Dinner with the Highbrows

Magic happens when a gifted children’s book illustrator buys in to an author’s rollicking story. Dinner with the Highbrows by Kimberly Willis Holt and illustrated by Kyrsten Booker is just such an enchanting picture book.

On his first invitation to dinner at a friend’s house, Bernard gets ready for the event with his mother as his trainer. Assuming that the Highbrows must have excellent manners since they live in such a fine house, Bernard’s mom coaches and Bernard practices all the good manners they can recall. The rollicking starts when the Highbrows turn out drastically different from their expectations. The listening child and the reading adult are both likely to get the giggles at Kimberly’s story.

Completing the magic from cover to cover, Krysten Booker’s art begins with the book jacket and includes the end papers. Kids will linger on each page to be sure they don’t miss an antic or an eye-roll by one of the Highbrows.

When real magic happens, there’s always something unseen in the background. Don’t tell the kids, but the book has most of the dinner rules they’ll ever need to know and a vivid picture of the mayhem that comes when they are not followed.

I have a copy of the book for two young grandsons who are just the right age for it. I will not send it. I’ll wait until I make a trip to see them. I’m not giving up the privilege of hearing the first giggles to their parents. I’m saving that for myself when I read it to them for the first time.