Textbook, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Beloved children's (and more) author Amy Krouse Rosenthal passed away recently of cancer, about six months after the hardcover release of this book. It's interactive stream of consciousness, with a built-in texting feature that links to a website, www.textbookamykr.com. I know I should have, but I couldn't bear to text the phone number, knowing Rosenthal has passed. Is someone still monitoring it? Are stories and pictures and rainbows still added to the website?

The book can be read in a quick hour; it's mostly empty space with a little bit of text per page and the occasional picture. Anecdotes, challenges, memories - each new page brings something unexpected. This is the author's attempt to universalize our humanity, to point to an uncomfortable or subconscious event and say, "hey, I do this too, I'm normal, you're normal, we're all totally weird and totally normal in being weird." It's sweet, but not saccharine, relate-able yet extraordinary in its ability to disarm. It makes one wonder why we always tend to lose too soon talents such as this; but then, Rosenthal would probably protest, maybe it's just because we know their names. We lose people all the time, famous or not, and there is no greater or lesser tragedy in any of these deaths. Goodbye, Amy.


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