Chloes in Picture Books: Girls who Know their Minds

Wonderful widget crafted by the extremely talented Iphigene.

Wonderful widget crafted by the extremely talented Iphigene.

This is once again a double-feature as I share two picture books that have been nominated for Cybils Fiction Picture Books for 2012 perfect for our previous bimonthly theme Crazy Over Cybils, and our current one as we celebrate Oddballs and the Beauty in Strangenesses – Girls who Know their Minds.

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IMG_5648Chloe

Story and Pictures By: Peter McCarty
Publisher: Balzer + Bray – An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2012
Book borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.

I have taken a liking to Peter McCarty’s unique signature artwork and style. I reviewed Henry in Love here and discovered that I like McCarty’s minimalist style with the white spaces and the rabbits who seem to have a perennial poker face.

While Henry in Love introduces the reader to Chloe through the smitten and evidently-infatuated Henry, this new book showcases Chloe in all her glory – amidst ten older brothers and ten younger brothers and sisters, with beautiful Chloe right smack in the middle. Her favorite part of the day was during the evenings when she had her whole family together at home “She called it family fun time.”

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This is before her father decided to purchase a new television as a surprise for his family. While the rest were pretty pumped with the idea, Chloe felt differently. She had her doubts about this television set and while everyone crowded around the tivo during dessert time, she was slumped elsewhere with Little Bridget, thinking of ingenious ways to divert her family’s attention away from that talking and noisy box in the living room.

“This is the worst family fun time EVER!” Chloe said.

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And with the aid of some pop-worthy bubble wrap and boxloads of imagination, our little Miss Eccentric clearly defined exactly what she thought of family time and how best to spend it. I think this book is pretty timely with the overabundance of technology and gadgets in the home that often get in the way of true bonding time and togetherness.

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Chloe and the Lion

Story ByMac Barnett
Illustrated by: 
Adam Rex
Publisher: 
Disney Hyperion Books, 2012
Borrowed the book from the Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

The book begins quite strangely with the drawing of a bespectacled man in a suit (obviously the author of the book) introducing himself and Adam, the illustrator of the book in the Dedication Page. He also introduced Chloe, the main character of the book, or so she thinks.

I like this Chloe – she seems like your cute average girl who likes collecting loose change which she would save in a glass jar. Once she had enough money, she buys a ticket in the carnival to ride the merry-go-round – all predictable, cute stuff. Until the time that she gets lost in the dark in the forest, afraid, and “a huge lion leapt out from behind an oak tree” – only, the reader sees a red, smokey-nosed, quite-fierce dragon – and the reader sees the peeking head of the author again, raising objections.

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As can be seen here, the author and the illustrator get into a huge altercation as to who should decide which way the story goes. There was a lot of firing (“You’re fired!”) and fighting going on, some are strangely and eerily-illustrated – the author obviously lacks artistic talents when it comes to drawing characters (“The man should be in artist prison!”), until Chloe, the little girl who knows her mind, stepped into the page, of her own volition, and talked some sense into these strange artists with their easily-offended sensibilities, faced a fierce lion, and took charge of the whole story the best way she knew how.

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This is a book that begs to be read aloud – with plenty of animated voices. It is bursting with so much fun, wit, and fresh voice – it breathes original and bursts with theatricality in the true sense of the word. Definitely a keeper. Here is a brilliant video clip that I have a feeling you’d enjoy.

AWB2013widgetChloe and the Lion is a Cybils Finalist

AWB Reading Challenge Update: 15 of 35

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52, 53 of 150

3 Comments on Chloes in Picture Books: Girls who Know their Minds

  1. I haven’t seen either of these yet, thanks for the heads up. I DO like those bunnies :) . . .

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  2. I want to read Chloe and the Lion! :D

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  3. Haven’t heard of these two books. Although the second one sounds more fun, I had to chuckle at the first. Chloe reminded me of my dog Archie. When we are on the computer or iPad or watching TV, he decides at some point he’s had enough and grabs his squeaky ball, or other toy an tries to dsitract us to pay attention to him. Ususally he ends up on my lap. So, I can imagine how overwhelming social media and electronics can be for children who just want to be with you. Lovely choices.

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