author scattered throughout. A mug of AKR root beer, a glass of lemonade with a cheery sunshine logo, even her signature yellow umbrella makes an appearance.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal liked to make things: books, films, salads, something out of nothing, and wishes. This list is paraphrased from the foundation website.
In this spirit of making, I tried making things with drinking straws. Armed with a handful of plastic straws and my trusty glue gun, I got to work. Here are the results: A cardboard box maze, ready for a marble race. Mini rockets that launch with a puff of air. A tiny easel that holds a name card. Try having a marble maze relay or a rocket launch competition. Finish with a milkshake. Sip slowly.