January 22, 2013
New Picture Books to Warm Your Heart!
Hello Picture Book fans! Sorry this is late in getting finished! I am currently snow birding in Florida with my husband and we have had sketchy Internet service since our arrival. Hopefully the issue has been resolved, since I’m hoping to watch the live feed next week (1/28) when the American Library Association announces the 2012 winners of the Caldecott and Newbery medals!! I will post the announcement to my Facebook Picture Book Look page… check it out and please “like” my page! I see that people are reading my blog and would love to know who some of you are! Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you are enjoying it!
Polar Bear Morning
Written by Lauren Thompson; Illustrations by Steven Savage. (2013)
Available in Hardcover
This is a simple and sweet picture book for younger children. This companion to Polar Bear Night (2004), the illustrations are large and chunky, with simple text. This is a new favorite of mine!
Hooray, this companion to Polar Bear Night (2004) is as charming and attractive as its predecessor. With the same spare textual sensibility, limited palette and blocky linocut prints, the story picks up where the first ended, with a new day and the freshness of morning. When a polar-bear cub awakens and peeks out at the snow, ice and blue sky, she hears the faraway call of sea gulls and clambers out into the day. She sets off across the snow and ice and meets a snow cub, nose-to-nose (literally). This is dramatically illustrated with a profile view of their heads and noses covering a full double-page spread. The pair frolic, climb, tumble and jump into the sea together–new friends. The deceptive simplicity of the playful graphic design masks great sophistication. Clever composition conveys the rambunctiousness of the cubs, while the many hues of blue showcase the background (even an underwater scene); two dawn-pink spreads surprise readers pleasantly. It’s crystal clear, this is another winner. (Picture book. 3-5)
This Moose Belongs to Me
Written and Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (2012)
Available in Hardcover
This is the newest from one of my favorite picture book authors, Oliver Jeffers. Would a moose make a good pet? You and you little ones will get a giggle out of Wilfred and his pet moose!
Moose are not necessarily the best pets–except when it really matters. Wilfred carefully teaches his moose, whom he names Marcel, all the rules for being a good pet. Marcel follows some of them. He knows to be quiet when Wilfred is listening to music, for example, but sometimes he roams too far from home. Still, Marcel is a good companion, providing shelter in the rain and reaching high into trees for fruit. Then calamity strikes. Wilfred discovers that Marcel actually belongs to another, causing Wilfred to run home in anger and get lost. To the rescue comes Marcel the moose, strutting nobly on his four thin but strong legs. The boy learns a valuable lesson about wild animals: “[P]erhaps…he’d never really owned the moose anyway.” Jeffers has set his cautionary tale in the beautiful Rocky Mountains using “a mishmash of oil painting onto old linotype and painted landscapes and a bit of technical wizardry thrown into the mix.” The result is an eye-catching and imaginative book with illustrations that vary from close-ups of the imposing moose against a white background to landscapes of the moose standing tall in his very own Albert Bierstadt painting. Pet lovers and nature lovers alike will enjoy this offbeat and entertaining tale. (Picture book. 4-7)
Time-Out for Sophie
Written and Illustrated by Rosemary Wells (2013)
Available in Hardcover and Nook eReader formats
Sophie tries to be a good little mouse but sometimes it’s just more fun to be naughty! This is a perfect book to read to little ones who are learning self control! I love Rosemary Wells and Sophie takes her place next to her other book characters, Max, Ruby, Nora, and Yoko.
Watch out, Max and Ruby. Wells’s new anthropomorphic heroine, Sophie, is a two-year-old rodent with mischief in her eyes and an inability to stay out of trouble. After getting sent to time-out for unnecessary roughness during dinner with Mama (a mac and cheese dinner ends up on the floor twice) and upsetting the laundry Daddy has folded (also twice), Sophie comes up against a master: Granny. Instead of giving Sophie a time-out for repeated eyeglasses-snatching, Granny gives herself one, moving from the sofa to the rocking chair, where she sits implacably, arms folded. Wells’s always sunny drawings get an extra punch from collaged pieces of brightly patterned fabrics, and her characters’ facial expressions have plenty to say about parental patience and wild toddler abandon. As wise (and concise) as ever, Wells lets readers have guilt-free fun savoring Sophie’s naughtiness, but delivers the story’s aha moment with an equally deft hand. Good behavior isn’t really about obeisance to the rules, readers will gather. It’s about understanding what makes us pleasant to be around. Ages 2–up. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Jan.)
The Shape of My Heart
Written by Mark Sperring; Illustrated by Alys Paterson (2012)
Available in Hardcover
I enjoy reading singsong text and know that young children enjoy listening being read to in this format. It’s not a traditional conceptual shape book but somewhat a new spin to that genre.
Part concept book and part poem, this eye-catching picture book is a reassuring valentine for any day of the year. Despite the emphasis on shapes, Sperring (The Sunflower Sword) isn’t offering an introduction to circles, squares, and triangles: “This is the shape that we are./ The shape of you and me,” he writes, as the opening spread shows two smiling figures—one large, one small—in white silhouette, defined by a sea of colorful shapes that surround them. A focus on bodily shapes continues (“This is the shape of my hand,/ the hand you hold on to”), serving as an entry into related objects and settings (a spread about food follows one about mouths; a look at feet and shoes paves the way for a scene featuring vehicles). Debut illustrator Paterson fills the pages with crisp and colorful objects, often accented with sound effects (a friendly dinosaur offers a gentle “raaaa,” birds chirp and tweet). It’s a lovingly designed and visually appealing portrait of the places, animals, and objects common to a child’s world, with the invisible but perceptible adult presence hovering in the background. Ages 2–5. (Jan.)
Baby Penguins Everywhere!
Written and Illustrated by Melissa Guion (2012)
Available in Hardcover
This is a darling debut picture book from this author. The whimsical illustrations lend a sweetness to this story of a Penguin who bites off a bit more than she can chew. Simply adorable!
Guion’s debut uses adorable penguins to salute the idea of taking time to recharge. Loosely drawn watercolor and pencil spreads show an unnamed penguin alone on an ice floe: “She enjoyed the peace and quiet of the sea and ice. Yet some days… she felt lonely.” A top hat floating in the waves nearby turns out, miraculously, to contain several dozen baby penguins who emerge from it like clowns from a car. They create instant, ?exuberant chaos, frolicking with scarves and waving their stumpy wings in the air. It’s easy to enjoy their fun: Guion’s forms are simple but expressive, and her spreads convey gentle excitement. The new penguin mother is exhausted, though. A page turn shows her sitting alone with her eyes closed: “Happy as she was, she needed something. Just a minute to herself.” Restored, she rejoins her family. Guion doesn’t just explain to young readers why a parent might need an occasional break, she suggests that they, too, can listen for an inner voice that tells them they’re in need of quiet time. Ages 2–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Dec.)