Friday, April 17, 2009

Picture Book: Come Back, Cat

Steven Kellogg's art is immediately recognizable in this friendly tale of kids and cats. A preschooler learns that chasing after a cat will never work: cats are independent creatures, and would rather come to you!
The simple tale can be clearly applied to other types of relationships and friendships. As the little girl in the story interacts with the cat, she learns that she must watch to see what he likes or doesn't like. When she learns to put herself in the cat's shoes (paws?) she is able to sit quietly, and let the cat come to her. This is a powerful tale for building empathy, and learning about how to be a good friend.
Picture Book
Ages 3-6
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Picture Book: Posy

The art in this short, rhyming picture book is definitely the star of the show. Kitten Posy is drawn with scribbly squiggles that perfectly illsutrates her constant energetic movement. With only four words per page, author Linda Newbery and artist Catherine Rayner manage to capture Posy in typically cute kitten pursuits. She's a "Whiskers wiper/Crayon swiper/Spider catcher/Sofa scratcher!"
Large amounts of white space give Posy room to shine, and the soft, earth coloured tones are very appealing. This book is a pleasure to read, particularly if you love cats.
Picture Book
Ages 0-3
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Picture Book: The I Love You Book

Todd Parr has done it again, creating a hilarious yet charming picture book in his signature bright cartoon style. With clear, easy to interpret pictures and very simple text (I love you when you are silly/I love you when you are sad), this book will appeal to the youngest of children.

The best part about this book is how it speaks to an adult sense of humour even while it delivers a reassuring message of love to children. The adults in the book retain a consistent cartoon smile, despite the varying expressions of the kids. (e.g. the baby in the "I love you when you share" frame is none too happy!) Definitely worth a look.

Picture Book
Ages 0-4
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Picture Book: The Surprise

Wordless picture books invite kids to use their own imaginations, and make up the story as they go. There's no better way to support narrative skills, one of the most important parts of literacy.

The Surprise is a lovely story about a sheep who is making a present for his friend Giraffe. Kids will wonder what's happening in the first few pages, as Sheep checks his fleece in the mirror, and goes off on his red scooter to the dye store. Some might even want to dye their own hair, just like Sheep does; it takes him a long time, but finally the bright red wool is spun and knitted into a beautiful scarlet sweater. It's just the right size for Giraffe, who rewards a blushing Sheep with a kiss.

A very simple tale of friendship, and an illustration of how the most thoughtful gifts are those that we make ourselves. Suitable for older preschoolers and younger grade schoolers.

Wordless picture book
Ages 4-7
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Picture Book: Doctor Ted

Poor Ted! He bumped his knee one morning, and there were no doctors available in his house. What to do? Well, why not just become the doctor himself!
Ted proceeds to search out patients in his home and in his kindergarten class. Unfortunately, his bedside manner is somewhat lacking. His mom's measles turn out to be freckles, and his teacher's mumps are just her chubby cheeks. When the principal comes to talk to him, Ted prescribes him a shot and a full body cast for his gingivitis and bad breath. Ted went home early that day.
But when an emergency happens, the whole school is very glad to have Ted around. Mission accomplished, Ted packs up his stethoscope, ready for the next adventure. The cartoony, fun pictures are perfect for preschoolers, but kids up to grade two will love the slapstick humour of Ted's missed diagnoses and social blunders. A charmer!
Picture Book
Ages 3-7
click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue!

Picture Book: The House in the Night

Susan Marie Swanson has written a simple yet richly detailed picture book, where the calm, repetetive story (Here is the key to the house/In the house burns a light) is offset by the black and white woodcut illustrations. The only colour is the vibrant gold that accents key images: the key, the light, the sun and stars.
This book is based on a old nursery rhyme. It is beautiful in it's simplicity, and provides a reassuring order to the world, with a dash of dreamlike imagination. This would be a wonderful going-to-sleep book for younger kids.
Picture Book
Ages 2-4
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's website!