Author/ illustrator Kevin Luthardt takes a familiar theme in children's literature -- our differences don't matter as much as what we have in common -- and creates a story with a twist in "When Edgar Met Cecil."
It's the story of Edgar, whose family is moving to a new place (another planet). Edgar is very reluctant to leave his best friend, but they move anyway. The new town is quite different from his old home. The people look different, dress differently, eat different foods and listen to different music.
When Edgar starts school, he doesn't have any friends. And there's a big weird guy (with one eye) who keeps looking at him and following him. Edgar chooses to play alone at recess but the weird guy comes over. After a scary moment, they start playing together. And Edgar realizes that he has a friend.
Luthardt cleverly uses many devices to illustrate how strange and different the new planet is. The palettes he uses for each planet are different. Edgar's original home is colored in calming, quiet colors of pale blue and pastels. Illustrations at the new school are filled with riotous, bright, bold, energetic colors that almost jump off the page. To illustrate the differences in Edgar's old friends and new ones, Luthardt makes Edgar (and those on the original planet) all robots while Edgar's new friend and the others on the new planet are monsters.
It's a theme that can't be stressed enough. We may look different, we may dress differently, we may speak different languages, but underneath, we are all much the same. We have the same desires and needs.
And Edgar just wants a friend.
Please note, this review is based on the final hardcover picture book provided by Peachtree Publishers for review purposes.
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