Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This Week's Books

While I like the text of these two books, I love the illustrations. Therefore, I have more to show than say about them.

Paper snowflakes taped to the window
and mittens drying on the radiator.
Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure

As with most books I adore, this one captures both an air of simplicity and little details that I appreciate. The format is large and square and the illustrations alternate between full-page spreads and right -page illustrations with text on appropriately muted color pages on the left.

The illustrations are clear, quiet, and have an effortlessness about them though the author's note tells us that they were created with great care and diligence. "First, I draw the image on black paper, and then I cut it out with an X-Acto knife. I try to keep everything connected with a path of black paper... There is no erasing, so if I make a mistake, I just have to keep cutting and find a solution."

Flowers in Mama's pocket
and polka dot boots.
McClure has a talent for choosing just the right details to portray a boy and his mother working and playing in their garden during the long wait for summer. Many of us can identify with this wait during these dreary February days; it feels like forever until the grass will be dry enough to sit on. But, as this book tells us, if you focus on what is going on in the moment (or the season, as the case may be), then the grass will be dry before you know it.

Picking berries with a colander and bare feet.

Boats Speeding! Sailing! Cruising! by Patricia Hubbell, illustrated by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy

I was instantly attracted to the dated color pallette and retro mixed-media illustrations of this series which, along with boats, includes books on cars, trucks, trains, and airplanes.

Hubbel's text echoes the lively feel of the exclamation point-heavy titles with various approaches to talking about it's topic. Various type of boats are named along with their parts and purposes and sounds.

There's nothing like onomatopoeic language to get a preschooler excited. "Yachts with flags both fore and aft. Dory. Dinghy, Shell. Raft... Rumble! Whistle! Roar! Toot! Chug! Hum! Sputter! Hoot! Rev the engines! Speed ahead! Deck. Cabin. Galley. Head."

The book is teeming with little cultural touchstones from old advertisements and the labelled pictures reminiscent of my childhood Richard Scarry books to classic tales of pirates and whales. The result is a book that adults may peruse more attentively than their children.

"Toy boats sail in ponds and streams,
in your tub, and in your dreams."

No comments:

Post a Comment