Friday, December 9, 2011

This Week's Books

Have You Ever Seen a Smack of Jellyfish? by Sarah Asper-Smith
Other than the surprising and vivid illustrations of this book, I marveled at how genuinely apropos many names are for their respective animal groups. How about a knot of frogs? I have seen one and it is indeed rather knotty. And a crash of rhinos? Well, I imagine that is the noise a group of them would make when plundering scrubby savannah bushes. Or the books namesake, a smack of jellyfish? Well, only one as lucky as myself would know the distinct splat of a small, harmless jellyfish propelled by a random beach brat hitting a bare back and I can tell you, a smack is a suitable word for more than one. I suppose I need not point out just how befitting it is that owls constitute a parliament and zebras a zeal? Yes, a zeal. Not only are the illustrations eye-catching, they are art. You can purchase baby clothes, cards, and other appealing items printed with the artwork on the author's Etsy site.

In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
Another book with big color and a fun theme, "In the Tall, Tall Grass" also portrays a small point of view in a big format. The perspective, that of a  caterpillar traveling through a field, is fun because the critters that look so small to us aren't so small to a caterpillar. My son loves this one; he can read it over and over, finding the caterpillar on each page or pointing out and counting the other creatures. The companion book "In the Small, Small Pond", a Caldecott Honor Book with a frog as the protagonist, is equally as appealing. Fleming's artwork, achieved by pouring colored paper pulp through hand-cut stencils, is splashy and bold and entirely her own. Once I read one of her books I started seeing them everywhere, recognizing them by the art and not the name on the cover.

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