Friday, June 4, 2010

Another Picture Book Roundup

I've fallen behind in all the great new books that I'd like to review - so here's a quick take on a few of my new picture book favorites.

Waddell, Martin. 2010. Captain Small Pig. Illustrated by Susan Varley. Atlanta: Peachtree. (first published in the U.K., 2009)

This book had me from page one.
One day Old Goat and Turkey took Small Pig down to Blue Lake. They found a little red boat. "I want to go for a row!" Small Pig said, dancing about. "Turkeys don't go in boats," Turkey said. "Neither do goats," said old Goat, but he climbed into the boat, and they rowed off onto Blue Lake.
It doesn't matter that one cannot catch a whale in the lake, that Little Pig is too small to row, or that he is too small to steer, Turkey and Old Goat let him try. And when Little Pig is done trying, he's tired out... and he dreams, dreams 
of a lovely day out in a boat with good friends on Blue Lake...the day that he was Captain Small Pig.

And what could be better than that? The only lesson in this book is one for grownups - Let children try. It may aggravate you today, but it gives gives the lifelong gift of confidence and remembered joy.
A perfect pairing of cheerfully painted ink drawings and an enchanting story! Love it!

Yolen, Jane. 2010. All Star! Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever. Ill. by Jim Burke. New York: Philomel.

Paintings evocative of a bygone era grace this non-fiction, picture book for older readers and help to tell the story of baseball great, Honus Wagner, and his rare baseball card, last sold for nearly three million dollars.

Stories from his childhood (he worked in a coal mine for 79 cents a day) and his early career (to try out for his first professional job, he hopped a freight train and then ran to the field without uniform, glove or spikes), offer a glimpse into both his personality and the time period.  A great baseball story for independent readers or as a read-aloud for school-age baseball fans.

Harper, Charise Mericle. 2010. Pink Me Up. New York: Knopf.
What's a little bunny to do when she's got a "pink-nic" to attend and Mama's sick?  What else can she do but "pink up" Daddy?! 
I hold Daddy's hand because he is not used to being pink. "Don't worry, Daddy.  Being pink will be fun," I tell him.
Pink Me Up is pure pinkish fun.

Kimmel, Eric A. 2010. Joha Makes a Wish: A Middle Eastern Tale. Illustrated by Omar Rayyan. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish.

According to the author's note, Joha is a recurring character throughout the Arabic-speaking world."  He is what is sometimes termed a wise or divine fool.  In this humorous retelling of a classic folktale, Joha finds a magical wishing stick.  The stick, however, does not do what he wishes - in fact, quite the opposite!  After wishing for new red slippers to replace his old sandals,
He opened his eyes.  He looked down at his feet.  He did not have a pair of red leather slippers.  He did not have a pair of worn-out sandals, either.  His sandals had disappeared!
Can it get much worse?  Oh yes!  It can!  Delightfully told by Eric Kimmel and hilariously illustrated by Omar Rayyan.  Don't miss this one!

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