Our Table by Peter H. Reynolds

Our Table

Peter H. Reynolds, Author and Illustrator

Orchard Books, Fiction, Nov. 2, 2021

Suitable for ages: 4-8

Themes: Table, Memories, Family, Togetherness, Technical devices, Creativity, Fable 

Opening: “Violet fondly remember the table.”

Synopsis:

Violet reminisces about the many meals that she shares around the table with her family. She remembers the time they spend setting the table, preparing meals and sharing their days. Gathering with her family was a joyful part of Violet’s day.

Things begin to change and her father is planted in an over-sized chair in front of his big screen. Her mother sits on the stairway texting friends. And her brother is in his room playing games with friends. Her family is not communicating with each other. Violet is lonely as she sits at the table by herself. 

One day Violet notices that the table looks smaller. Everyday she checks the table and it continues to shrink and NO ONE in her family seems to notices because they are involved with their technical devices. Then one day “poof” the table is gone. Violet is courageous and comes up with a creative plan (a big idea) to help her family connect with one another again. She begins by climbing onto her father’s lap and asks if they can watch a special program together… (No Spoilers beyond this point.)

Why I love this book:

Our Table is a modern fable that is timeless for children and adults. It is a heartfelt, uplifting and important message for all families to balance their time connecting with each other and setting limits on their use of technical devices.  

Reynolds is a master at using spare text with his emotive illustrations that really show the story. At the beginning of the story when Violet remembers her good memories of family gatherings around the table, the illustrations are full color. When her family begins to drift, the watercolor illustrations are painted in shades or purple, showing the depth of Violet’s despair. But, Reynolds writes hopeful stories, so the illustrations return to joyous color at the end.  Our Table is an important story about human connections. With the holidays quickly approaching it offers an opportunity to be grateful. I love the quote on the back cover of the book: Remember the gift of time shared together.

Resources: Talk about fun memories you share at your table. I remember that the table in my home was the center for all family meals and talking about our day. There was always after-school treats waiting on the table. We did homework, played board and card games, did artwork projects, made homemade pinatas, gingerbread houses, baked Christmas cookies, and made gratitude trees. What are some of the memories you have about your table? 

Peter H. Reynolds is the author and illustrator of many books for children, parents, and educators alike, including The Dot, Ish, the New York Times bestseller The Word Collector and The Peace Train. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, where he owns a bookshop, the Blue Bunny. Learn more about Reynolds at his website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
 
*Reviewed from a purchased copy.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

22 thoughts on “Our Table by Peter H. Reynolds

  1. Peter Reynolds writes such wonderful, timely books for children. I recall the big farm kitchen table where we always ate our meals and chatted away, often more than one of us talking at once. It is my fondest memory. We still eat our meals at a table, even though it is just hubby and me for the most part. When my grandson would stay with us in the summer, he loved it as they didn’t eat at the table at his home. I recall him looking across at my husband and saying, “How was your day, Grandpa?” Then we all talked about our day. He just glowed with happiness.

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  2. I still remember the time I got to sit at the ‘adults’ table for the first time. The table is where memories are made. Thanks for sharing this book. It’s an important one for our current ‘Always on” generation.

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    • Yes, it is a relevant story for on “always on” generation. Even older adults have fallen into that pattern. Wow, your memory must go way back. I remember sitting on a stool at the table eating a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. I remember looking out a side window. But I was the eldest. We all have our wonderful memories.

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  3. So moving and beautiful. And I think this is a lovely one for this time of year when families gather around the Thanksgiving table.

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  4. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book, and your review makes me want to read it even more. And what a perfect time, as families begin to gather again, to post this (I agree, too, that this pairs well with Home is a Window).

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  5. Sounds like a great book. I think I have read almost all of his books and I have loved them all. I just saw this one around and was curious about the story. Now I know I have to read it. Sitting around the table talking and eating was a big part of my childhood. 🙂

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