Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 2014 Week 1 Review Round Up

Don't Eat the BabyDon't Eat the Baby by Amy Young
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Tom gets a new baby brother but get s very afraid when everyone starts talking about "eating him up."

The concept for this book is not original--children often misunderstand idioms, but the entire premise is wonderfully amusing. Unfortunately, the design and illustrations do not lend for this being as successful a book as it could have been. Illustrated with acrylics, the family and scenes lack energy and dynamism. The prose itself is a little too lengthy and doesn't provide enough of an impact for this to work for me. Really, I feel as though it needed to be edited better.

What If... ?What If... ? by Anthony Browne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gouache, crayon and a very typical Anthony Browne style. What a fantastic contrast with worries and imagination, with literary references, use of color to portray emotions...just a great picturebook.

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary FriendThe Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

rendered in pencil, crayon watercolor and with Photoshop, this imaginative picturebook is rife with beautiful imagery and symbolism. It would make for wonderful fodder for analysis, especially if paired with The Lost Thing.

Really. A delightful story with fantastic illustrations.

The Day I Lost My SuperpowersThe Day I Lost My Superpowers by Michael Escoffier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great translation from Michaël Escoffier. Silly and fun, well-designed with an element of super-heroness! (Even Brief Thief had a super hero bunny!)

This book is rendered in a child-like style with pastel. Escoffier makes great use of the brown-paper bag look in contrast with white in order to emphasize the loss of our heroine's superpowers.

Flight SchoolFlight School by Lita Judge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun story about an adorable penguin with the soul of an eagle.

My only quibble with this book is a design choice: center-justified does not look good.

MapleMaple by Lori Nichols
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The cover of the book does not really do the quality of the illustrations justice. Rendered in pencil and colored digitally, the illustrations are clean and detailed. While the story itself seems to be without any REAL point until about half-way through when something unexpected happens.

My only complaint is that as Maple is running around holding leaves in her hand, they really strongly resemble a pot leaf more than a maple leaf.

Why?Why? by Tracey Corderoy
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

AN inquisitive little rhino has more questions than his parents can answer, so thinking he would like it, they took him to a museum.

The concept for this book is a good one--especially if anyone knows a little one who is ALWAYS ASKING WHY to the point of ridiculousness. This picturebook definitely brings some humor to that very situation. The illustrations are fun and full of expression. They look to be rendered in watercolor and colored pencil. There are a lot of vignettes and spot illustrations with plenty of white space. The endpapers, however, are fun--starting with a riddle and answering it in the closing endpages. Also, the bold teal on the cover with the white dialogue bubble is perfect for the story and is very attractive.

BUT WHY WOULD YOU BRING A REALLY INQUISITIVE KID TO A MUSEUM?? Bring him to a library so he can get ANSWERS instead of just coming up with more questions. I found the ending to be unsatisfactory as well. He asks so many questions that he falls asleep. Nah.

Little Puppy and the Big Green MonsterLittle Puppy and the Big Green Monster by Mike Wohnoutka
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The adorable little puppy wants to play and is having a hard time finding the right friend. Then he annoys the Big Green Monster enough that they end up playing.

Rendered in acrylic or gouache(I can't tell which and the copyright page fails to provide that information), this paneled picturebook has minimal text and feels almost like a comic book.

The illustrations are sweet and dynamic, not overly bright and with plenty of white space to allow the pacing of the story to build to its adorable conclusion.

I'm My Own DogI'm My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The first person narrated picturebook follows a dog, who owns himself and doesn't take orders from anyone else. Then one day he finds a human and has to train him.

The illustrations are wonderfully dynamic between the bold outlines of the dog and the watercolors.

This is a well-designed, well-written picturebook that proves you can still create original content from age-old ideas.

No Nap! Yes Nap!No Nap! Yes Nap! by Margie Palatini
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The ink on vellum and digitally rendered illustrations feel very cartoony, and consequently lack emotional response for me. The story is realistic--baby doesn't want to nap and will do every thing but nap, while mama wants baby to nap. It really is entertaining, and would make for a great read aloud. But I really feel as though Dan Yaccarino has created better illustrations that are elicit a better emotional response.

Stick!Stick! by Andy Pritchett
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Minimalist words and clean, digitally colored pencil drawings should make for a fun story. Not that this one is not fun, but it is pointless. It makes zero sense to me. I don't even want to read it aloud because it is just lacking that something. Why do all the animals refuse the stick from the first dog, but once the second dog has it, it's awesome? The colors are great and bold, but, no. I just don't.

A Day in the Life of MurphyA Day in the Life of Murphy by Alice Provensen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This story that gives a day in the life of a barn terrier is illustrated in oils. It is not really conducive to a read aloud, not is it really anything special artistically. It is a fun and energetic tale (haha, get it?) but the ALL CAPS FOR THE ENTIRE STORY IS SUPER OBNOXIOUS AND IT FEELS LIKE YELLING.


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