Picture Book Review Roundup

Girls Who Code: Baby Code + Art + Play + Music written by Sandra Horning and art by Melissa Crowton

Source: Publisher

These are undeniably cute. However, babies are not going to be impressed by this book. In fact, one of my nephews chewed the edge of this book and then lobbed it at my head. I ducked. It does present valuable information simply enough that younger children will be able to understand so I reckon these books would make a wonderful introduction to coding.

Babies though, if they are to whom this series is aimed at, are hard to impress.


An Atlas of Imaginary Places by Mia Cassany and Ana de Lima

Hardcover
Published March 20th 2018 by Prestel Junior
Source: Publisher

I enjoyed this one immensely as did my 5 year old niece. We loved the art and the idea of imaginary places coming to life. The prose is a bit more dense than it needs to be but other than that, this was a good read. It’d be of good use in an introductory writing class for younger kids.


Neck & Neck by Elise Parsley

Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher

Mixing humour with vibrant art, Neck & Neck is sure to win hearts. I know I enjoyed it immensely. Leopold has a lot of personality that is expressed in his interactions with the boy and the balloon. I see this being a favourite during story time.


A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Lane Smith

Hardcover, 48 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Roaring Brook Press
Source: Publisher

A House  That Once Was is a poignant exploration on the fate of a house after its inhabitants have all left. Written in verse and accompanied by Lane Smith’s marvelous art, the picture book will appeal to both older readers and adults. The textured art contributes to the storytelling, bringing to mine the textures and layers of stories that live in this abandoned house in the woods. Strongly recommended.


I Need All Of It by Petra Postert and illustrated by Jens Rassmus

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
Source: Publisher

A little boy sorts laundry with his dad and when he discovers the items he had forgotten in the pocket of his pants, he dreams up the stories attached to them much to the delight of his father. The book is endearing; a celebration of the imagination. I particularly like the ending because it captures the capricious nature of a child so perfectly. The art is soft and often minimalist though these are frequently interrupted by the illustrated fancies of the boy. Recommended.


The Dream by Il Sung Na

Hardcover, 52 pages
Expected publication: September 11th 2018 by Chronicle Books
Source: Publisher

I am a huge fan of Il Sung Na’s and I believe I may have reviewed all books created by him. The Dreamer reminds me of Dan Santat’s After the Fall which was an excellent tale about the power of perseverance. In The Dreamer there’s a pig who admires birds and the way they fly so he decides to try to fly. He fails often but he doesn’t give up and eventually he too is flying. But that is not the only height he wants to reach. The book was inspired by Na’s own experience of teaching himself to draw and write picture books. It will definitely inspire young readers who have yet to learn the power of perseverance.


Summer Color! by Diana Murray and illustrated by Zoe Persico

Hardcover, 40 pages
Published May 15th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher

This was a feast for the eyes. Zoe Persico’s illustrations are amazing.

The prose perfectly complements the gorgeous visuals to create a very satisfying read that will be as wonderful for the parent as it is for the child. Strongly recommended.


Me, Myselfie  & I: A Cautionary Tale by Jamie Lee Curtis & Laura Cornell

Hardcover, 40 pages
Expected publication: September 4th 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
Source: Publisher

I usually don’t dislike picture books even if I may not be in love with them. However, this one…look, I’m sorry, I really am, but I did not like this one at all. It read like a thinly veiled critique at the selfie loving generation. The book didn’t engage with the issue in question in any depth and instead chose to skim the surfaces of what is more complex than they are making it seem. This is somewhat irresponsible in my opinion. And yes, I realize that this is a picturebook and limited in its scope but you would be surprised by how much authors and pb creators can encompass in the 32 pages of a picturebook. This book, pardon me, reads much like two older people who are trying to speak the same language as their grandchildren and not quite succeeding. I’m not saying they shouldn’t critique the selfie-culture because I’m not but I’m saying there are better ways of doing it. Anyway, I didn’t like this book and find it difficult to recommend it.


Claris: The Chicest Mouse in Paris by Megan Hess

Hardcover, 48 pages
Expected publication: August 7th 2018 by Hardie Grant
Source: Publisher

This book is superbly packaged with gold edged pages, quality paper, and gorgeous end papers. Any fashionista worth their salt is going to love this little glimpse of a little fashion-loving mouse’s life.