Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book Review: Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers

Book: Up and Down
Author: Oliver Jeffers
Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Published: 2010
Source: Local Library

There were once two friends, a penguin and a boy. The penguin wanted to fly. Like a true friend, the boy did his best to help his friend. When the penguin discovers a way to achieve his dream, he’s so excited that he rushes off without telling the boy where he’s going. As the penguin gets closer to flight, the boy gets more and more worried about his missing friend. Will he ever find him? And will the penguin succeed in his quest for flight?

What is it about Oliver Jeffers' books? Dreamy, sweet, a little kooky, they captivate me every time. The soft-edged watercolors act as a perfect complement to the just slightly off-center stories. Penguins wanting to fly is not new, but by means of a living cannonball? Genius. And the tender ending, with the penguin realizing his dream wasn’t exactly what it was cracked up to be, but the boy is there for him always. Awww.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book Review: Art and Max by David Wiesner

Book: Art and Max
Author: David Wiesner
Illustrator: David Wiesner
Published: 2010
Source: Local Library

Art is a very serious painter, and when pesky Max wants to paint too, his agreement is reluctant in the extreme. His doubts prove well-founded when Max doesn’t paint exactly the way Art thinks he should. But the little lizard's exuberance sets off an artistic free-for-all that will change more than Art’s mind.

Oh, like you haven’t heard about this one. It is David Wiesner, after all. But besides the brain-bending storyline that falls in line with his other reality-optional classics, there’s a real sibling vibe about Art and Max. Any kid reading is gong to identify with either the serious and rather pompous older brother or with the bright and curious and not-a-little copy-cat younger brother, or maybe both.

I tried this out in a storytime with school-age kids, and they were fascinated with the storyline and the bickering characters. This is a group that demonstrates their enjoyment of a book by reading it themselves afterwards, and I practically had to peel them off of Art and Max.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Reading Roundup: January 2012

By the Numbers
Picture Books: 32
Early Readers: 1

Library: all

Writing: The Scar by Charlotte Moundlic, illustrated by Oliver Tallec
Don't ever, ever read this in storytime. You'll be sobbing too hard. But if you're a believer in bibliotherapy, keep it on hand. This book follows a little boy after the death of his mother. Realistic in its portrayal of grief and acceptance, it'll be the right book for the kid who needs it.
Illustration: My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
Just looking at these animals, all created out of various sized hearts, is enough to make you want to cut out a stack of hearts and see what kind of wildlife you can create.
Overall: One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by David Small
When the extraordinarily dignified main character adopts a penguin from the zoo, he's faced with the problem of how to care for him, and rises to the occasion. Includes the funniest illustration of a gobsmacked librarian I've ever seen.

Because I Want To Awards
Because Names Are Important!: My Name is Elizabeth by Annika Dunklee, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
Elizabeth prefers to be called just that. But she has to put up with various incarnations of her name, until the day she puts her foot down and declares that she is to be called Elizabeth! With an exception made in one special case.
The Most Incredible Little-Boy Book: Dinosaur Dig! by Penny Dale
There are dinosaurs and construction vehicles. How can you lose? Tailor made for the vast majority of little boys, and quite a few little girls too.