If you found a book that delighted not only you but your kids, you know that book is a keeper. It's the kind of book that they want you to read over and over again until they head to bed, forsaking all other books. It's that book that you grab before bedtime to spend quality bonding over a favorite story; that one that makes you laugh every time that never gets old.
A book like this should be simple and sweet with likeable characters and artwork that only enhances the story. This is the book that I would read to my children and it is called Sometimes You Need A Jellyfish by Christopher Routly. It is a true testament to his job as a stay at home dad, that Routly understands his audience and garnered inspiration from his own sons who appear in the book as tigers.
The story is about two brothers packing and getting ready to visit their grandparents. Both boys are trying to decide what to bring when the older brother reveals what he has packed, a jellyfish! The prose in the book flows as it should, not clunking itself into the night as you travel through the book.
The rhymes are delightful and surprising as Chris challenges your kids to learn words that will only increase their vocabulary. He doesn't dumb it down like many books do, and that drew me in because I don't oversimplify things for for my children. Your kid is sure to impress the other kids on the playground when they are dropping big vocab words.
Here's my favorite part as an artist. The illustrations. I'll be honest with you. When I go to the library and start picking out books for the kids, if your illustrations don't wow me, it's going right back on the shelf. Maybe that is unfair to those books that have a great story but when it comes to a picture book, that is the quality I am looking for in a successful book. Routly will not disappoint when it comes to his bright and fun illustrations. As an artist and illustrator, Chris knows what the kids like and it shows.
His characters are the type that you would see in a children's cartoon and you can imagine the world in which they live in pretty easily. He has been making loveable characters since his Now I Eat My ABCs and The Animalphabet but debuts his Jellyfish character after a sketch session with his son who requested he draw a jellyfish because "Dada, sometimes you need a jellyfish!" Watch the video below to hear from Chris how it all started.
I've become a backer in Routly's Kickstarter campaign for Sometimes You Need A Jellyfish because I not only believe in the book but don't want to miss out in the ensuing Jellyfish craze that is sure to follow. This year my daughter (6) asked me to come up with a jellyfish costume for Halloween because well, jellyfish are cool especially when they are the cartoon variety and can't sting you.