[Saturday Reads] A Book-Eating Zombie and Other 2015 PictureBooks to Look Out For

SaturdayReads

Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

Happy Halloween!

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I Want To Eat Your Books

Written by: Karin Lefranc Illustrated by: Tyler Parker
Published by: Sky Pony Press, 2015
Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.

For Halloween, I thought I better share this lovely book that I just received in the mail. We once had a books-about-books reading theme back in 2012, and I thought that this would have been such a great addition to that theme. Similar to Oliver Jeffers’ Incredible Book Eating Boy, the zombie-protagonist in this picturebook is not after human flesh, but takes his nourishment from booksbooksbooks!

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As you can see, he’s a pretty demanding and voracious zombie. If I were a child going trick-or-treating tonight, I would so want to be this zombie! While I am not a huge fan of rhyming text, this book made up for it with the gorgeous layout, typography, overall book design. Great read aloud especially this Halloween. Teachers would also be happy to note that this book comes with an extensive classroom guide for language arts, readers theatre’, printable worksheets, you name it – the downloadable PDF link has it.

2015 PictureBooks To Look Out For

These three picturebooks published this year are all created by authors who are also illustrators. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

IMG_6386No Yeti Yet

Written and Illustrated by: Mary Ann Fraser
Published by: Peter Pauper Press, 2015
Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.

Two brothers. Snow. A quest to find a yeti. Of course the older brother has not seen one yet, but that’s no reason not to look for it, right? With their trusty camera, the two boys go out into the snow in search of.. you know it, a yeti!

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What makes picturebooks distinct from the usual illustrated children’s books is that the reader is able to discern how the visual images add a different textured layer to the story – with visual clues that go beyond just the text-narrative. And this fun book has that.

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Young readers would delight in pointing out how the yeti that these boys have been looking for happens to be just right under their noses. Another potential great read-aloud for young readers with just the right amount of suspense and excitement.

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Gorgeous art too. I am amazed to discover so many new author-illustrators – so much talent given to just one individual, life isn’t fair sometimes.

Mina’s White CanvasIMG_6380

Written and Illustrated by: Hyeon-Ju Lee
Published by: Peter Pauper Press, Inc., 2015
Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.

In the tradition of Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Aaron Becker’s wordless picturebooks Journey and Questthis book written and illustrated by award-winning Korean artist Hyeon-Ju Lee highlights the same theme about the power of imagination, a piece of [magical] crayon, and the window as one’s canvas.

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Young Mina is looking at the gloomy winter skies outside when she discovered how her trusty crayon and a delightful drawing of a snowflake can bring her to a magical adventure any child should have at least once in their lives.

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The artwork here is soft and muted, yet pulsing with its own sense of aliveness and vibrance – brimming with so much irrepressible possibility. I was actually thinking that this might have worked better if it had been wordless – or the text limited to just a few words per page, as I believe the art speaks a great deal for itself.

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I am happy to discover another Asian author-illustrator whose future works I will definitely be on the lookout for.

IMG_6375All The Lost Things

Written and Illustrated byKelly Canby
Published byPeter Pauper Press, Inc., 2015
Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.

Among these four picturebooks I received for review, I believe this one is my favourite. Kelly Canby is a new-to-me author-illustrator. The jacketflap revealed that she was born in the UK but lived in Australia since she was three years old. That explains it. I have this thing with Australian authors/illustrators – I just absolutely adore their picturebooks. This is Canby’s debut picturebook and I look forward to reading more of her works in the future.

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The young girl Olive decided to go out for a walk seeing how preoccupied both her parents were in watching the television. And during her walk, she heard a strange sound – naturally it had to come from somewhere underground, that’s where most adventures begin.

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And there she found a little old lady with the most charming spectacles ever putting labels in mountains of boxes:

“These” said the old lady, “are all the lost things from all over the city. But since no one has come looking for them in so long, feel free to take whatever you like!”

Now the most amazing thing about these boxes is that they were labeled with peculiar things such as “dreams,” “nerve,” in addition to the usual “umbrellas” and “dolls.” And so Olive thought long and hard, and decided to bring back bottles of things not for herself but for her loved ones:

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She got her older sister a jar of “sense of humor” as she seemed to have lost it (teenage years!), “memory” for her granddad who seem to be increasingly forgetful, and this is my favourite:

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I am geographically challenged – “the way” would most likely give me the sense of direction that I might have lost back during my teenage years. What Olive got for the entire city, I shall leave for you to discover.

While others may find this book borderline sappy, I thought that the unique handwritten typography, the overall book design and layout with a lot of white spaces for the eye to rest – were masterful, as well as the very clever way the boxes were packaged. Plus, we need more messages of hope, truly. A beautiful book that I recommend unreservedly.

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