I took an unintentional break from PBM the past few months, partly because I forgot to keep track of the books I looked at and partly because we were doing a major update of the Children’s Room and it wreaked havoc with everything. (When I say “we” I mean mostly not-me.) Now we’re back, and the room looks amazing! If you want to see some pictures from the massively huge SRC kickoff/Grand Reopening, check out the library’s FB page.
Anyway, as I was denewing recently (thanks to Anna M for this marvelous term!), I noticed that I hadn’t talked about a few of the picture books when they first came in and wanted to highlight them now.
Miss Maple’s Seeds by Eliza Wheeler: I loved both art and story for this one; the palette is gorgeous and the line art is clear and lovely. It’s certainly a gentle book, but it didn’t seem twee or overly sentimental to me–there’s a kind of clarity that gives integrity to the whole thing. It’s also, incidentally, a good book to use when talking about the life cycle of trees, or the changing seasons.
Rainbow Stew by Cathryn Falwell: There’s been quite a bit of talk recently about casual or everyday diversity (I like the latter term). Falwell’s book is a great example of this. A bit like Thunder Cake, it shows three young children who happen to be African-American as they visit their Grandpa and make his famous Rainbow Stew with the produce from his garden. The warm relationship between kids and grandfather and the lovely artwork makes me even forgive the fact that the text rhymes. (To be fair, Falwell has an excellent sense of rhythm which sets it above most of the rhyming picture books I see.) It even includes a recipe to make your own Rainbow Stew!
I don’t know whose brilliant idea it was to have Gennady Spirin illustrate a series of non-fiction books, but Macmillan went for it and I love the result. After all, why shouldn’t books that happen to be informational rather than fictional have great illustrations? Spirin and his son Ilya have done a total of four books with Brenda Guiberson to date. My favorite is Frog Song, mostly because Spirin’s shimmery style suits frogs perfect. You can browse through some of the illustrations here. I also like Guiberson and Ilya Spirin’s Ice Bears a lot. I would love for this trend to continue, especially with some of the “hard” sciences.
Weasels by Elys Dolan: When this one came in, Coworker K and I read it at least twice in one day. While some of the references may resonate more with adults, the idea of weasels plotting world domination and the number of fun details should appeal to the older picture book crowd. And it’s just so funny. You can find out a bit more and browse through the opening pages here.
This published early due to the classic “Hit publish instead of save” blunder. Oh well!