Hansel & Gretel
I love Bethan Woollvin‘s version of Hansel & Gretel ($22.95, Publishers Group Canada Books, Two Hoots Books), which tells the story of Willow, a good witch who does good spells and who doesn’t get angry even through Hansel and Gretel leave a trail of breadcrumbs and doesn’t clean them up despite being nicely asked to do so. The children are rude and continue to be just plain mean – eating her gingerbread house, eating all her food and stealing her spell books until…
Oh, the until makes me laugh.
Read my review of Rapunzel by Woolvin here.
Bear and Wolf
Bear and Wolf by Daniel Salmieri ($25.95, PGC Books, Enchanted Lion Books) tells the story of a young bear and a young wolf who meet in the dead of winter and decide to walk together, feeling the snow on their fur and listening to the noises of the forest. They come to a frozen lake and see the fish sleeping under the ice and then part ways; bear to sleep with his family and wolf to follow the caribou and hunt with this family, both suggesting they would like to see each other again soon. Spring comes and new sounds and sights greet the animals, who again meet up in the forest and walk through the woods.
I liked the story of how bear and wolf, two very different creatures, become friends over shared curiosity. The illustrations aren’t my favourite and I thought the wolf looked quite scary, particularly when hunting.
I Got It
I Got It by David Wiesner ($24.99, Raincoast Books, Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) follows the story of a boy who really wants to play baseball, but when he goes to catch a pop fly, he misses and his disappointment is palatable as is his teammates’. As the wordless story progresses, you can see how the boy attempts to catch the ball, but it’s like he gets tripped up in the roots of trees or the ball grows in size. The boy keeps missing the ball until the the game-winning pop fly.
The illustrations are amazing. You can tell the boy’s disappointment, his excitement and his feelings of amazement and you are there cheering him on.
Jerome by Heart
Jerome by Heart by Thomas Scotto ($22.05, PGC Books, Enchanted Lion Books) is a beautiful story about Raphael who loves Jerome because Jerome chooses Raphael as a buddy during the museum trip, sees him when he is with other friends, shares his snacks and stops other kids from making fun of him. His parents on the other hand, particularly his father, is quick to stop the friendship and his son from speaking about Jerome. Raphael goes to his room and thinks about things until he realizes no one else matters, he loves Jerome.
I am not sure if this book is about a boy who realizes he is gay or whether he is a boy who simply has a really great friend and in the end, it doesn’t matter. It is a beautiful book and a beautiful story.
Something Fishy by Polly Dunbar ($22.99, PGC Books, Two Hoots Books) is a story that likely happens every day and makes me kind of sad. In this case, it’s the story of cat, who loves her family who always feeds her favourite – fish – until one day they ignore her obvious requests because they are too busy touching the woman’s belly and bringing out onsies and tiny socks out of a bag and decorating her room, but they did give her a new bed to sleep in. And then one day, cat’s family goes out – to get her fish, obviously, but come back with something else entirely.
It’s a cute book told from a pet’s perspective. While things change, particularly with babies, it’s important to remember our firstborns and that they still need our love and attention. I loved the ending and the illustrations.
Sun Dog by Deborah Kerbel ($19.95, Pajama Press) is about Juno, a sled dog puppy who plays with her boy in the Arctic tundra until one night the midnight sun beckons her out on an adventure of her own. On her way back, she spots a polar bear near the door she left open and she must summon all her courage to save her boy.
The story is a cute one and you can’t help but love Juno, who is as curious and adventurous as her boy. It’s nice to read stories about life in the north. The illustrations are done in polymer clay and I debate between liking it and not loving it. I thought illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo did a great job with the polar bear. It was terrifying to watch this bear lumbering toward Juno who stood her ground.
A copy of these books were provided by Pajama Press, Publishing Group Canada and Raincoast Books for honest reviews. The opinions are my own.