It's already time to start reading the new Bluebonnet list. The winner for 2012-2013 will be voted on shortly and kids will start snatching up the books for next year. I'm excited about this list, partially because there are a number of titles I've already read: Giants Beware!, The One and Only Ivan, Laugh with the Moon, Fairest of All, Wonder, and Balloons Over Broadway. That still leaves me with 14 titles to read before they are never on the shelves at the library, so when the new copies started to arrive on our new book cart, I snatched the opportunity to read some of the shorter ones while I could.
By Jason Chin
Published 2011 by Roaring Brook Press
Right from the cover you can tell that this isn't going to be a typical picture book or a typical non-fiction book. Instead, this brilliantly combines the two to create something new and dynamic and completely fascinating. While visiting the library, a girl discovers a very unusual book, one that will take her into the world of coral reefs and teach her amazing things about these unique ecosystems. This book maintains a story while also relating a significant amount of information and joining it all with beautiful illustrations. I think kids will really enjoy this one.
Looking at Lincoln
By Maira Kalman
Published 2012 by Nancy Paulsen Books
A coincidental encounter with a Lincoln look-alike inspires our young narrator to embark on a fact-finding mission about our sixteenth President. This is an interesting new combination of picture book and biography - it's pretty much a straight narrative account of Abraham Lincoln's life, but with the addition of a child narrator. Lincoln is one of the first major historical figures that children will hear about and rightfully so. This new book is a welcome addition to the already large body of literature covering his life. It's peppered with the kind of little-known facts that young readers love to discover and filled with a striking visual style.
Jangles: A Big Fish Story
By David Shannon
Published 2012 by Blue Sky Press
A boy fishing alone encounters the biggest trout he's ever seen and is shocked when the fish takes him on an underwater adventure. I had zero interest in reading this book prior to its naming to the Bluebonnet list. Maybe I'm alone in this, but I don't particularly enjoy David Shannon's books all that much. They've never appealed to me and I've only picked up a couple to read as a result. I'm glad I read this one because, while I still didn't completely love the story or the illustration style, the colors of the book and what the story teaches readers are worth discovering. I liked what this book has to say about storytelling and embellishment, and I enjoyed the palette Shannon chose for his illustrations. I'm not sure how this will grab readers only familiar with Shannon's David books, but we'll soon see.
That's it for 2013-2014 Bluebonnets this time. Look for more reviews of other titles as the year progresses.