I read so many fabulous and absolutely beautiful picture books this month.
Pandora by Victoria Turnbull ($23.99, Raincoast Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is so exceptionally beautiful. As soon as I pulled it out of the box of books from Raincoast, I was drawn to it. It’s the illustrations most definitely that make it beautiful, as well as the colour choices and the shiny title. It’s just an incredibly beautiful book. The story is equally wonderful. It’s a story about a fox named Pandora who lives in alone in a world of broken things until a bird with a broken wing falls from the sky. Pandora nurses the bird back to health. The bird flies away, each time returning with a gift for Pandora. Then one day, the bird doesn’t return, and Pandora is left alone again. There is so much emotion in Turnbull’s drawings, particularly Pandora. The colours she chooses and the style of illustrations also set the mood. It’s a beautiful story about hope and renewal.
A have a soft spot for foxes; I never tire of watching them. In The Fox Wish (written by Kimiko Aman, $23.99, Raincoast Books, Chronicle Books) illustrator Komako Sakai captures the spirit of the fox, particularly as they play. The story is about two children who go looking for their jump rope and discover the foxes have claimed it as an answer to their wishes.
I thought it was a sweet story, although I did think silently to myself that there was no way I would let my maybe six-year-old daughter and two-year-old son leave the house, go to the park and through the woods looking for a forgotten skipping rope by themselves.
The Everywhere Bear ($22.99, PGC Books, Pan MacMillian) is the first book I have read by The Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson that was not illustrated by Alex Scheffler, and I loved it. I loved the illustrations by Rebecca Cobb and the story, as always, was wonderful. This story is about The Everywhere Bear, who gets to go home with a different child from Class One each weekend. But one day the bear falls from a backpack, washed down the drain and gets carried out to sea where he is rescued by a fishing boat and carried away, again, by a seagull. It’s a cute story about one bear’s adventure.
Peggy, A Brave Chicken on a Big Adventure by Anna Walker ($9.99, Raincoast Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is a also a fun adventure book about a chicken named Peggy who gets blown from her backyard where she plays with pigeons and lands with a thud in the city, surrounded by people who don’t understand her (despite trying to ask them how to find her way home). Peggy goes on an adventure before following some sunflowers home. A cute book with an interesting mix of illustrations.
Good Morning, Grumple by Victoria Allenby ($16.95, Pajama Press) makes me laugh. Little fox is a grumple, who doesn’t like to be woken up in the morning so his mother sings, tickles and kisses grumple until he himself is up – and laughing. My first grumple wouldn’t have taken kindly to being sung to, tickled or kissed first thing in the morning as a child, and certainly not as an adult. My eight-year-old is often awake before me, and when I do go to wake him up, it’s a kiss, a gentle touch and request to wake up, back off, and repeat.
Author Matthew Swanson not only has a good imagination, but likely sees things others don’t because his book Everywhere, Wonder ($24.99, Raincoast Books, Imprint) is just that. From the lonely footprint on the moon to blue wildebeest in Kenya, a treasure at the bottom of the pool and the golden glow of a pet in the sunlight, Swanson encourages you to find wonder everywhere you look. A beautiful story for opening your eyes to wonder.
I really enjoyed Catherine Buquet’s Under the Umbrella ($18.95, Pajama Press) about a man walking briskly under the stormy Paris’ skies until his umbrella gets snatched away from him and lands at the feet of a little boy staring at the beautiful treats inside a patisserie. The illustrations are not usually my style, but they worked in this book. I also liked how everything about the man was black – his mood, his umbrella, his clothing, and the rest of the world, particularly the little boy and the bakery, is full of light and colour.
Color Blocked by Ashely Sorenson ($23.99, Raincoast Books, Familius) is another one of those books where you have you turn, tap and rub the page for magic to happen. I sometimes think this concept has been overdone, but then something is different about it that makes me glad I read another one. This was one of those books. I also hope they turn it into a colouring book one day. The spaces are wonderful, and the turtle adorable.
These books were provided by Raincoast Books, PGC and Pajama Press for honest review.