Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Book Review: Chicago Treasure

I had the recent opportunity to read Chicago Treasure by Larry Broutman, Rich Green, and John Rabias; and thought parents here may be interested.

Chicago Treasure is a picture book depicting a diversity of real life children, including children of color, children who are blind, children with different abilities. The book is filled with photos depicting children living out their wildest fantasies by placing their images into nursery rhymes, fairy tales, fine arts paintings, and some of Chicago's most iconic settings.

What brought a tear to my eye were the photos of the children, who otherwise struggle throughout daily life, living actively and flying freely in ways they could never and may never be able to do. The photos changed my perspectives of them and children with different abilities in general: if we don't see limits, maybe they stretch further our, and maybe even there are no limits.

The photos made me wonder about my own child with the "invisible" difference of mental illness. Do I place limits on him in my mind? I could picture him as some of those children, and it felt so light and open. It made me wonder, if I were being completely honest with myself, how could I picture him without limitations.

While the book touched my heartstrings as a mother, it's designed with a child audience in mind. As the pictures portray Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz or Little Orphan Annie mopping the floor or Rub-a-Dub-Dub Three Men in a Tub, there are story summaries and even riffs off the original rhymes that helps the pictures come alive. A beautiful book for bedtime.

What I enjoyed most were the pictures of children meshed into fine art. The photographs beautifully enmesh into the art, evidenced by one of my most favorite mash-ups from the book:

The creative team for the book also did a fantastic job realizing a child's fantasy of playing with wild animals in Chicago waterways.

With holidays just around the corner, this would be a sweet present for a child with an active imagination or young children just learning their nursery rhymes and fairy tales. What a way to develop a child's love of story and seeding their young minds with the idea that their limits are only as far as they choose.