Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Picturebook: Little Wizard

Wizards, knights and dragons most often make appearances in fantasy novels and other fare for school-aged children. But littler ones (especially boys) under five often want in on the action and Kazuno Kohara's Little Wizard is a stellar choice for the youngest fantasy fiends in your life.

This is the story of a burgeoning wizard who just can't learn to fly. Lonely and ground-bound, the little wizard meets a helpful dragon who befriends him and attempts to show him how to fly. Despite his best efforts, the tiny wiz still can't get up in the air and is left alone to sulk. But when the little wizard meets a dragon-hunting knight, he knows he must learn to fly to save his friend.

The cover shows the only three colours inside the book: black, purple and green. Kohara is able to do more with three colours than most artists can do with a whole palette. The effect is striking, engaging, and utterly original. These high-contrast illustrations will be especially appealing to very young children who are better able to process pictures with bold, sturdy outlines. More than an attractive package, the story's themes of friendship and perseverance are perfect for the preschool set.

Fans of this book will also want to check out Kohara's winter tale, Jack Frost and the hilariously spooky The Haunted House.

Ages 3-6
Click here to check out the Port Moody Library's catalogue

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Picturebook: Little Owl Lost

Continuing in the tradition of P.D. Eastman's Are You My Mother?, Little Owl is on a hunt for his matriarch. When he falls out of his nest (with a Bump...Bump...BUMP!), Little Owl must team up with Squirrel to find his way back home.

Little Owl knows a thing or two about his mama - she's big, she's got pointy ears, and she's got big eyes. Unfortunately, many forest animals meet that same criteria. After encountering a bear, a rabbit, and a frog, Little Owl finally makes it back to the warm wings of his mommy.

While the concept may sound tired, Little Owl Lost is fresh, vibrant, hilarious, and perfect for reading aloud. Young children can play along with the action, making their own big bear arms, pointy rabbit ears, and big frog eyes. Sparse text and frequent page turns should also help capture the attention of the squrimiest listeners.

The colour palette is bright and delightfully imaginative. Squirrel is fuschia, the trees are crimson, and the sky is green. With such crisp colours and deliberate shapes, this is an ideal selection for very young children. Infants and toddlers find it easier to focus on blocks of colour and Little Owl definitely delivers in this department.

Ages 2-4
Click here to check out the Port Moody Library's catalogue!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Picturebook: A Penguin Story

As the weather turns chilly, there is no better pick than Antoinette Portis' A Penguin Story. Although this book was published in 2009, it has a gentle, vintage, 1950s-esque style reminiscent of Goodnight Moon.

Edna has a thirst for colour. She is tired of the neverending white, black, and blue, blue, blue that surround her in her permanently winter world. But one day Edna discovers something absolutely magical - orange!

Orange comes in the the very friendly form of some researchers, decked out in neon orange parkas and living in neon orange tents. When Edna finally has to bid goodbye to her newfound friends, she keeps a very special orange souvenir.

This book is a pure joy, and quickly became one of my all-time favourites. Besides being a touching, quirky story, little ones can participate in naming the colours and shapes; with Edna's circle eyes and triangle beak, the square icebergs, and the half-circle tents, the possibilities are endless! A perfect lap reading for a two to four year old and an ideal Kindergarten read-aloud.

Antoinette Portis has several other stellar titles including Kindergarten Diary and Not a Box all available for check out at the Port Moody library!

Picture Book
Ages 2-6
Click here to see this book in the Port Moody Library catalogue