Friday, July 7, 2017

Paging Through Picture Books: Round (2017), Mama's Kisses (2017), Charlie & Mouse (2017), Henry & Leo (2016), Little Fox in the Forest (2017)

Here are some of the new picture books I have read recently. These fulfill the following categories on the Picture Book Reading Challenge checklist: #3 a concept book (Round), #9 a bedtime book (Mama's Kisses), #14 a book celebrating family (Charlie & Mouse), #33 a book about friendship (Henry & Leo), and #80 a book about toys (Little Fox in the Forest).

Round by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo 

I wanted to read Round based on both the author and the cover. I didn't like this particular text as well as I have liked others by Joyce Sidman (especially the poems in Dark Emperor), but it does a nice job of describing the concept of roundness in terms that are both poetic and easy to comprehend for a child. I didn't love all of the illustrations as much as the one on the cover, and neither of my children has asked to hear the book a second time, but for a story time or preschool lesson about shapes, it has definite value, and has a bit more meat than a book like What is Round? by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

Mama's Kisses by Kate McMullan, illustrated by Tao Nyeu

Mama's Kisses is a sweet story of four animal parents who have to track down their wild babies before they can tuck them into bed. I normally don't care for the use of speech bubbles in picture books for preschoolers, but they work well in this particular book, and my girls both loved the charming illustrations. I especially liked the color scheme, and the pictures where the animal babies hide themselves to avoid having to go to bed.

Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes 

My three-year-old loves the sense of humor and the sweet relationship between the brothers in this book, which is really more of an easy reader than a picture book. I was a bit put off by the fact that Mouse (clearly identified in the text as a boy, despite what some Goodreads reviewers have said) wears a tutu when he dresses up for the neighborhood party, and caught off-guard by a same-sex couple in a later chapter, but neither of these elements is played up in a way that would cause me to keep the book from Miss Muffet. The political messages behind these elements are there for those who want to see them, but they are just as easily overlooked by a child with no reason to think of them as anymore than a silly costume and a pair of roommates. I also really like the boys' mother, even if her indulgence of her boys' bizarre bedtime request for a banana did prompt Miss Muffet to demand several snacks at naptime.

Henry and Leo by Pamela Zagarenski

Sometimes I like this illustrator's art and other times, it doesn't work for me. In this story, about the bond between a  boy and his beloved stuffed animal, I mostly liked it (including the crowns hovering over the heads of all the characters that have so many Goodreads reviewers mystified). The "losing a stuffed animal" story has been told dozens of times, but there is something particularly sweet about this telling, and I liked its nod toward books like The Velveteen Rabbit that imagine that stuffed animals can come to life when loved enough by a child. My three-year-old took to the story right away and demanded multiple readings. She doesn't really have a special stuffed animal friend, but she does have a strong imagination so I am guessing that was the appeal.

Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin

This is another book about a toy that goes missing, but in this case, Little Fox is stolen, not lost, and his owner and her friend must travel through a woodland community populated by anthropomorphic animals in order to find the young fox who has taken him. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about the unexpected ending, but because the story is wordless and can be read even when a grownup is not available, both my girls have really taken to it, and Miss Muffet (the only one old enough to really have an opinion) seems to like the resolution. I like the artwork a lot and would be interested to see more from this illustrator.

1 comment:

  1. These all sound good. I'm doing the Picture Book Challenge as well, and I surprisingly haven't run across one to use for the concept book category. I'll have to check out Round.