Actually, I haven’t read a ton of new picture books this month, although I have three gorgeous Laurel Long books waiting for me to have a spare second to read them. But there were several I missed from other months, so let’s consider this a catch-up round.
The Money We’ll Save by Brock Cole. I’ve recently fallen in love with Brock Cole, partly because this one came in on our new book cart and charmed me. It’s the story of a badly-off family at Christmas. Papa brings home a live turkey for Christmas dinner, assuring everyone that it will save them lots of money. Hijinks, of course, ensue. It’s a sweet, funny story with lovely illustrations. And I like that Cole includes enough detail to ground the older reader in the time and place (1900s tenement) without disrupting the story. (The Winter Wren is my other favorite Cole book, just for the record.)
Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown and Julie Paschkis. A picture book biography of the Chilean poet. I found the illustrations beautiful, but was left a little bothered by the text which seemed to end suddenly. I am far from well informed about Neruda’s life, but it felt to me like there was something left out. On the other hand, this is a children’s biography, and therefore constrained by both space and propriety.
My Name is Elizabeth by Annika Dunklee. The protagonist is a little girl who keeps getting called by a nickname, Beth or Betsy or Liz. She gets annoyed with this and finally declares that her name is Elizabeth! This is one I’d like to revisit as I’ve seen a lot of people who found it fun and charming, but for me Elizabeth came off as a tad bratty. Great illustrations though–clear and nicely colored.
Earth to Clunk by Pam Smallcomb. This was a lot of fun! A boy gets an alien penpal and at first is quite upset by this. So he sends his big sister! Clunk sends a return package, and we’re off into a rollicking, hilarious adventure.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses by John Cech. Twelve Dancing Princesses is one of my all-time favorite fairy tales, so I was interested to see how this adaptation would compare to some of the others. I liked it, especially the artwork, but think that Kinuko Craft’s remains my favorite picture book version.