Sunday, August 28, 2011


I brought a bag full of picture books homne from the office Monday to read with fewer distractions. Here are the 8 that made the commute (they are well traveled books now).

THE UMBRELLA by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert (Lemniscat 2011) is a textless story of a dog who discovers a red umbrella. The wind carries him away on an adventure of a lifetime as he soars in the skies and also dives into the sea. As his adventure comes to an end, he abandons the umbrella. The closing endpaper shows the cat curiously sniffing the umbrella. <427>

SIX MEN by David McKee (NorthSouth 2011) tells of a group of six men who hire soldiers to protect their wealth. However, the six are not content simply to have soldiers simply standing guard. Events spiral out of control with predictable consequences. Tie this one to Mem Fox's FEATHERS AND FOOLS. <428>

The board book, SANTA'S NEW IDEA, by Nina Chen (NorthSouth) is a charming story about how one Christmas Santa allowed the toys to select the children to whom they would be gifted. So, when you spy a toy under the tree, know that it has been selected especially for you. I love this message in a time of over-commercialization. <429>

A wolf glares from the cover of I AM SO STRONG by Mario Ramos (Gecko Press 2011). As the wolf strides through the forest he encounters other creatures including three pigs seven dwarfs, and finally a tiny toad. All of the creatures save the strange looking toad agree that the wolf is the strongest and most fierce creature of all. When the last little creature dares to disagree, there is a surprise in store for the wolf and for readers. <430>

The subject of death is a tough one for books for children. International children's books, however, do not shy away as evidenced in DUCK, DEATH, AND THE TULIP by Wolf Erlbruch (Gecko Press 2011), a Hans Christian Anderson winner. Duck meets Death and the two become friends over the course of a summer. When Duck dies, we see Death mourn for his lost friend. The illustrations, simple in line, exude incredible pathos. <431>

Why do dogs wag tails, bark, sniff other dog's butts? Those questions and more are answered in DOGGY WHYS? by Lila Prap (NorthSouth 2011). The author is another Andersen winner for her illustrations. This book should serve as a splendid example of why she has been so honored. <432>

The simple board book COLORS by Charley Harper (Ammo Books 2011) is not that simple after all. Different colors appear on pages with illustrations that contain many other objects than the ones mentioned in the text. <433>

Having a father who is a shouter so upsets Helena, a talented musician, that she runs away from home and goes to live with another family. In BRAVO! by Moni Port and Philip Waechter (Gecko Press 2011), Helena's father learns the value of speaking without shouting (except of course when he is shouting BRAVO at Helena's concert). <434>

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