Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Picture book roundup - upcoming, new, and translated

Here are a few books that have recently come to my attention—one upcoming, one fairly new, and one newly translated.

Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog 
By Lisa Papp
Peachtree, 2019

Sometimes a second book in a series doesn't measure up to the first. Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog not only measures up, it surpasses Madeline Finn and the Library Dog. It's a wonderful story of dog adoption, volunteering, responsibility, reading, and libraries. What's not to love?

Due on shelves near you in March, 2019.

There's a Dinosaur on the Thirteenth Floor
By Wade Bradford
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Candlewick, 2018

A smartly dressed bellhop, old-fashioned phones, and the slicked back hair, pince-nez, and bow-tie of Mr. Snore set up the retro atmosphere of this book on the first pages. Mr. Snore’s immediate need is also quickly apparent,

“Welcome to the Sharemore Hotel,” said the bellhop.
“You must be Mr. Snore. Let me show you to your room.”

“The sooner the better,” said Mr. Snore.
“I am very” —YAWN—“sleepy.”

But, alas, Mr. Snore is destined to have a long night before he finally finds a place to rest his head—and his hysterically large nose! On each floor, Mr. Snore finds himself paired with an unsuitable roommate, prompting continued calls to the ever-cheerful bellhop.

The generous 10x11 size of this book is the perfect showcase for this delightful high-rise hotel and its unusual occupants. Over-the-top illustrations are a perfect complement for often understated, but droll dialogue,

“How do you feel about bees?” asked the bellhop.
“The same way I feel about spiders,” said Mr. Snore.
“Please skip the sixth floor.”

The expressions of creatures and humans are priceless, popping in bright acrylics and ink. Even with the spoiler in its title, There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor will still surprise you!

Hello Lilac — Good Morning, Yellow
by Judith Drews

Hello Lilac — Good Morning, Yellow is a book about colors that's perfect for very young listeners and sure to invite conversation and participation. Each color is featured on a two-page illustration with a very simple introduction,
"Good day, Brown. You look so cuddly."
On the facing page, you will find things that are commonly in that color, e.g., soil, basket, door, bun

What is so interesting in this book translated from German, is the phrasing and choice of items.  For example, orange's page says
"Dear Orange,  I prefer to eat you cold."
An unusual sentiment, but understandable from a child's point of view.  What child doesn't prefer a crisp carrot or juicy orange to cooked squash?

On the brown page, in addition to the above, you will find poop (!).  On the white page, amidst the more common items (snowman, egg, bone, sheep), you'll find toilet paper, a syringe, and a plug.  These choices seem peculiar, but they give us an insight into parenting in Germany, and they reflect the wide variety of items that kids will actually see, whether we choose to point them out or not!  Also making them more endearing is the fact that they are drawn in a manner similar to a child's drawing.

So, go ahead - point out those jellyfish, trophies, bird cages, screws, and gnats.  I'm sure it will result in some interesting conversation! The more I look at it, the more it grows on me. Peek inside Hello Lilac Good Morning, Yellow

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