I do love a good alphabet book. Sara Pinto’s Alphabet Room seems standard at first look. Yes, A is for apples and under the flap the apples are rolling on the floor. B is for bowls; under the flap there are the bowls again, but also the apples. C is for cat–can you see where this is going? By the time we get to Z, there’s a lovely cummulative pile of alphabetic items, a few animals and a jester all tuckered out from the various roles they’ve taken throughout the book.
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Although it’s red and covered in hearts, Sandra Boynton‘s Consider Love should not be relegated to Valentine’s Day. “Consider love. Look here and there. Consider love. It’s everywhere. Consider love. Observe a while. It comes in every shape and style.” Indeed. It also comes every day which is why I’m posting about it on this non-Valentiney day.
And while you are reading with that special child, keep in mind these tips. And it can’t hurt to listen to this either.
The Hole begins and ends with a secret: the reader knows there is a hole in the wall but the lead character does not. He moves into an apartment and finds the things he needs to make a meal and settles in to eat on one of the cardboard boxes. “What’s this?” he says when he sees the hole (which is an actual hole punched through the center of the book). The hole moves around the apartment and I won’t tell you how the problem is solved other than to point out the ingenious way the main character is shown going through the city and how the hole becomes an eyehole, a stoplight, a manhole, a balloon–Øyvind Torseter‘s clever illustrations will keep you riveted, page after page–and that sometimes taking care of problems doesn’t mean they’ve gone away.
Robert Sabuda‘s The Little Mermaid is a beautifully illustrated pop-up book based on the original Hans Christian Anderson tale. Poor Little Mermaid sells her voice for a chance to gain the love of a prince that never sees her for who she is. Instead, she does a lovely act of self-sacrifice (as do her sisters) and earns an eternal soul. Far from the fairy tales where happily ever after includes a marriage, this story is bittersweet. While the prince does get married, it isn’t to the little mermaid.
The illustrations pop out on every page, amazing everyone in my family, a true book for all ages.
Bob Staake’s Bluebird is a grand tale in pictures: a bluebird befriends a boy, and without a word, they share food, companionship and make new friends. They also run into bullies that shatter the earthly beauty of their friendship. The bluebird lives on in eternal clouds and sunshine and the boy shows us how to say good-bye.
Papa Bear settles in for hibernation while Little Bear chases a bee. Papa Bear chases after Little Bear, through the forest, into cabin country and finally smack dab in the middle of a city. We follow the bears inside an opera house where we see a cross-section of its attic to basement, Richard Scarry-esque. The ending lines sum it up: “After all, hibernation is better with honey. And adventure is best enjoyed together.”
The Bear’s Song is a large book, perfect for fitting in all of French author/illustrator Benjamin Chaud‘s intricate drawings. Every page has so much to see, providing perfect conversation starters for parent and child.
In the mood for adventure? All The Earth, Thrown To The Sky will fulfill any gangster or road trip aspirations. Set in the 1930s Oklahoma Dust Bowl, Joe R. Lansdale touches on historical moments the way Forest Gump ended up in all the right spots.
Jack Catcher was having a hard enough time resisting the relentless dust storms on the farm, and then his mom died and his dad hung himself. When neighbors Jane and Tony show up, the three take a truck and head out of the dust. On their path to East Texas, they meet up with notorious bank robbers, hobos and carnival personalities. They jump trains, run away from gangsters and fall into indentured servitude. The Great Depression history is woven seamlessly into the story as each of the three make a new life in separate directions.