Saturday, October 27, 2012

Picture Book Saturday (39)

The Magical Life of Mr. Renny
By Leo Timmers
Published 2012 by Gecko Press
This was a sweet little book about Mr. Renny, a painter who uncovers a magical gift. But Mr. Renny will soon learn about what's truly important in life. I love the illustrations in this one - they are vibrant and eye-catching and will definitely appeal to kids. I think the book has a good message and is very reminiscent of some traditional folk tales.

Cat Tale
By Michael Hall
Published 2012 by Greenwillow Books
I really loved My Heart is a Zoo so I was excited to see this new book from Hall. Personally, I didn't love it quite as much, though I think it's a great book. The illustrations are beautiful - I love Hall's style. And this is a fantastic book for language development with its target audience - highlighting homophones and homonyms in a fun and interesting story. But this book didn't make me go all cross-eyed with cute and cuddly like My Heart is a Zoo did. However, I think this would be a wonderful book to share one on one with a child as they learn about language.

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses
By Ian Falconer
Published 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Everyone's favorite darling porcine heroine is back and she is having a bit of a crisis. It seems everyone wants to be a pink princess, but Olivia knows better. Maybe she still wants to be a princess, but there are many kinds out there. Just which one is right for her? I absolutely loved the first Olivia book (like many people, I think) and have always looked forward to the next installment of her adventures. I think this may be my new favorite. I just love everything about it - the illustrations are brilliant and intricate as always, the humor is spot-on (even for adults reading with their kids) and the message is great. Truly a wonderful new title.

I'm Bored
By Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Published 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
I like Michael Ian Black - I think he's funny (though my boyfriend would disagree) and he's produced some quality picture books. But I did not await this with the fervor my former supervisor did. In hindsight, maybe I should have. This is a delightful book that had me laughing out loud on nearly every page as a young girl tries to persuade a potato (yes, a potato) that being a kid is anything but boring. I think this would be a fabulous storytime book - the kids would love seeing the extremes to which the little girl goes to prove her point. And the illustrations are phenomenal - tons of white space (focusing almost exclusively on the characters) and a clear but subtle distinction between what is real and what is imaginary. I'll definitely be looking forward to the next Black book now.

Halloween Forest
By Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by John Shelley
Published 2012 by Holiday House
I will pick up just about any book about Halloween because I love scary things and monsters and it's my favorite holiday. Unfortunately, this book just wasn't that great. I'm writing this review a couple weeks after having read it and I can't recall all that much about it. It was just sort of a blah read. I feel like it was slightly more creepy than many Halloween picture books but not really creepy enough to satisfy my belief that children need to be exposed to scary things.

Trick or Treat
By Leo Landry
Published 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Oliver the ghost waits all year for Halloween but this year he's in for a surprise. One of his invitations lands in the hands of two boys from down the street. Will they be scared away by Oliver's supernatural friends? This book is pretty much exactly what I was talking about - a completely non-scary Halloween tale for kids. It's a cute story about making friends with people who are very different than us and will definitely get children in the mood for the holiday. But it wasn't an outstanding book and left me wanting something scary.

Just Say Boo!
By Susan Hood, illustrated by Jed Henry
Published 2012 by HarperCollins
This was probably my favorite of the three Halloween books I read at the same time. It teaches a little bit of etiquette while also practicing Halloween vocabulary and getting kids excited for the fun of the holiday. Though it is another of the not-scary Halloween books for kids, it's so darn cute that I don't mind. The illustrations are sweet and this is sure to have kids shouting along. Very cute.

You Are My Miracle
By Maryann Cusimano Love, illustrated by Satomi Ichikawa
Published 2005 by Philomel
I was not expecting to like this book. I expected it to be cheesy and eyeroll-inducing. I was wrong. This is a perfectly sweet little book about the love of a parent and child around Christmastime. I like that the author highlights different holiday activities to explain what the child means to their parent. It's very effective at showcasing the special relationship as well as evoking the holiday. This would make a lovely present for new parents.

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