On the blog:
- Links to my favorite online reading from last week
- A review of Stand There! She Shouted, an illustrated biography of photographer Julia Margaret Cameron
- A slice of life about good days–and why I rarely write about good days
So many good picture books this week! Here are a few of my favorites.
Coming Home is a wonderful nearly wordless picture book about a boy anxiously awaiting the return of his soldier parent from deployment. As he waits for his parent to appear, he observes many other tender homecomings. There is much to look at and think about in this book. I especially loved Ruth’s choice to make the returning parent a mom rather than a dad.
Tell Me What To Dream About is a quirky and clever title written and illustrated by Giselle Potter. A little sister asks her big sister what she ought to dream about, and the big sister is full of interesting ideas–all of which turn anxiety-producing in the imagination of the little sister, who keeps requesting a different dream. Potter’s style is a perfect match for this story: she has full rein to create some weird images as the little sister can’t help turning each perfectly nice dream idea into something just a little bit twisted.
Barbara DeCosta’s Nighttime Ninja is the clever story of a ninja who turns out to be a little boy out of bed without permission to sneak a snack. Minimal text with much of the tension, pacing, and comedy dependent upon Ed Young’s brilliant illustrations.
I’m a sucker for a chicken story, and Peggy: A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure is a good one. Peggy is a hen who loves a predictable routine–until a windstorm sweeps her up and deposits her in the city, where she develops a taste for adventure. The cover conveys much of the appeal of the illustrations: plump Peggy so out of place in an urban environment. Anna Walker’s art is lovely and evocative.
Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret is my new obsession. I read it three times this week. This is a wonderful early reader for fans of Elephant & Piggie. There’s a lovely lesson in friendship and compromise at its core, but the real appeal for me is the characters and their dynamic. Shea manages to convey so much emotion and personality through the simplest of illustrations and the sparest of language.
Steve Light’s Have You Seen My Dragon? was a recent favorite at my house. Have You Seen My Monster? is the follow-up, only this time a little girl has lost her monster at the county fair, and Light is teaching about shapes rather than numbers. There is so much to look at in Light’s pen-and-ink drawings.
The undaunted and unrepentent heroine in Jenny Offill’s 17 Things I’m Not Allowed to Do Anymore has many ideas for mischief–all of which turn into things she’s not allowed to do anymore. Offill’s concrete language and repetitive structure would make a fine mentor text. Nancy Carpenter’s illustrations are very amusing.