Chris Raschka’s The Blue Table

h1 November 24th, 2020 by jules

(Click spread to enlarge)


With minimal text (the entire book is comprised of two sentences), a consistent aerial perspective, and watercolor and cut-paper collage illustrations in warm yellows and blues, author-illustrator Chris Raschka brings readers a story of friends and family coming together to give thanks. The Blue Table (Greenwillow, October 2020) brings us a small family at the table. Later, another family joins. We see their hands only, as they gather — “thankful … around the blue table.”

Raschka paces the book well, adding layer upon layer of meaning and nuance to the scene he sets up with the blue table. First, it’s breakfast and merely a child and a parent. We see a cup of milk and a mug of coffee. “Another parent” joins. The table becomes more (delightfully) cluttered when “good things from garden, the store, and the farm” are placed upon the table, and more people gather. With each page turn, the table is transformed by what is upon it and who gathers around it. These are illustrations to pore over; look closely at how times passes, based on what we see on the table and based on the washes of color around the table.

The review from the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books calls this one a “gentle … treatment of holiday gatherings.” And, yes, we see a turkey on the table. But this could be a family gathering any day, the focal point of the book being family, community, and gratitude.

Here are some more spreads so that the art can do the talking. (The text is not included in these spreads, but I provide it in the captions below each one.)


“… and another parent”
(Click spread, which is sans text, to enlarge)


“… get going.”
(Click spread, which is sans text, to enlarge)


“… apples in a pie …”
(Click spread, which is sans text, to enlarge)


“… and one more family”
(Click spread, which is sans text, to enlarge)


“… thankful …”
(Click spread, which is sans text, to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


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THE BLUE TABLE. Copyright © 2020 by Chris Raschka. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, New York.

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