Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kidlit Tuesday Picture Books

While browsing at the library and moaning at the self-imposed restrictions of the TBR Triple Dog Dare (no new books! The horror) I pulled down some of the pictures books from the library display shelves. This are sometimes new and sometimes just staff favorites.

Boy, Bird, and DogFossilFossil, Bill Thomson. The pictures are vibrant and alive, just as in his earlier book Chalk, but my science soul was scandalized by the destruction of the fossils. Yes, I know he had to save the dog, but still!

Boy, Bird, and Dog, David McPhail.  I was disappointed that this was an easy-reader instead of a picture book, since the simplistic vocabulary pulled me out of the story and art. The pictures were much gentler (and frankly, almost dull) compared to what I expected from the author of Edward and the Pirates.

Vote for Me!, Ben Clanton. The adult snickering behind the childish elephant and donkey candidates somehow didn't tickle my funny bone, and the story didn't really stand up without the secret humor. Also, it left me wondering about the metaphor when the mouse stole the election; the ending felt like a bit of a cop-out.

It's Duffy Time!Boy + BotBoy + Bot, Anne Dyckman. This would be fun to read with a preschooler, as the boy tries to heal the turn-off robot and then the robot tries to repair the sleeping boy. The pictures are fresh but uncomplicated and the story funny without being pointed.

Sammy in the SkyIt's Duffy Time, Audrey Wood. Few works of literature remind us of the importance of the Before Breakfast Nap, although the After Breakfast Nap is more known. Duffy stresses the importance of both. A very relaxing book, recommended especially to nap lovers. Also kids might like it.

Sammy In the Sky, Barbara Walsh. I was prepared to resent this book, since I have a strong resistance to obvious bibliotherapy texts. But the intimate pictures of the girl with her dog and family won me over -- it's a story about how a child deals with loss, not an instruction manual on handling emotions raised by a pet's death. I was also impressed that the dog died at home, in this age of vet-handled mercy euthanasia. I guess I should have noticed it was written by a Pulitzer-prize journalist and illustrated by Jamie Wyeth and had more faith.

Happy, Mies van Hout. The picture promised beautiful and odd art, but the delivery left me wonder who the audience was for this emotional dictionary. The one word / one picture format implies tiny children, but they would be confused by the fish expressions, which are sometimes hilariously obvious but sometimes rather obscure. The delicate, sometimes grotesque paint lines extend even to the font of the words, making it sometimes harder to read the emotion than to recognize it on the picture. This would also detract from the fun of a read aloud. I think my kids would appreciate it now more than a decade ago, but they had already fled the library so I couldn't try it on them.

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