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Picture Books for Kids. Book Suggestions – 02/21/13

Posted on: Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Our blog this week is about picture books.  They aren’t just for little kids.  Older kids and even adults can get a laugh out of the some of the pictures and stories.  Here are few well known ones for the whole family.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is for kids aged 4 – 8.  “In the forty years since Max first cried “Let the wild rumpus start,” Maurice Sendak’s classic picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children’s books of all time. …  Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up.  If you disagree, then it’s been too long since you’ve attended a wild rumpus. Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and gets sent to bed without supper.  Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired.  Sendak’s color illustrations (perhaps his finest) are beautiful, and each turn of the page brings the discovery of a new wonder.

The wild things–with their mismatched parts and giant eyes–manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they’re downright hilarious.  Sendak’s defiantly run-on sentences–one of his trademarks–lend the perfect touch of stream of consciousness to the tale, which floats between the land of dreams and a child’s imagination.

This Sendak classic is more fun than you’ve ever had in a wolf suit, and it manages to reaffirm the notion that there’s no place like home.”  Review from Amazon.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Williams is for kids in Preschool-Grade 2.  A brilliantly simple book that is absolutely true to life, as anyone who interacts with an obdurate three-year-old can attest.  The bus driver has to leave for a while, and he makes one request of readers: “Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus.”  It’s the height of common sense, but the driver clearly knows this determined pigeon and readers do not-yet.  “Hey, can I drive the bus?” asks the bird, at first all sweet reason, and then, having clearly been told no by readers, he begins his ever-escalating, increasingly silly bargaining.  “I tell you what: I’ll just steer,” and “I never get to do anything,” then “No fair!  I bet your mom would let me.”  In a wonderfully expressive spread, the pigeon finally loses it, and, feathers flying and eyeballs popping, screams “LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!!!” in huge, scratchy, black-and-yellow capital letters.  The driver returns, and the pigeon leaves in a funk-until he spies a huge tractor trailer, and dares to dream again.  Like David Shannon’s No, David (Scholastic, 1998), Pigeon is an unflinching and hilarious look at a child’s potential for mischief.  In a plain palette, with childishly elemental line drawings, Williams has captured the essence of unreasonableness in the very young.  The genius of this book is that the very young will actually recognize themselves in it.  Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools, Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.”  Review from Amazon.

James Marshall’s Cinderella Adapted by Barbara Karlin is for kids aged 4 – 8.  “Preschool-Grade 4– Retold and illustrated with wit and humor, this is an excellent story time version of the favorite fairy tale.  Although lacking some of the sparkle of Marshall’s Red Riding Hood (1987) and Goldilocks and the Three Bears (1988, both Dial), Karlin’s language is effective and Marshall’s illustrations droll: Cinderella’s father marries a “horrid woman” because he doesn’t know “the ways of the world;” and Marshall’s barefoot prince lounges in a hammock hooked on a marble statue.  The full-page illustrations are clear and easily seen in a group setting.  Using a minimum of lines, Marshall makes every face expressive and articulate (his fat rat is hilarious).  This is a strong addition to any picture book collection.  With large text and generous amounts of white space, it doubles easily as transitional material as well.  Solid, useful, and great fun.  –Janice M. Del Negro, Chicago Public Library, Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.”  Review from Amazon.

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