Splendid New Children’s Book

Violet and Winston
by Sonya Sones and Bennett Tramer
illustrated by Chris Raschka
Dial Books for Young Readers

By Ava Tramer

Violet and Winston represents the first display of the combined talents of teen novelist Sonya Sones and television writer Bennett Tramer.  Caldecott Medal winner Chris Raschka filled the book with fanciful illustrations, setting a whimsical stage for the three stories about Violet the confident swan and Winston the bumbling duck.

Sones and Tramer extracted humorous anecdotes from their 25-year-marriage as a rough basis for the tales, which manage to be amusing and touching at the same time.  In “The Noisy Eater,” Violet hilariously struggles with Winston’s manners, foiled at every attempt to be sensitive to her friend.  In “The Missing Glasses,” Violet leads Winston on a search adventure all over town, showing how Violet and Winston’s personalities make them the perfect pair of friends.  “The Garage Sale” shows Violet’s more sentimental side, and sweetly emphasizes the strong bond between these two birds.

But why should you trust my opinion about Violet and Winston?  My last name bears a suspicious resemblance to the last name of one of the authors, and, at 22 years old, I hardly fall into the age range of the target audience (3 to 8 years old).  Why don’t you trust the reactions of three young children instead?  Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to read Violet and Winston to a seven-year-old girl, a four-year-old boy, and a six-month-old girl.  The seven-year-old laughed all the way through the book and the four-year-old kept pointing out funny and interesting details in the illustrations.  Even the six-month-old was clearly a fan of the book: she joyously tried to eat it, cover and all.

Barnes and Noble on the Third Street Promenade has copies of Violet and Winston signed by the authors.  Visit sonyasones.com for more information.

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