Thanks to recent developments, I love love love the library again. (Although I still prefer bookstores - they're less expensive!) The books I pulled off the New Picture Books section today: Yard Sale by Eve Bunting (love her!), illustrated by Lauren Castillo, Are We There Yeti? by Ashlyn Anstee, and Flowers Are Calling by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak. Now for my writerly thoughts (pics take you to amazon links, affiliate style).
Yard Sale (Bunting/Castillo, 2015): Firstly, the touch of the book: I absolutely love it. I'm extremely tactile, have been known to go to Joann just to run my hands through the fabrics, so when I come across a book with feel-good pages I'm very very happy. The paper is heavy, matte, pleasureful to touch and turn. Paper combined with the deceptively simple illustrations lend the book a retro 1980s feel. Which really matches the story, because the economy in the 80s was rotten, and life was just kinda depressing (for my family, anyhow). The illustrations perfectly blend with the mood Bunting creates, but don't make the story melodramatic or caricatured, if that makes sense.
The story itself is beautiful, the writing straightforward, the aboutness clear and moving. For those studying picture books, this would be a good one to re-type, storyboard and dissect.
Flowers Are Calling (Gray/Pak, 2015): Those same fabulous matte pages which are essential for the absolute drop dead gorgeousness of these illustrations. The illustrations are really truly glorious. I wanted to frame them and hang them all over my house! Now, may I confess something? I didn't understand the text until I read the jacket copy (which I read precisely because I didn't understand the text). I may very well be that slow, but as I read I kept thinking,
Why aren't the flowers calling the porcupine? Is he hidden in the picture? No, he's not, so why...
Apparently Rowdy thought the same, because somewhere around the moose she wiggled off my lap and wandered off to play. She may be (at 3.5) on the young side for this book. However, this is one I'll use with my older children when we talk about plants/pollination later this school year. Rarely do education and beauty meld into such a perfect harmony.
Are We There Yeti? (Anstee, 2015): Another one with a great feel to the pages. Yay! I'll admit, I was skeptical of this book because I wasn't sure Rowdy would "get" the pun. But she totally did and spent the rest of the day saying, "Are we there YETI?" and laughing like a maniac. How awesome is that? I think she loved the pictures too, and the mystery (what's in the cave? oooh more yetis!!!), and the kids being impatient on the bus.
This is a great book to study suspense, how a picture book needs to build it up then resolve it in a satisfying way (this one does both exceptionally well).