Posts tagged ‘picture book’

Weezer Changes the World by David McPhail (Beach Lane Books 2009)

Move over Al Gore, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela. A little yellow dog has adopted your views and mankind listened. Weezer gets hit by lightning and becomes an intellectual prodigy that teaches the world to help the poor and follow the paths of peace. Unfortunately, the same small yellow dog gets struck by lightning again and returns to normal puppy pursuits. However, the world has learned his lessons and all remains perfect. If only it were that simple! This is a sweet introduction to prophetic truths. I’m not sure the picture book crowd will be convinced by little Weezer, but it does offer an opportunity for adults and children to discuss deep questions.

Picture Book, Recommended— Lillian Hecker (PEL)


January 25, 2010 at 5:48 pm Leave a comment

RED TED AND THE LOST THINGS written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Joel Stewart

Red Ted is a teddy bear who finds himself on a high shelf in the Lost and Found of a large train station. He’s desolate that his owner, Stevie, left him behind when getting off the train. The toy Crocodile next to him tries to comfort him with resignation, but Red Ted instead resolves to find Stevie. Together they escape the Lost and Found and on the way meet a street-wise stray cat. The threesome brave the dangerous streets, and with luck and perseverance, get to Stevie’s house. Stevie is a young girl with a big heart, and she knows just what to do to reward Red Ted and his new friends.

Contrasting against blurry but detailed sepia backgrounds that evoke a time-worn city, the characters—rendered in loose line and muted color—move forward with fear of abandonment but smart cunning.

Picture Book, ages 4-6.  Recommended- Amelia L. Carling (Pelham)

November 18, 2009 at 5:58 pm Leave a comment

MY ELEPHANT written and illustrated by Petr Horáček (Candlewick Press, 2009)

Grandpa and Grandma are too busy, so their little grandson turns to his friend Elephant, who is always eager to play. A trampled flower bed, puddles of water in the bathroom, spilled orange juice, all kinds of mischief—they are all Elephant’s fault, the little boy says, when asked who did it by his grandparents. The little boy feels bad about telling on his imaginary friend the Elephant, but with his grandparents’ help, he finds the comfort and understanding of a loyal friendship. Clear and direct illustrations drive home a message about making and keeping friends.

Picture Book, preschool to age 6.  Recommended- Amelia L. Carling (Pelham)

November 18, 2009 at 5:55 pm Leave a comment

THE PATTERSON PUPPIES AND THE RAINY DAY written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli

On a rainy day the four Patterson puppies run out of things to do. That is, until they let their imagination take them to the beach and into the ocean in wildly fun rumpus. After clean up, a bowl of spilled popcorn leads them into a pretend winter landscape, and more fun. Young readers will delight in these imaginary adventures set off by ordinary things. Illustrated with bold black line and color and told with easy words, these puppies’ story is full of camaraderie and charm.

Picture Book, Preschool.  Recommended- Amelia L. Carling (Pelham)

November 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm Leave a comment

THE PRINCESS’S BLANKETS by Carol Ann Duffy and paintings by Catherine Hyde (Templar Books, an imprint of Candlewick Press, 2009)

princess blanketsThe princess is always cold. She lies in her bed covered in blankets and the servants warm her room with roaring fires, all to no avail.  A dark stranger appears, promising the king and queen that with his magic he will make their daughter warm, but for this, they must agree to let him take her away to be his wife.  The princess herself is fearful of this stranger with cruel eyes. She resists; she is as cold as the ocean, as cold as the forest, as cold as the mountain, as cold as the earth.  Each blanket that the stranger flings on her takes away the fish from the ocean; the fruit, the wood, and the animals from the forest; the rain and the rivers from the mountain; the food, the flowers and the soil from the earth.  And the people suffer. Still, the princess resists the arrogant stranger.  One day a musician wonders into the gloomy land and upon hearing the story of the princess, approaches the castle and asks to see her.  Her beauty inspires him to play his flute and as they fall in love, his touch makes the stranger’s blankets fall away, restoring all the lost goodness back to the world and the people.  The stranger is never heard from again.

In the tradition of a fairy tale narrative, this story is told with powerful poetic language. The artwork, accentuated with stone-like shimmers of metallic foil, is equally as mysterious and compelling in its evocation of the deepest textures and emotions we harbor about the ocean, the forest, the mountain, and the earth. For a story that is so entrancing to listen to, it is unfortunate that the text is set in a small font size that crowds as many as twenty words on a single line. This may make the book hard to read aloud to a group of children.

Picture Book, ages 4-8.  Recommended- Amelia Carling (Pelham Public Library)

November 12, 2009 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

THE KING OF QUIZZICAL ISLAND by Gordon Snell and illustrated by David McKee (Candlewick Press 1978, 2009)

kingThe beloved and inquisitive King of Quizzical Island decides, against all advice, to sail out to the edge of the world “and find… what I shall find.”  In a tumultuous adventure narrated in verse and nonsensical rhyme, the King discovers unimaginable lands and creatures and, sailing from place to place, makes it back to his castle, thus proving that the world is not flat but round.  His people cheer his amazing discovery, but only the Owl casts doubt on it.  Instead of rebuffing Owl’s doubt, the King then decides to seek further proof that the world is round by digging a hole that will come out at the other side of the world, thus setting off another adventure of discovery and questioning.   With humorous and whimsical black line drawings and minimal color, the illustrator captures the spirit of persistent curiosity that drives the King and encourages the reader to do the same.   This story celebrates the child’s natural imagination and inclination to ask questions that can lead to more questions.

Picture Book, ages 4-8.  Recommended- Amelia Carling (Pelham Public Library)

November 12, 2009 at 2:48 pm Leave a comment

SONG OF MIDDLE C by Alison McGhee (Candlewick 2009)

song of middle cOur narrator has been practicing and practicing and practicing for her upcoming piano recital.  She is pretty confident that all that work, plus the fact that she is wearing her lucky hat, shoes and underwear will ensure a triumphant performance.  In the event, she forgets her piece, but salvages the recital by improvising a piece of her own composition—variations on the single note of Middle C.

Practically everyone who performs in public gets stage-fright at some point.  McGhee’s upbeat solution to a potentially embarrassing dilemma may reassure those who approach their recitals with misgivings.  (However badly they play, they probably won’t flub things up THAT badly…)

Scott Menchin’s cartooned illustrations and another dimension of light-heartedness to a potentially fraught situation.  They are not beautiful (in my estimation) but they convey McGhee’s ideas successfully.

Picture Book.  Recommended- Miriam Lang Budin (Chappaqua)

September 2, 2009 at 7:48 pm Leave a comment

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