We have found a few more winners at the Whittier Public Library. This time around, Phil observed that we encountered a book with a villain (The Three Little Rigs). Now that Phil has mentioned it, very few books for a two-year-old audience have villains. Could it be that the two-year-old world of literature is lacking in this area? I hesitate to say so because I've skipped over all those books about monsters under the bed.
I'm beginning to notice many repeated concepts in children's literature: wordless books about shapes or lines or shadows that come to life, grandmother stories about sweet bears or bunnies (I call these grandmother books because I imagine a little old lady finally becoming a grandmother and she's so excited that she writes a story about a nice, soft, sweet animal that will bore parents to tears.), Polar bear books that seem written by an environmentalist who never had children, and wannabe poetry books that like to say things like, "The truck ground its gears like a giant grunting," or "Taste the colors of the sunset," or "The planes flew by, roaring, rumbling, buzzing, zooming." Um, have these authors forgotten that they're writing for children?
So here are the stories that have my praise this month. Favorite library finds:
George Flies South by Simon James. Lovely watercolored book about a bird that hasn't learned how to fly yet. The layout and text was well thought out. Lee enjoyed this one. (Book Rating: 7)
Red Sled by Lita Judge. Another watercolored masterpiece about a bear that borrows a red sled for a night. No text. The pictures said it all. Excellent composition. (Book Rating: 7)
Acutal Size by Steve Jenkins. A large picture book that showed the actual sizes of creatures' body parts. Book included educational facts for the parents to enjoy. Lee wasn't so interested in this one but his parents were. (Book Rating 7)
Not Inside this House! By Kevin Lewis. Clever story about a boy named Livingstone Magellan Crouse who keeps bringing home larger and larger animals. Unique illustrations. Lee liked to laugh at this one. (Book Rating: 10)
Warning, Do not Open This Book! by Adam Lehrhaupt. Another clever story that asks the reader not to let the monkeys out. Has an excellent ending that compelled Lee to ask for the book again and again. (Book Rating: 10)
The Three Little Rigs by David Gordon. The story with a villain. A play off the three little pigs. Great illustrations with excellent color and composition. Why am I not surprised to hear that David Gordon also did concept work for Pixar. (Book Rating: 10)
Ice by Arthur Geisert. Wordless picture book with clever line drawings. Phil said that if he were ever to write a children's book, the pictures would look like Arthur Geisert's. This story is about an island of pigs who are trying to escape the heat. (Book Rating: 9)
The Giant Seed by Authur Geisert. Another clever wordless book about an island of pigs who are trying to escape a volcano. (Book Rating 9)
Ox-cart Man by Donald Hall. Poetic cyclical story about a man and his family who work all winter in order to sell all they have at Portsmouth in the fall. This story makes work seems simple and beautiful. It was a bit dull for children, but read with the right cadence and voice inflection, we were able to keep Lee interested. (Book Rating: 9)