Monday, March 28, 2011

Stack-Buster #1

When I became a children's librarian again, I thought I would be reading and reviewing picture books more than ever. Well, I was half-right. Between storytimes, helping people in the children’s area, and awesome new stuff that comes in, I always have a stack of picture books sitting on my desk waiting for my perusal. I do manage to read them, and I always set aside my favorites to review. Here’s my stack of “favorites to review":


Hence, my newest bloggy brainchild: stack-buster posts. Not full reviews, but short snippets of what I like best about the book. I've already found that snippets are enough for some, and with other books, I just keep writing and those have turned into full reviews that I can post at some other time. The secret seems to be BIC - Butt in Chair. As many times as I've realized that over the years, you'd think it would have sunk in by now.

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

At once a story of social pressure, identity, and number concepts, Otoshi’s story of how the most valueless number learns to see value in herself is more interesting than you could ever imagine. I also love the gloriously simple art, just numbers on black paper. Number recognition, anybody?

The Spider and the Fly, by Mary Howitt, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
The classic Victorian cautionary tale by Mary Howitt gets an update in this marvelous black-and-white picture book. DiTerlizzi’s illustrations call to mind silent movies, and they’re full of deliciously gruesome details. Watch as the Fly, for all her second-hand wisdom, gets suckered into the wily Spider’s web and meets a sticky end.

Ernest, the Moose Who Doesn’t Fit by Catherine Rayner
Ernest is a moose who doesn’t fit. You may have guessed this already. It’s not that he doesn’t fit into his shoes, say, or his classroom. Those have been done. No, poor Ernest doesn’t fit into the whole dadblamed book! He is simply too big for his entire moosey body to fit in at one time. Oh, dear!

Rayner’s watercolors of the befuddled, yet determined moose and his helpful chipmunk friend pair just right with her text, which uses alliterations (shimmy, shift, shuffle; squidge, squodge, and squeeze) to make it a wonderfully fun read-aloud. The final solution isn’t a total surprise, but it is delightful. I think I need to do a moose storytime soon. Very soon.

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