We are heading into the home stretch on this year’s A to Z April Blog Challenge. I feel like I’ve really been traveling as I’ve visited many places via books. I’ve met other bloggers and am enjoying the sense of camaraderie with other challenge participants. Today I could have booked it to Tanzania, Turkey, or Trinidad but a fellow writer/blogger, Trine Grillo, suggested Thailand where one of her favorite books is set.
The Umbrella Queen
by Shirin Bridges (Author) and Taeeun Yoo (Illustrator)
Harper Collins Publishers
picture book ages 4-8
Noot is a little girl who lives in the mountains of Thailand with her family. The people of the village make umbrellas and the women and girls paint them. Each year, the painter of the most beautiful umbrella is honored by becoming the Umbrella Queen in the New Year’s parade.
Noot longs to be an umbrella painter and is finally old enough to learn. She paints the traditional butterflies and flowers but then, her imagination takes over and she paints pictures of elephants. Her family says this is not right and she must paint in the traditional style because this is how they make their living. Noot follows directions but also makes her own tiny umbrellas which she paints in own her unique style. This year, the king is invited to choose the best umbrella. When he comes to the village, all the umbrellas are displayed in front of each painter’s home. Noot’s mother is thrilled when he stops in front of their home and compliments her umbrellas. Then, he sees and asks about the small umbrellas lined up inside the window. Noor admits that she made them and when asked why she didn’t paint butterflies or flowers she simply replies, “because I like elephants.” The king chooses Noot as the Umbrella Queen because “she paints from the heart.”
I love the book’s colorful illustrations showing the village and the umbrella makers in Thailand. This is a lovely book that celebrates creativity. The process of umbrella making is very interesting as well as the New Year’s tradition of the Umbrella Parade.
Here is an interesting article about umbrellas made in Thailand.
As part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge I have been visiting the blogs of other participants. Some bloggers identified categories for their blogging themes. Here are a few that feature animals that you may enjoy: