Monday, April 10, 2017

May Picture Book Round-up

Walker's new releases for May have had an unusually high success rate in this household; I count on at least one review copy fizzing with us -- because every book isn't for every-one -- but May's collection is striking lots of keys around here.  Here are Esky (almost 8), Mia (almost 4), and Ivy (almost 6) with their favourites from today's round-up (I use pseudonyms).  That's a lot of "almosts," I know; we're entering our birthday season around here, beginning with my mother's birthday, today.  (Happy birthday, Mama!)
Poor Louie, Tony Fucile
Esky's favourite.  While we read this, I was thinking of the short that preceded Big Hero 6, Feast.  It also at the first resembled quite a few "Oh-no-my-mum-is-pregnant" books written with surly younger siblings sounding out the "reasonable" struggles faced as a family changes. (Although: my daughters never complained about any additions we've made -- quite the opposite, they were as smitten as we were and now wish we'd hurry up and give them another baby to fuss over).  Some of those "reasonable" struggle books resemble tantrum books for me -- not my favourite.  If a family hasn't experienced negative responses to pregnancy or a newborn, who wants to suggest negative responses are reasonable?  But something about a dog feeling anxiety about a new arrival reduces the power of suggestion.  It is funny.  Really funny.  The pity party doesn't come across like solidarity / therapy for parents with older sibling woes, it reads like a comic strip.   A heart-warming one to boot. This book took me by surprise and I can see why Esky likes it so much.  Winner.
Ambulance, Ambulance! Sally Sutton and Brian Lovelock
The youngest locked onto this one.  I pegged it to be the fizzer for the month, but the percussive text was better than I expected.  Mia likes rhythmic readings, and the repeated, full-page onomatopoeia injected some irresistible added fun ("Nee nar nee nar...")  When we closed it, I asked Esky what she thought, and she said, "I think it teaches some stuff about ambulances."  Well then!  The employment of a circular narrative also works well with this story and I agree with Esky -- it does capture a  nutshell-version of a day in the life of a paramedic.
Can't Catch Me, Timonthy Knapman & Simona Ciraolo
This is basically a Gingerbread Man retelling.  I'm fine with that.  Ivy is more than fine with it --  this is her favourite book 100% because of its ending, which I agree, is pretty satisfying.  The show-off mouse had it coming.  The rich selection of verbs used jumped out at me.  The illustrations aren't my favourite, but overall the book's a winner for making us all exchange thrilled expressions when we snap the cover closed. 
Raymond, Yann & Gwendal Le Bec
Of all May's newcomers, this is my girls' least favourite...but I loved it!  And that fairly sums up the humour and illustration style.  The book itself looks and feels like it belongs on coffee tables...and the humour tickles adults more than young ones (you can see from the cover that Raymond is reading "Dogue."  Whoosh! - over my girls' heads.)  I think this is one that 10-year-olds+ will smirk through while their parents chuckle reading it to younger siblings -- so a great book if you have a great age spread amongst kids.  It shares a lot with Mr Tiger Goes Wild, but I like it more (the girls feel the opposite).  They didn't dislike it, but they were more taken with other books coming in May.  A great addition for a discerning family who appreciates allusions (including brownstone apartment-fronts) and tongue-in-cheek. 
Nanna's Button Tin, Dianne Wolfer & Heather Potter
What a sentimental darling of a book this is.  All three girls enjoyed Nanna's Button Tin, down to its finer details -- Mia thought the patterns on the button tin itself were something special.  We all found the caricatures very cute.  I love when stories like this remind children (and sometimes adults!) that Nanas were young once!  (That's how we spell "Nana.")  Each button represents a story and presents flashbacks for Nanna.  It's a very sweet idea, made stronger for a secondary motive for exploring the button collection.
Where's Wally? The Colouring Collection, Martin Handford
It isn't only my family's birthday season, it's Wally's!  *party blower*  The release of this sturdy, travel-sized, elastic-belted colouring book marks 30 years we've been searching for Wally (+ friends and items).  With a market saturated with highly detailed nature and fairy colouring books, it's nice to find a complex-colouring alternative with a unique edge.  Having done my first years in the States, I scoured pages for Waldo, but the fervour for finding felt very much the same.  I love the idea of exploring Handford's illustrations in a whole new way, by being a part of their creation!  The only downside I found was the black lines look a touch pixlated.  All three girls are very keen to get colouring in this one...and I feel like hiding it and saving it for myself.  It is lovely to hold and would make a great gift for a Wally fan you know.

So May's a great month to go book shopping, there's a flush of new titles worth taking home. 

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