Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Home by Carson Ellis

In this tribute to homes, Carson Ellis writes about the many types there are: wigwams, boats, lairs, palaces and shoes, to name a few. The illustrations are whimsical and folksy: showing knights riding seahorses, a Norse god structure, an alien's home on the moon etc. These fanciful depictions open a child's mind to all the real and imagined homes there could be. At the end she shows herself (the artist) working at home, with a lot of the items depicted in the book. A final question to the reader: "Where is your home? Where are you?"

Saturday, January 30, 2016

In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van

This is a quiet book about a fisherman and his family in Vietnam. The fisherman longs for home as the storm surges and the family waits in their village for his return. The writing is sparse, but uses a "nesting" technique in which the reader starts in a larger scene, scopes downward to a small scene and then scopes out again. In this case, the book travels from the sea to the family house and the mother cooking. While the baby sleeps, the family dog is shown looking through a hole in the floor where a cricket is painting a scene of the fisherman, battling the stormy sea. The reader then telescopes out to the sea again where the fisherman gazes at his family's photo and finally returns to the village. The illustrations are very soft, detailed and lovely. Overall, a good book that introduces children to other cultures, and the universal emotion of family longing.

Friday, December 18, 2015

A Lucky Author Has A Dog by Mary Lyn Ray

This book introduces kids to a day in the life of a picture book author from the viewpoint of her dog. He thinks: where is she going, what is she doing and when will she ever take me on a walk? The dog is her helper, muse and companion. Without the dog you suspect that the author wouldn't get out to find new ideas, or get fresh air and exercise. At the end of the book, the author visits a classroom and leaves the dog alone most of the day. She comes home to take him on a walk. "The author rubs two happy ears. A tail wags. A lucky dog has an author. And a lucky author has a dog."

Friday, December 11, 2015

Space Dog by Mini Grey

"Can sworn enemies work together to save the Spooniverse?" As the subtitle implies, Space dog needs his enemies Astrocat and Mousetronaut to help the Cereal People, plug up Ketchup Volcanoes and defeat the Cheese Ants.
From the creator of Traction Man and Turbo Dog comes an intergalactic adventure complete with funny exclamations: "Thundering Milkswamps!" and "Shivering Stilton!" Not to mention great life form names: "Cruets of West Cutlery" and "Fruitons of Crumble Major."
The illustrations are full of action and detail that keep the book moving along in hilarious fashion.
Any children interested in space and goofiness will appreciate this romp through the Spooniverse.

Your Alien by Tammi Sauer

Something wonderful comes his way when a boy notices an alien crashes in his yard.  Illustrator Goro Fujita's adorable alien is every space-obsessed child's wish: cute, cuddly and playful. The boy takes him throughout his day: impressing friends at school, playing outside at home and bathing before bed. But even alien's need their parents at night, so the boy turns on all the lights to signal to alien's parents. They come pick him up and the boy waves sadly to his friend. At the end another wonderful something comes his way: a hug from his parents.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins

This book is part of the Toys series (Toys Go Out, Toy Dance Party and Toys Come Home) featuring a stuffed buffalo, a plush stingray and a plastic ball. With their owner, Little Girl, away for winter vacation the toys are tempted to go out to experience the snow. Amazingly, all three toys make it to the outside and have a great time experiencing wintertime fun. Each animal approaches the snow in it's own way. Buffalo asks questions, StingRay is poetic and Plastic is very pragmatic. Until the very end when Plastic declares himself to be a "strawberry-syrup sun in the snow!" The illustrations are gorgeous, especially the depictions of late afternoon in the snow. You can almost feel the toys' relief at being inside, cozying up to the radiator.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

How to Share with a Bear by Eric Pinder

This picture book is about a boy defending his indoor pillow cave against a bear. In the beginning of the story the boy leaves his cave to retrieve a flashlight so he can read. He returns to find a pair of bear eyes staring out at him! Thus follows a series of diversions that the boy does in order to distract the bear from getting back in his cave. He tries blueberries, a back scratcher, water play and honey. Finally, the boy can get into the cave but who's outside crying? There's a cute twist to the story as the identity of the bear is revealed. Very simple yet adorable pictures throughout.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Waiting by Kevin Henkes

This is a simple book about figurines sitting on a windowsill, each waiting for things to happen outside. There's little text and soft, basic images but it's an adorable tale. In Waiting, the windowsill proves to be a perfect stage for the various animals and their tale. Good for young children 3-8.

When Santa Was A Baby by Linda Bailey

This picture book shows Santa before we all knew him, as a baby. Just like everyone, Santa was a kid once and this cute book has Santa showing early preferences for the color red, reindeer (aka hamsters), giving things away, cooler temperatures, soot etc. Toward the end of the book, Santa's transition  from ordinary life to the North Pole is a bit abrupt (and seems to lack a scene or two). However, Santa's parents realize this is the perfect job for Santa so all is well. The illustrations by Genevieve Godbout are soft and retro which fits nicely with the nostalgic theme of the book.