I read a fair number of picture books and early readers because of my job. Picture Book Monday is my attempt to review a few that I’ve especially liked. These include picture books, early readers and early chapter books–Picture Book Monday just had a nice ring to it.
Oh, hi, long-neglected feature! I’ve been terrible about picture books recently, but we had some new ones come through that I really liked.
Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Helen Ward: Now, there are a zillion* different editions of this story out there, but Helen Ward’s vivid and detailed illustrations set this one apart. It also focuses on the country mouse, while most versions tell the story from both points of view.
* An approximation
Night Song by Ari Berk, illustrated by Laurel Long: A sweet story of a young bat who flies off into the night, learning to use his echolocation. A nice visual demonstration of the concept, plus a few “Awww” moments.
Little Cub by Olivier Dunrea: Little Cub is all alone. He would like to learn how to get honey without being stung, but he has no one to teach him. Old Bear is all alone. He would like to teach someone how to get honey without being stung, but he has no one to pass his knowledge on to. It’s a predictable story which is sweet without being saccharine; Dunrea’s illustrations are lovely, with touches of humor that round out the characters.
Alfie Is Not Afraid by Patricia Carlin: A funny book in which a boy and his dog go camping in their backyard. The boy is quite sure that Alfie is not afraid of anything, a belief the illustrations immediately contradict. The contrast between the illustrations and the text builds up until the hilarious denouement.
Spike the Mixed Up Monster by Susan Hood: Spike tries to be a monster, but no one takes him very seriously. But then one day a REAL monster shows up, and Spike is the only one who can face him! The book takes place in the Mexican desert and has quite a bit of information about different animals, but it’s woven into the story in a nice way.
Lovabye Dragon by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Randy Cecil: There was once a princess who wanted a dragon for a friend. And there was once a dragon who wanted a princess for a friend. A fresh and funny story told in rhyme, I really liked this one. There were a couple of points where I wished that Joosse wasn’t constrained by the rhyming, but overall, lots of fun.
Pinch and Dash Make Soup by Michael Daley: This early reader about two friends and a pot of soup is a lot of fun. The chapters build on each other, but they have a slightly episodic feel. It also reminded me of both Too Many Babas and Stone Soup.