The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster (Author), Chris Raschka (Illustrator)

PreS-Gr. 2. Two well-known names come together in a book that speaks to the real lives of children and their experiences. The young narrator visits her grandparents, Nanna and Poppy, in their big house. They explore Nanna's garden, and Poppy plays his harmonica. The narrator rides her bike and takes a nap, "and nothing happens till I get up." Looking out the picture window, the "hello, goodbye window," she sees the pizza guy, and, more fancifully, a dinosaur. She also spots her parents coming to pick her up. The curly-haired girl is happy to see them, but sad because it means the end of the visit. The window imagery is less important than the title would make it seem. More intrinsic is Juster's honest portrayal of a child's perceptions (a striped cat in the yard is a tiger) and emotions (being happy and sad at the same time "just happens that way sometimes"). Raschka's swirling lines, swaths, and dabs of fruity colors seem especially vibrant, particularly in the double-page spreads, which have ample room to capture both the tender moments between members of the interracial family and the exuberance of spending time in the pulsating outdoors, all flowers, grass, and sky. Ilene Cooper Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Classroom Implications: This book speaks to the children's experience of play and family. A great book to introduce students to a family-themed study, this text embraces diversity as it paints the image of a family. This text also works well to describe inter-generational relationships. The window image creates a teachable moment around symbols and symbolism in literature.

Skills and Strategies
  • Character relationships
  • Symbolism

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