Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Picturebooks

We have a number of new fall picturebooks in- from award-winners to new favorites- all beautifully illustrated. Some are more adult-appropriate while others would make wonderful baby shower gifts. I wish I could take them all home...


Art and Max
by David Wiesner
Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
I love Wiesner's work. Tuesday is one of my top three pictures books of all time (I say top three because actually ordering such a thing is impossible). The incredible detail of his illustrations creates such miraculous magical realism. The preview I've seen of Art and Max (coming this fall) is no exception. The atmosphere, breathtaking detail, and bizarre story is all you could possibly want. This is not a book I can review or blurb- it must be seen.

Children Make Terrible Pets
written & illustrated by Peter Brown
Little, Brown & Company, September 2010

Every child goes through a phase in which a pet is necessary in order to live a normal life. Besides, everyone else has a pet.... Children Make Terrible Pets puts a new twist on this classic situation when Lucy the Bear brings home a human child. Her mother (like any sane mother) is not pleased. The pet, named Squeaker, is going to mess up the furniture and cause trouble- he needs to be left in his natural habit. This is a sweet and silly book that will have kids giggling, and just maybe abandoning their desire for totally unsuitable pets.


Dillweed's Revenge: A Deadly Does of Magic
written by Florence Parry Heide with Roxanne Heide Pierce, David Fisher Parry, and Jeanne McReynolds Parry
illustrated by Carson Ellis
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
I was immediately drawn to this book, being a fan of Carson Ellis' illustrations-think Decemberists' posters and the covers of The Mysterious Benedict Society series. The story is dark and strange, complete with nasty adults and a series of coffins that immediately gets one thinking about Edward Gorey. Which, it turns out, is exactly where one's mind should go, as Edward Gorey illustrated Heide's Treehorn series in the 1970s.

Dillweed and his strange pet, Skorped, are forced to do the servant's work when Dillweed's parents are away having fun, which is often. It's a miserable existence, but at least they have each other. That is until Perfidia, the maid, decides to get rid of Skorped.

This is a dark adventure that will be enjoyed by strange children, followed by terrible teens, and laughed at by absurd adults.

Piggy Pie Po
by Don & Audrey Wood
Harcourt Children's Books, September
This Fall, from the creators of The Napping House, Piggies, King Bidgood's in the Bathtub, and my personal favorite, Heckedy Peg, comes a silly new story of an adorable pig named Piggy Pie Po. Piggy Pie Po likes many things and he is a very accomplished little pig- the only thing he can't do is tie his shoes. Piggy Pie Po loves to eat. He eats his way through a table-full of food, until he makes a terrible mistake, eating a red-hot chili pepper!
The colorful pictures, are, as always, delightful. Very young children will enjoy the rhyming text and speedy pace of the story. Though Piggy Pie Po will be released in Hardcover in September, it would make a delightful board book. Great for the 2-4 crowd, Piggy Pie Po would also make a wonderful baby shower gift.*

*I know there are a lot of people intent on purchasing only classics for baby showers. But the fact is, many people already have the classics, especially if this isn't a first child. So why not pick a new book by award-winning author/illustrators of classics?

Diary of a Baby Wombat
written by Jackie French
illustrated by Bruce Whatley
It's not often I love books for being cute, but baby wombat, is, well, cute. And who has he discovered to be his new friend? A human baby. Meanwhile, mum wombat is trying to find a bigger hole for her and baby to sleep in, and baby wombat, while trying to be helpful, is only causing trouble as usual. Will mum find them a bigger hole? And will baby wombat help her?

The interactions between the human baby and baby wombat are sweet while the mum and baby wombat interactions are classically fun (especially for parents). Just looking at a sequence of mum and baby sleeping will win you over.

Pocket Full of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes
illustrated by Salley Mavor
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September
I tend to be ambivalent when it comes to nursery rhymes; there have been so many collections and so many illustrators, and, for me, they were never as good as a story. But Salley Mavor's illustrations are incredible. Using beads, felt, thread, wood, and other natural found objects Mavor has crafted a soft, warm, and infinitely charming world. Every tiny piece of clothing (to give you a sense of scale, acorn tops are hats) is embroidered with textures or patterns. The most difficult part of executing a three-dimensional illustration is the lighting and photography, and the reproductions here are beautiful. The texture is soft and visible, but not overly emphasized or overwhelming. Objects have a soft shadow to give depth, and the colors retain their earth to jewel tones. While I wouldn't ordinarily think of purchasing a book of nursery rhymes for myself, Mavor's illustrations are something I want to revisit often.

It’s a Book
By Lane Smith
Macmillan, August 31, 2010
So accustomed to our electronic devices: lap tops, phones, e-readers, not to mention all of Apple’s goodies….
And a book, well, what is it good for? Because you can’t blog or tweet or email with it...
An explanation of a book for the chronically plugged-in and a scathing way to remind people of their worth, It’s a Book has had multiple Odyssey employees roaring with laughter.

1 comment:

....Petty Witter said...

Amazing the amount of wonderful books you can get for small children. I cannot remember there being such a variety 18/20 years ago when our neices/nephew were small.