Friday, January 6, 2012

Three New Picture Books from Kids Can Press

My Name is Elizabeth by Annika Dunklee, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

 Elizabeth is a girl who knows her own mind - and her own name. That name is not Lizzy or Beth, or Betsy. It is ELIZABETH!! Readers will cheer for enthusiastic and determined Elizabeth who finally gets everyone to acknowledge her name after suffering through a series of nicknames. She has a charming egotism, "I also like that there is a queen named after me" and Dunklee's text, a running dialogue between Elizabeth and her world, is perfect in tone and phrasing.

Forsythe's art, in black, orange, and blue, is delightful in line and style. Elizabeth is a perky young girl with a sassy pixie hair cut and indefatigable energy, moving through life with verve and a pet duck. There are little jokes and humorous asides throughout the pictures, but the focus never leaves Elizabeth who is always the focal point of each spread.

Verdict: A delightful debut for both author and illustrator, I highly recommend this title and look forward to more.

ISBN: 978-1-55453-560-6; Published September 2011 by Kids Can Press; Review copy provided by the publisher through Raab Associates

Kitten's Winter by Eugenie Fernandes
Fernandes finishes her quartet of season books on a high point with this story of Kitten's journey home. Running through the snow, sliding across the pond, slipping between the trees, Kitten passes numerous winter animals until she reaches her own cozy bed. Like Fernandes' other titles in this series, there is opportunity for endless discussion and seek and find fun in the pictures, looking for Kitten, discussing what different animals do in the winter, and find the subtle little elements in each spread - a blowing snowman's hat, an inquisitive bird, and more.

The artwork is a fascinating mixture of clay, collage, and acrylics, offering another opportunity for discussion and programming. Endless hours can be spent examining each page for all the different materials used and making your own kitten collages!

Verdict: The simple language in this last of the quartet is, as always, perfect for toddler storytimes, while the vibrant and complex art makes this a good book for discussion with older kids or for an example in art programming. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 978-155453-343-5; Published September 2011 by Kids Can Press; Review copy provided by publisher through Raab Associates; Purchased for the library

 Reaching by Judy Ann Sadler, illustrated by Susan Mitchell
Soft pastels show a large family expressing their love for Baby, from parents to cousins, grandparents to aunts and uncles. The rhythmic rhyming text swings Baby from one set of hands to another, playing, reading, and cuddling.

I'm not the best audience for this book, since I'm not a fan of rhyming picture books, "mommy love" picture books, or any combination thereof.

However, the pictures are sweet but not too saccharine, the rhymes are competent, and this will be a favorite with families who like to read these stories to their little ones.

Verdict: Recommended for library collections, just not for me. I prefer Sadler's many excellent craft books.

ISBN: 9781554534562; Published August 2011 by Kids Can Press; Review copy provided by the publisher through Raab Associates


Anonymous said...

I love the cover of My Name Is Elizabeth! That illustration alone makes me want to take a look at that book, but your review (and previous one at Fuse #8) seal the deal.

I find your succinct "verdict"s very helpful! I generally read blog posts pretty quickly.

Perogyo said...

I loved My Name Is Elizabeth!

I was considering getting Kitten's seasons books for my Nonfiction picture book challenge, but am not sure if it is actually nonfiction.

Jennifer said...

I wouldn't call them nonfiction. You could certainly use them to talk about seasons and animals with toddlers and preschoolers, but they're really picture books.

Kerry Aradhya said...

I also like the way you put your "verdicts" into your post. This is not the first time I've heard of My Name Is Elizabeth, either. I think I am going to have to check it out!