Sylvia's Bookshop
Sylvia's Bookshop
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Annotation: The story of the legendary Shakespeare & Company bookstore and its owner Sylvia Beach and the many great writers who came to meet, read and share ideas.
Catalog Number: #168387
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Wu, Katy,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-481-47245-3
ISBN 13: 978-1-481-47245-6
Dewey: 381
LCCN: 2018000435
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Shakespeare and Co. tells its own story in this charming book that introduces children to Paris, famous authors, and the American woman who brought them together in a bookshop that became "a magical spot." Readers follow Sylvia Beach as she finds the place, fills it with books she loves, and makes the shop a meeting place for the likes of Ernie, arriving back from Spain; Gertrude spouting, "A rose is a rose"; and Simone telling Man Ray it's a new world. Burleigh narrates in rhyme, which grabs the liveliness of the moment but occasionally becomes singsong. However, it's amazing how much information he gets into the text and in such a child-friendly way. Wu's digital artwork is clever and creative, catching Parisian light in both day- and nighttime scenes and capturing the frisson of a meeting place where ideas crash into each other. The back matter adds history and introduces the shop's patrons (identified by first names in the book). Most of all, this celebrates books and shows how the world widens with one in hand.
Horn Book
The famous Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Company narrates its own story and stresses the value of books in text unevenly rhymed but with offbeat appeal. The free-spirited American store proprietor, Sylvia Beach, stocks the building with "...books, from ceiling to floor!" Soon, early-twentieth-century literary luminaries (of whom brief biographies are appended) come for tea, readings, and lively conversation. Colorful digital illustrations capture the bookstore's bohemian spirit.
Kirkus Reviews
The historic Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company tells how an American woman transformed it into a gathering place for legendary writers and avid readers.Narrating in the first person, the shop tells readers how, in a time long ago, Sylvia Beach, "An American free spirit as fresh as the spring. / A lover of life—and poetry too— / who brought dreams to Paris and made them come true," packs the small building with books "from ceiling to floor" and placed old writers' portraits on the walls. Sylvia sits reading, surrounded by bright images from books, her "treasures." Her love of books and all they can do flows, matching the enthusiasm from visitors who come to the bookshop and stay "long into the nights." These esteemed guests, nicknamed in the text but introduced in the backmatter, include Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Janet Flanner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Simone de Beauvoir, and Man Ray. While one person of color (Josephine Baker) is discussed by the visitors and a few people of darker skin tones appear in the bookshop, none of them are introduced by name. The art is the highlight of this volume; Wu turns a text about books and writers into a veritable party on the page, with daytime and imaginary scenes in bright pastels and night scenes in blue tones highlighted with warm yellows representing the bookshop's cozy atmosphere. The rhyming text is a bit awkward in the opening but ultimately carries the story well. The ending hammers home the value of books. Both opening and closing seem off-key in a historical picture book, but that should not deter readers.Attractive illustrations enliven an offbeat but interesting story. (historical, biographical notes) (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3 A famous Parisian bookshop tells readers about the marvelous woman who brought it to life and the people that gathered there. When Sylvia Beach first sees her shop it is dusty, quiet, and dark, but she soon lines the shelves with piles and piles of books and brings it to life. Sylvia knows the power of stories and wants to build a place to share them with the world. She names her bookshop "Shakespeare and Company," and soon it becomes a meeting place for many well-known thinkers and writers who come to talk, debate, and share their ideas with each other. The rhyming text gives the story a magical, fairy-tale feel that's complemented well by the artist's Impressionist style. The scenes that cut away to fantastic worlds and imaginary landscapes pouring out from Sylvia's precious books are especially marvelous. Though some references might be too obscure for younger readers they are likely to catch the notice of adults. The text and illustrations work well to convey the excitement and fortuity felt by those who frequented Sylvia's bookshop. Endpapers include a "Hurrah for Books and Bookstores!" section, information about the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, and some facts about the writers mentioned in the story. VERDICT A delightful celebration of a brave and entrepreneurial young woman and her illustrious bookshop. Recommended for purchase for larger collections. Laken Hottle, Providence Community Library
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (9/1/18)
Horn Book (4/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (9/1/18)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3
Lexile: 540L

Meet the trailblazer and book lover who started the Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris, France, in this beautifully illustrated picture book that celebrates stories, reading, and the importance of sharing ideas.

“Books are my treasures—the best that I’ve got.”
Books are like rivers that flow through my head.
Books are like roads,” she just might have said.
“Roads that connect my old self to my new.
Unlocking our hearts to what’s noble and true.”

Told by the bookstore itself, Sylvia’s Bookshop tells the story of the legendary Shakespeare and Company, its owner Sylvia Beach, and the many great writers who gathered there to meet, read, and remind us that books are more than the words on the page.

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