I’ve had a pile of picture books that I’ve been meaning to talk about, so here we go, in no particular order:
A Wild Father’s Day by Sean Callahan
Inspired by a card that reads “Have a Wild Father’s Day,” the dad and two kids in this book act like various animals–running like cheetahs, swimming like dolphins, and swinging like monkeys. The text and art are both simple and bold. It would have been nice if the family had been more multicultural, but as it stands this book would work well in a family themed toddler storytime–because all the action will keep kids engaged and moving–or in a Father’s Day storytime for any age. Review copy provided by publisher.
Rapunzel illustrated and retold by Sarah Gibb
Now that Rapunzel has been Disneyfied it might be harder to get a beautiful book like this into the hands of princess crazy readers, which is a shame. Still, Gibb’s bright, stylized art* is akin to some of the best of Disney (it reminds me a lot of Sleeping Beauty, actually), so if you try hand-selling it to Disney-fanatics you’re very likely to succeed. The retelling itself is serviceable, and definitely suited towards a more tender audience (while I, jaded adult that I am, am more of a fan of versions with the questionable sex and twin babies). I am pleased to report that the prince’s eyes are still destroyed by thorns and healed with tears, so I’ll graciously accept the absence of the sex in a children’s picture book. Review copy provided by publisher. *You can see some of the art over at SLJ.
E-mergency by Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields-Meyer
It’s an E-mergency! The letter E took a tumble and the only way to get her back on her foot is for people to stop using her. But who can take her place? The other letters have to make a decision ASAP. Z is too sleepy and Y asks way too many questions. Thankfully, O rolls in to try and save the day. Now E can rost up and got bottor . . . as long as ovorybody follows the rulos. Chock-full of verbal and visual puns, this zany book is sure to tickle both the brain and the funny bone.
This book would make a great pairing with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and even Dr. Suess’s ABC. A Call for a New Alphabet by Jef Czeka would be a good title to send home with kids. Review copy from publisher.
Tom’s co-author, Ezra, has an interesting story (also taken from the publisher’s website):
Ezra Fields-Meyer is a high school student and an expert on animated movies and animals. He is the creator of the animated short “Alphabet House,” which inspired this book[.]
Here’s the short, if you’re interested:
A Dog is a Dog by Stephen Shaskan
Wow. This book is…bizarre. In the best way. You know I like weird (Square Cat, another weird picture book, is one of my more recent favorites and would pair well in a storytime with this book) and Shaskan’s first picture book has weirdness in spades.
It starts off innocently enough, telling us “[a] dog is a dog, whether naughty or nice. Whether it suns on the beach, or glides on the ice. A dog is a dog, if it’s skinny or fat. A dog is a dog unless it’s a….CAT!” (You can see the charmingly horrific image of a cat crawling out of a dog suit here at the publisher’s website.)
My new favorite thing to do with picture books is to read them aloud to a trio of eighth graders who tend to hang out at the youth desk after school. These kids are awesome and funny and appreciate Doctor Who, so they’re the perfect test audience for quirky picture books like this. The general consensus: awesome. And messed up. But mostly awesome.
This would be a good book to toss into a costume/imagination storytime, or pair it with other multiple level picture books like Cow,Too and There Are Cats in this Book. Review copy provided by publisher.