By Jan Pease
I just learned that November is Picture Book Month. Here are several new picture books to savor.
The Moon Inside, by Sandra V. Feder, is a sweet addition to the collection that will help children understand that night has its own beauty and there is nothing to fear in the dark. This is a perfect bedtime story, like Time for Bed, by Mem Fox and The Midnight Farm, by Reeve Lindbergh, both older favorites of mine.
Bears in the Snow, by Shirley Parenteau, is almost too sweet. The four adorable bears romping through the book are so cute you might want give them huggie-wuggies and kissy-wissies (a phrase we often say to our very cute dog).
Some books meant to be read out loud are more fun for the reader than the child. I purchased three “Baby Lit” board books for the children’s collection. They claim to be “a fashionable way to introduce your child to the world of classic literature.” Jennifer Adams wrote these delightful little books. Little Miss Alcott: Little Women features quotations from the book such as “Amy put on her best white frock, smoothed her curls, and sat down to draw under the honeysuckle.” Our other titles include Little Master Homer: The Odyssey and Edgar and the Tree House of Usher. I might admit to a little buyer’s remorse, but I really can imagine reading them to little ones in our family.
Walking in a Winter Wonderland is a book that was based on the song by Felix Bernard and Richard B Smith, as sung by Peggy Lee, illustrated by Tim Hopgood. One problem I see with the book is that when they build the snowman in the meadow, they pretend that he’s a Santa clown. Now, clowns are scary, right? But then the other kiddies knock him down, so we’re ok. The real problem I see, which nearly made me pass this one by, is the line, “We’ll frolic and play the Eskimo way.” It’s one of those thinly-veiled stereotypes that is just so 1934 (when the song was originally written).
Denise Fleming has re-worked the children’s song, 5 Little Ducks, to include several pond animals, some wild turkeys, the days of the week, a cute little girl named Anna, and a family of adventurous Mallard ducks. This is the kind of book that makes picture books so great. You can pore over the entire book, including end papers, to see Ms. Fleming’s imagination at work.
Finally, Not Quite Black and White, by Jonathan Ying, is a book about colors that could be called “On Beyond Orange and Green,” as Mr. Ying includes lavender, aqua, maroon, and a penguin wearing yellow boots. Jonathan Ying lives in Minnesota; I think we’re glad to claim him.
How will YOU celebrate National Picture Book Month?