Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Okay, so I haven't done any picture books yet, and a few brand-new ones came in today, so I'll talk about those ones.

First off is Mabel's Magical Garden by Paula Metcalf. It is one of those messagey books about sharing that I generally loathe. However, Metcalf is a great illustrator, so I will only say that I rather disliked it. Mabel has a garden of beautiful flowers, and a couple of great friends to share it with (Nigel, a blue . . . wombat? I'm not really sure what he is, and George, a lovely looking giraffe). Mabel gets jealous when the same flowers spontaneously grow chez Nigel and George's place. So she gets all paranoid and builds a huge wall, and predictably, the flowers suffer. All ends well, like I said, and the friends enjoy "the most delicious picnic Nigel and George had ever tasted." Like I said, it's a little sick-making, but the illustrations really are great.

Next up is Waking Day a poem by Constance Morgenstern (with fine art by Monet and friends). I loved this book the first time I read it. It takes a poem about, well, duh, the waking day, and pairs each line of the poem with a gorgeously reproduced impressionist painting that suits it. However, the book also includes the poem all together on one page, and yech is it bad! But so good when all separated! So just avoid that page and you'll be all set. The end of the book also features mini-biographies of all the artists whose works are included. It also features the worst author's photo I've ever seen! Get some new clothes, Constance! This one would be great to read with just one child methinks; it is a bit too slow moving to read to a group, but definitely a gorgeous edition.

Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku by Paul B. Janeczko is third. Let me just say, Janeczko could write a grocery list and I would love it. I wish that I had been able to read something like this when I was younger, as it might have prevented a life-long aversion to poetry. What I really enjoy about this book is that it does a good job of introducing the form of the haiku to aspiring poets, without the boring nature themes usually associated with it. My favourite is "Irksome mosquito/ Kindly sing your evening song/ in my brother's ear"! How cool is that?! When I was in school we were writing about leaves and stuff. I also have to give props to illustrator Tricia Tusa. She does a fabulous job of drawing exactly the words in hilarious pen and watercolour illustrations. I know its in hardcover still, but go out and buy this book!

Last today is Art by Patrick McDonnell, he of the Muts comic strip fame. This book is a hilarious (though not as hilarious as Jon Scieszka's Seen Art?) play on words as the little boy Art creates lots of art. "He draws scribbles that squiggle" don't you know? McDonnell has created a wonderfully simple book, by using only red, yellow and blue watercolours, and keeping the background a stark white throughout. Frankly, though I really liked the book, and I think a lot of kids would get a kick out of the world play, the thick white paper is maybe just too nice for grubby hands? The theme of the book encourages kids to get creative, but I think the book itself would have parents shouting gentle! gentle! But that could just be me.

So that should tide you over for a bit anyways.

Mabel's Magical Garden written and illustrated by Paula Metcalf
ISBN 1405047771
32 pages

Waking Day written by Constance Morgenstern illustrated by "Monet and Friends"
ISBN 1559719192
32 pages

Wing Nuts: Screwy Haiku written by Paul B. Janeczko & J. Patrick Lewis illustrated by Tricia Tusa
ISBN 0316607312
32 pages

Art written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
ISBN 031611491X
48 pages


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