If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca and Ed Emberley
by Jez Alborough, c2003.
This title reminded me of Jessa telling Shoshanna and by proxy Hannah not to worry about contracting the human papillomavirus because “all adventurous women do.”
Yup, HPV and picture books. This is my wheelhouse.
This book is about a dog named Sid who has the good type of Peter Pan syndrome. Instead of refusing to grow up and get a job and a life and responsibilities, Sid can fly by being in a good mood. No fairy dust required.
Of course as with all unexpected awesome things (like the other day when I no-look sky hooked a piece of paper from a seated position at my desk into the trash can all the way across the room) no one was around to see Sid’s first flight.
After a frustrating day of trying to convince his classmates that he did indeed fly to school that day, Sid finds comfort at home. Where not only does his dad believe Sid flew…turns out he has a touch of Peter Pan syndrome himself! The good type. (But I bet if we talked to Sid’s mom she’d say he’s got a little bit of the other type too.)
A lot of what makes a good picture book great is the strength of it’s last line:
“Do dogs fly? Is it true? Some dogs don’t. Some dogs do!”
Nicely done Jez Alborough, nicely done.
Everyone who I have subsequently told about no-look skyhook and didn’t believe me. You guys are just like Sid’s classmates.
Some girls don’t sink balls of scratch paper into trashcans 16 feet away without looking up from their screens. Some girls do!
by Eric Litwin & James Dean, c2008.
After six months away from reading picture books on a regular basis (and writing about them) I was unexpectedly asked to do a Story Time for a preschool visit.
I was more than a little nervous. I mean, I read picture books all the time. But not out loud to a room full of thirty kids and their parents/guardians/random grown ups they found on the street.
Oh yeah and I curse like a sailor. Like all the time. It’s a well known character trait (flaw?) of mine.
Thankfully a very talented children’s librarian in Ohio helped me out with a list of fool proof titles for preschool story times. No not THAT Ohio Children’s librarian. The other one. The original.
Pete the Cat is very popular. Kids love this guy. I hate bandwagon jumpers, but I am all in on Pete the Cat.
He is cool.
Like the original 60’s connotation of the word cool.
Like James Dean cool.
In this installment Pete has a new pair of white shoes. And he loves them. So much so that he sings a little tune about them.
I have no idea how you’re supposed to sing the song in this book, but I had the kids sing it to the tune of “We gotta Dollar, We gotta Dollar, We gotta Dollar, Hey hey hey Hey” from Little Rascals.
(No where does it say “hey hey hey hey” but the book is kind of small and the kids were sitting kind of far away so no one called me out on it.)
Pete steps in various things along the way and his shoes change color, but Pete doesn’t mind he just keeps walking along singing his song changing the color with each verse.
Paolo Nutini. Pete’s song is way better than his.
Show of hands… who else thought Jason Mraz sang “New Shoes”?
Keep your hand up if you also thought Alanis Morissette sang “I’m a Bitch”?
Alright I feel better, put your hands down.
by Aaron Becker, c2013.
I legit love wordless books.
You get to make up everything.
This book is dedicated “To Josephine” so I named the protagonist Josephine. I legit love the name Josephine.
There’s no evidence that this is her name. I just made it so. Wordless books give you that kind of power.
Josephine has a busy family.
Her mom is making dinner while also talking on the phone, it’s a landline with a cord, which seems like a statement in a book published in 2013.
Josephine’s father is busy sitting too close to the computer screen whilst losing at online poker because he’s not Phil Ivey.
Meanwhile her sister is playing what looks like a NintendoDS, probably Mario Kart.
None of them want to play with Josephine.
Naturally this prompts Josephine to use her magic red crayon to draw a door in her bedroom wall directly into a forest. A forest that looks oddly similar to the forest in Where the Wild Things Are except it’s been decorated like a vampire wedding with paper lanterns and strings of twinkly lights everywhere.
Josephine’s magic red crayon continues to get her into and out of sticky situations in increasingly fascinating scenes. There’s a castle, steampunk flying contraptions that look straight out of The Wild Wild West, and a heavily guarded Japanese pagoda.
Just then OH NO! Josephine loses her magic red crayon…
You’ll have to check this one out to see what happens.
Go ahead and name the protagonist whatever you want. Feel the power.
David Wiesner needs to box out before this Becker fella steals his title belt for Wordless Book World Champion.
I feel a cage match coming on.
I legit love the word legit.