I received some amazing picture books so I thought I would review them from A to Z, but in two parts. You can read the first part of the alphabet here.
I loved most of these ones, but will say Old Misery was the most unique and Perfectly Norman was lovely.
My Little Small
My Little Small by Ulf Stark (translated from Swedish, $22.95, Publishers Group Canada, Enchanted Lion Books) is about an ugly and lonely creature who lives deep in a dark cave where the sun can’t hurt her eyes and make her sick. Each night she leaves the cave and reaches out to the moon, looking for friendship, but of course she can’t reach it. Until one day, a sun spark flies in her cave and she learns about life in the sunshine and shares her own stories. I like the book, both stories and illustrations. I did, however, think it would have ended differently, although after I read the synopsis of the book I realize why it ended the way it does. As noted in Perfectly Norman (see below), I like obvious lessons!
Nothing Happens in This Book
The main character in Nothing Happens in This Book by Judy Ann Sadler ($18.99, Kids Can Press) suggests the book looks boring and nothing is happening in it so you should shove it under the bed or put it back on the shelf until he discovers a shiny shoe and a tiny car until suddenly a whole lot is happening in the book.
The illustrations are different, but a good different. The book makes me smile.
Old Misery by James Sage ($18.99, Kids Can Press, www.kidscanpress.com) is such a completely different picture book, both in words and illustrations, which I loved. I enjoyed the book the entire way through, but the ending was a game changer. It made me laugh out loud. I didn’t see it coming at all. I will be reading this one to my nine year old who will appreciate the twist. Don’t try to outwit the most cunning creature of all.
Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival ($22.99, Raincoast Books, Bloomsbury) is a really sweet story about celebrating what is unique and wonderful about each person, but then realizing you aren’t as different as you thought. The lesson in this story is obvious, which I love, and I also love the illustrations.
At first Norman was perfectly normal, bright (colourful) when everyone else is dark (black and white). But then he grows new wings and he worries what everyone else will think and he hides those beautiful wings behind a coat and begins to withdraw from everything he loves. The world grows black and white, including Norman embraces his wings. I love it.
See How We Move
See How We Move, A First Book of Health and Well-Being is the fifth book in this series by Scot Ritchie ($16.99, Kids Can Press), which follows the same group of kids as they explore the world and learn about various things, in this case the benefits of physical fitness and what it takes to stay healthy. Aimed at kids in pre-kindergarten to Grade 2, the series is a great one, each double page spread helping the story continue (this story is about a group of kids who are getting ready for their swim meet and how they have to eat well and stay healthy in order to do their best) as well as offer information and tips including ideas to help you when you feel anxious, the importance of deep breathing and how to prevent the spread of germs.
The information is provided in quick bursts with lots of cute illustrations.
This is the second book I have read by Morag Hood (I really enjoyed I Am A Bat, Publishers Group Canada, Two Hoots Books). This one is called The Steves and is about two puffins who meet and realize they have the same name and are not happy about it, after all each was the first Steve and is certainly better than the other. The book makes me laugh because it’s always funny when children realize someone has the same name as them and they don’t like, offering up the same arguments as Steve 1 and Steve 2. The ending makes me laugh, too.
The Strongest Mum
The Strongest Mum by Nicola Kent ($13.99, Publishers Group Canada, Pan MacMillan) is about a bear who believes his mum is the strongest mum out there. She can carry everything including a bag that has everything a little bear and his mummy needs including a bus pass, snacks, some toy cars and a collection of treasures from leaves to sticks. She can also carry Lion’s laundry, Zebra’s groceries and flamingo’s piano until she can’t.
The book “is perfect for learning about helping each other out,” reads the book synopsis. And realistic, although I would never attempt to carry a piano!
I wasn’t going to review Vacation by Blexbolex ($35.95, Publishers Group Canada, Enchanted Lion Books) as it isn’t my type of book at all, plus I didn’t get it. My nine year old won’t appreciate it either. It is a book told only in pictures – a main picture with several smaller pictures inlaid within the main image. It’s a beautiful book, however. The illustrations are really neat and the texture of the pages themselves are really cool. The texture bleeds into the illustrations, which makes it a work of art (or as the synopsis says, offers a nostalgic and often dreamlike feeling). It also suggests puzzle-loving readers will adore learning these book’s mysteries, which I am obviously not (a puzzle lover). The book, says the synopsis is about a young girl whose grandfather brings home an elephant to stay and she is not happy at all. “This wordless story is about interrupted solitude, learning to be together with another and how the choices we make deeply affect our lives.”
When I am Big
I love When I am Big by Maria Dek ($24.95, Raincoast Books, Princeton Architectural Press), both the story, which is not your usual type of counting book as well as the illustrations. The story offers the variety of things the main character, who you don’t see, will do when she is older. I liked that the suggestions are things kids would certainly think they will do such as eating five scoops of ice cream for lunch, putting six spoonfuls of sugar in coffee and jumping over nine puddles at once. What a lovely book.
Vernon is On His Way, Small Stories
Vernon is On His Way, Small Stories by Philip C. Stead ($25.99, Raincoast Books, Roaring Brook) is a collections of enjoyable short stories about Vernon, who I think is frog, Skunk and Porcupine. I love the illustrations and that the stories are just stories.
Zoom Along by Jessica Phillips ($16.99, Kids Can Press) is a super cute book for the toddler set who love to look at themselves in the mirror. I like this one because the children get to imagine themselves in various jobs from an engineer who gets to conduct a big, bright, chunky drawn train to at mountain explorer, climbing a mountain. There are racers who drive a scooter and an astronaut, who flies to the moon.
A copy of these books were provided by Kids Can Press, Publishers Group Canada abd Raincoast Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.