Thursday, December 29, 2011

Picture Book: Ernest

This sweet title is very meta. Ernest the moose is too big to fit inside the pages of the book: He scrunches and squeezes, but can't get all of himself into the book at once. His little chipmunk friend has a big idea, and together they cobble together an extra-large fold out page. Finally. Moose can fit!

The "can't fit" idea isn't new (Mo Willems did it with Big Frog Can't Fit In") but it's always a winner with kids. The story is very straightforward, with none of the tongue-in-cheek humour or puns that characterize Big Frog. Still, younger preschoolers will thoroughly enjoy the gentle tension of the story, and the novelty of a giant fold out page at the end. Canadians will also appreciate the use of a native animal.

Picture Book

Ages 2-4

Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue!

Picture Book: Princess Super Kitty

Preschoolers love to pretend. They love acting like animals, superheroes, and cartoon characters. This is a good thing, because it gives kids a chance to try out many roles, practice empathy, and exercise their imaginations.

Sometimes, like Antoinette Portis' protagonist, they create a hilariously nonsensical mashup of all their favourites. Maggie starts off as an ordinary kitty, but she adds in the best parts of superhero and princess.

Superheroes help people, and save the day: princesses demand obedience, but bestow their favours on lucky subjects (aka siblings). When bathtime strikes, one more personality joins the mix: Maggie becomes Water Lily Hula Porpoise Princess Super Kitty of the Sea! Meow.

This is a fun title with attractive pictures: it's sure to spark some ridiculously cute costume parties in your house. Get your dressup box ready!

Picture Book

Ages 3-5

Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue!

Picture Book: I Want My Hat Back

Picturebooks depend on the interplay between text and images: that's what makes them a picturebook, rather than simply an illustrated story.

John Klassen's super-simple title is a perfect example of a true picturebook: obvious text and design clues reveal that somebody in the book (two somebodies, actually) are lying.

Preschoolers, with their keen sense of justice, will be thrilled when they figure out who stole bear's hat, and will be even happier when the thief gets his comeuppance.

Bear and the other forest animals are drawn with stylized watercolours. The images are so simple that Bear (and others) show no expressions: readers must infer their emotional state from the one or two lines of text on the page. This results in some hilariously deadpan scenes where readers are in the enviable position of knowing whodunnit, while Bear is calmly oblivious.

Best for ages four to six, and most highly recommended for parents!

Picture Book
Ages 4-6
Click here to check out the Port Moody Public Library's catalogue.