It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
While these picturebooks published this 2019 do not ostensibly tap into reinventing womanity, I consider it quite a development in children’s book publishing that we have so many astounding female creators from all over the world making waves in the industry, and coming up with inventive, ingenious, and heartwarming stories. Here are three stories celebrating friendships among unlikely creatures.
Written and Illustrated by Yooju Cheon
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (2019, first published in Korean by IYAGIKOT in 2015)
ISBN: 1786037289 (ISBN13: 9781786037282) Book borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.
The entire story here takes place in a single day in a park where the flowers are in blossom. Cat found the perfect picnic spot for the sushi that she prepared. Meanwhile, Dog is looking forward to reading his book quietly.
The image above is executed so simply yet it carries within it a powerful message. It is about reaching out, making room, finding space in our hearts for new faces and new conversations.
This is a gentle story with a lot of white spaces for the eyes to rest, yet with the vibrance of new adventures about to begin – all because Cat made room in this bench for Dog to read.
Just like spring, a new friendship is in blossom.
Written and Illustrated by Marianne Dubuc
Published by Princeton Architectural Press (2019, first published 2016) Original Title: Je ne suis pas ta maman
ISBN: 1616897600 (ISBN13: 9781616897604). Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
Slightly longer than the usual picturebook at 66 pages, this is an engaging story about a squirrel named Otto who found a green pointed ball outside his quiet home – which turned out to be an egg that is about to hatch.
The furry creature naturally thought that Otto was its mommy. Seeing that nobody is around to claim the creature, Pio made room in his house to the white furry thing that named itself Pio! Being responsible, Otto made sure that he asked around just in case that Pio was being missed by its mother.
When that didn’t work, Otto put up flyers around the forest to make sure that whoever needs to find Pio will know that he is with Otto. Meanwhile, Pio has made himself completely at home. What Otto did not count on was how Pio grows up in quite an unprecedented fashion, completely overtaking his home at one point:
Whether Pio found its parent, I shall leave for you to discover. The layout of the book is pretty reminiscent of the hardcover I Can Read books of my childhood. While quite long, the story is riveting and never overwhelming. Once again, it shows how opening one self up to new things can prove to be the greatest gift of all.
Written and Illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
Published by Prestel Junior (2019)
ISBN: 3791373749 (ISBN13: 9783791373744). Review copy provided by publisher. Book photos taken by me.
Unlike Otto and Pio, this enlarged board book is only at 24 pages and is perfect for very young readers with its assorted pastel colours, interactive quality, and the book engineering that shows blank spaces where the mouse has escaped from the cat in each of the page.
In keeping with the title, there is chasing and escaping, stealthy maneuvering and patient waiting of the predator in this story. It lends itself to a dynamic read aloud with lines like these:
Be quick, little Mouse,
get out of this place.
Cat is behind you
and up for the chase.
While I do not normally go for rhyming text, this one has an irresistible rhythm to it that will undoubtedly resonate with young readers who would most likely beg for this to be read again and again and again.
If read aloud with energy and enthusiasm, this will make for a very exciting read that invites young readers to physically immerse themselves in the pages, as they put their little fingers in the holes and squares, while cheering Mouse on. The twist in the end is likewise surprising and delightful.
#WomenReadWomen2019: Yooju Cheon is from South Korea | Marianne Dubuc is from Canada | Britta Teckentrup is from Germany.