Saturday, July 28, 2012

Picture Book Saturday (26)

No Bears
By Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Leila Rudge
Published 2011 by Walker Books
Just so you know, there are no bears in this story because Ruby is in charge and she does not like books with bears in them. Of course, anyone looking at the cover of this cute and funny book knows that Ruby just might be mistaken. This is a very fun book with many layers and references for kids to explore. They will love Ruby's attitude and enjoy identifying their favorite fairy tales throughout the story. Sweet illustrations and a very happy ending.

Bawk and Roll
By Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Dan Santat
Published 2012 by Sterling Children's Books
You may have noticed that I have some favorite authors and illustrators - Santat has catapulted up my list since my first exposure to him - I just adore his style! This is a sequel to Chicken Dance, the tale of Elvis Poultry and his back-up chicks, Marge and Lola. I think I've read the first one, but it doesn't really matter - this is a fun tale of music and stage fright and chickens and the true meaning of friendship. The illustrations are fun and I think kids will get a laugh out of this.

The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas
By Tony Wilson, illustrated by Sue deGennaro
Published 2009 by Scholastic
This is a very fun retelling of "The Princess and the Pea" that I think kids will enjoy comparing to the original version. Prince Henrik needs to find a bride; his brother tells him he can discover a true princess if she's sensitive enough to sense a pea under a pile of mattresses. But after meeting his brother's wife, Henrik decides that she might be a little too sensitive. So he comes up with his own plan for finding the perfect wife for him. Very fun and a sweet story of finding your perfect match with gentle illustrations, I think this would be appreciated by a wide variety of readers.

By Mies van Hout
Published 2012 by Lemniscaat USA
A deceptively simple concept book, we learn about different emotions through a variety of fish. I was surprised by how much I liked this one - I generally find myself unimpressed with concept books (let's be honest, most of them are pretty much the same). But this one is very striking, both in its choice of emotions and its illustrations. Some of the different emotions may be too subtle for children to see the difference but this is a great book to try to teach those subtleties, as well as some synonyms. This is an excellent addition to concept books and I think it could even work in a storytime.

Chloe and the Lion
By Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex
Published 2012 by Hyperion
Okay, so probably my one true children's book author/illustrator love is Adam Rex - he had me at Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and my adoration for him has just deepened (seriously, the amount of squealing and shouting that occurred when he tweeted me for the first time was probably completely absurd). I was absolutely dying to read this new picture book from him and collaborator Barnett - it's a picture book that grows out of the idea that the author and illustrator of the book don't agree on where the book should be going and the characters who are trapped in the middle. I'm happy to report that this book is an absolute delight - I actually wanted to run out and buy my own copy just so I could treasure it always. I laughed out loud a number of times and found the whole thing ridiculously charming. Now, if I ever meet Mr. Rex in real life, I'm sure I won't have anything clever or even intelligible to say, but I do adore his illustrations. This has made me really want to read the Brixton Brothers series, written by Barnett and illustrated by Rex. Completely in love with this title.

The Word Collector
By Sonja Wimmer
Published 2012 by Cuento de Luz
This is a good book for print awareness, as the words that Luna collects are in a variety of fonts and float all over the pages. However, this is a terrible book for younger readers as it's actually quite difficult to read the story, due to those words floating all over the pages. I don't really have much to say about this book otherwise - it's a simple story of Luna collecting her words and then the words running out, so she must release them all, which of course leads to more and more people discovering them. There are some beautiful words in this book, but I think it's too difficult to read to be thoroughly enjoyed.

East Dragon, West Dragon
By Robyn Eversole, illustrated by Scott Campbell
Published 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
I picked this one up and put it down before I actually read it all the way through (it's amazing that I would say that about a picture book; they usually take, at most, 15 minutes to read) - something about it just didn't appeal to me. I must admit that my initial feeling was correct - this book was not particularly interesting. Kids will pick it up simply because it's about dragons, but I think they might be disappointed. It does provide a nice lesson in compare and contrast, as well as teaching how legends are different in different parts of the world, but I don't think it will be what kids are expecting to find when they pick it up.

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda
By Alicia Potter, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Published 2012 by Random House Children's Books
I'm sorry, y'all are probably sick of reading my reviews of non-fiction picture books but I just can't resist them. And this one is about PANDAS, perhaps the most adorable yet ultimately dangerous creature that exists (though I welcome challenges to this notion). This tells the story of Ruth Harkness, who takes up the quest of bringing a live panda to the United States after her husband dies. This book is full of information - did you know that even people in China thought pandas were just mythical creatures for a very long time? It's pretty amazing to read about all that Mrs. Harkness did to find the panda, especially since she was doing it in the 1930s. And I am convinced that Sweet can adapt her style to perfectly suit a story on any topic in the world - I'm amazed that this is the same illustrator as Balloons Over Broadway. Sweet has a true talent and this is a beautiful story that will surely appeal to many children - pandas continue to fascinate and confound us to this day.

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