Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quick Reviews: Clearing off the picturebook shelf

I have a giant pile of picture books from the library I've just read through - some of them I'll be giving longer reviews, but some I didn't really have more than a couple quick thoughts...
  • Red Green Blue: A first book of colors by Alison Jay Another lovely delight from Alison Jay. Colors are presented in a variety of nursery rhymes and Mother Goose stories, with a handy guide to the stories at the back. I hope to purchase this eventually for our concept books collection.
  • Push Button by Aliki The pictures are bright and charming, but I thought the rhyme was rough and I'm always doubtful about books with a "message." Plenty of other libraries in our consortium ordered it, I don't feel I need to.
  • Too Pickley! by Jean Reidy, illustrated by Genevieve Leloup I liked the author's earlier book, Too Purpley and had hoped to order this one, about a picky eater, but was disappointed in the ending - it never shows what the food is that he DOES like. Probably won't order it now.
  • Bear at home by Stella Blackstone I borrowed this to look at because the new Spanish version, Oso en casa is on the Junior Library Guild's pick list for the fall. It's a very simple story, exploring the rooms in a house, that would be perfect for toddler storytime. I was a little taken aback at the size of bear's house - but that's a personal quibble. I see there's a board book version, which would be just right for us. Added to the wishlist!
  • Letters from a desperate dog by Eileen Christelow JLG also had a sequel to this picture book on their list, so I got the first one to look at. It was ok, nice classic Christelow illustrations, a dog gets constantly yelled at by his master so he asks an advice columnist for help and eventually becomes a big theater star, only to discover he really misses his master - sort of. The dog as a member of society was kinda funny, but I didn't feel strongly enough about this one to add it to the order list.
  • Let's make a joyful noise: Celebrating Psalm 100 by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Amy June Bates I couldn't figure out the rhythm of the poetry in this book - it seemed very choppy. The art was ok, lots of earth tones and movement. I do occasionally buy religious-themed picture books I think our patrons will enjoy, and I'll consider this one because it has several holds on it and Karma Wilson is popular, but it wouldn't be a choice of my own. I liked her Mortimer books better.
  • The Three Little Pigs: An architectural tale by Steven Guarnaccia I was really surprised by how much I liked this one. Usually, I put books like these in the "picture books for grownups" category, but this one was good! All of the architectural gags are in the illustrations, and there's a key on the end pages so you can search for the different styles and objects, something even a child uninterested or uninformed about architecture will enjoy. The story itself is the traditional tale - plus the extra bits about the orchard and the fair! told with a fresh verve that keeps the traditional quality of the storyline and makes it a great read-aloud. I'm going to double-check how many three little pig versions we have and hopefully add this one - Recommended
  • Frog in the bog by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Joan Rankin I really liked Wilson's rhythm in this rhyming story, but I couldn't like the illustrations - I thought they looked like the book had been left out in the rain and then scribbled on by a child. I recently bought Scott Fischer's Jump, which has a slightly similar theme, rollicking rhyme, and brisk, clear, colorful pictures, so I definitely don't need this one.
  • Yucky Worms by Vivian French, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg I liked this one well enough - I also liked Carol Brendler's Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer. I don't like either of them enough to purchase them. Just, I don't know, missing something. I'll like about them some more, maybe make a decision later. Both good books on worms, Winnie is more humorous, Yucky is more informational.
  • Bones by Steve Jenkins Technically, this is a nonfiction, but I usually use Steve Jenkins for interactive read-alouds, so counting this as a picture book. I don't know why I didn't really like this one. It's classic Jenkins, I have tons of kids wanting skeleton books, it just didn't really grab me. Maybe because I couldn't immediately see it as a read-aloud, which I always have for his other books. I read Down Down Down with preschoolers and it's a hit! Irregardless of my personal malaise, I will buy this one eventually. 'Cause, you know, skeletons, Steve Jenkins, it's good.
  • The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Marcellus Hall. This one I LIKE. Strong, infectious rhymes, blocky, colorful pictures with lots of strong lines and humor, this is going to be a storytime favorite for a long time. I'm glad I ordered it for the library - Recommended.
  • Whopper Cake by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand Abstractly, I can see this could be fun and popular. Personally, I'm not really a Hillenbrand fan, too busy for my tastes I guess? But I'll add it to the picture book wishlist.
That's it for now! I still have (as you can see) a large list to be read and reviewed, lots of misc. fun things coming up!


Amy said...

My toddler loves Bear at Home! I'm okay with the size of the house, but I wonder why Bear, who seems like a child, lives alone with his cat. We have maybe read it a few too many times.

Jennifer said...

Hmm, I hadn't thought of that. Odd. But it certainly is the perfect toddler book!

Brimful Curiosities said...

Been wondering about the cow loves cookies book. My kids like cows so will definitely look for at after your recommendation.

Jennifer said...

Oh yes, take a look. It's quite funny! You'll probably have to bake some cookies afterwards though (-:)