Can't Stop Reading

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

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Time for a picture book roundup!

First up: Waiting for Gregory by Kimberly Willis Holt. Though this book has a fairly traditional set up, it's weird. The narrator is waiting for her aunt to have a baby. But how long will it take? She gets various nonsense answers from family members, but no straight answers. She decides to while away the time thinking of things she will teach her new cousin Gregory.

That all seems fairly straightforward, I know. It's the illustrations that are weird. They're a combination of paintings and sketches by Gabi Swiatkowska. I've never seen anything like them in a picture book. They are definitely beautiful, and definitely unusual, taking this book from rather ordinary to an original.

Everyone's always looking for a new baby book, and this will be the one I'll be recommending from now on.

Next is Sally and the Some-Thing. Sally has a problem many kids can relate to: she's bored. So she decides to head to the pond, to try and catch something. Fortunately, something rather slimy and creepy pops its' head up, and Sally decides that, though she doesn't know what it is, the Some-Thing is definitely not boring.

The Some-Thing looks sort of like a really big frog, and it and Sally have a great time playing all day long. My only complaint about this book is Sally. She looks kind of like she belongs in a Disney movie. Her huge blue eyes remind me of those creepy drawings of kids with huge heads that old ladies seem to think are adorable. You know the ones? Other than that though, I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

I have only ever read those Wrinkle in Time books by Madeleine L'Engle, but today I noticed she seems to have a new picture book. It's called The Other Dog. I was a little disappointed about the lack of originality here. This is one of those new baby from the dog's perspective books, and there are already so many of those. This one is okay, I guess, but I certainly wouldn't run out and buy it. In fact, the best part of the book is the ending. L'Engle wrote a note about how the story is true, and tells us how she came to own a rather snobbish poodle in the first place. Other than that, I would say it's pretty pedestrian.

Hm, I seem to be doing a lot of "issue" books here today. On that note, next I've got Time to get Dressed by Elivia Savadier. This book cracks me up. You see, Solomon wants to get dressed himself. "Me!" he says. So he puts on his pants, but they're on his head, and he puts on his sock, but it goes on his hand. Meanwhile, the clock at the top of the page is ticking off the time, and Solomon's dad is getting a little frazzled. Eventually Daddy decides it's getting too close to the wire, and he says: "Me!" But now it's time for breakfast. Daddy's facial expression is priceless. Eventually, after a bit of an adventure with the cereal bowl, we find out "who's all dressed and ready to go? ME!" Adorable.

I am sort of torn about this next one. Mommy in My Pocket is yet another "issue" book. This time it's about a bunny who's nervous about going to school by herself. She imagines how much better it would be with her Mommy, and thinks about making a wish that her Mommy could be small enough to fit in her pocket. Then she imagines a day at school with Mommy in her pocket. I love Hiroe Nakata's illustrations. They are gorgeous watercolors, just slightly off. I also think the concept of the book is a good one. Being nervous about going to school books will always be around, and author Carol Hunt Sandarac has managed to find a fairly original way to look at it. Unfortunately her writing lets the whole thing down. It's awful. The language is unoriginal, and kind of grating, and the rhythm and rhymes are off. I always feel more upset when I read a bad book that could have been good, then a straightforwardly bad book. This is definitely one of those.

Waiting for Gregory written by Kimberly Willis Holt illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
ISBN 0805073884
32 pages

Sally and the Some-Thing written and illustrated by George O'Connor
ISBN 1596431415
32 pages

The Other Dog written by Madeleine L'Engle illustrated by Christine Davenier
ISBN 0811852288
40 pages

Time to Get Dressed written and illustrated by Elivia Savadier
ISBN 159643161X
32 pages

Mommy in my Pocket written by Carol Hunt Senderak illustrated by Hiroe Nakata
ISBN 0786855967
32 pages


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