Monday, April 25, 2016

Delightful New Picture Books

By Leslie Colin Tribble

I had a post about a certain topic in mind for today, but then I took a quick walk through our public children's library. Two books caught my eye and I thought it'd be much more fun to share them with you instead.



How cute is this bunny!


The first is Peter McCarty's latest, Bunny Dreams. I love all Peter's books! He's an author illustrator and his characters are absolutely endearing. The first book I read was Hondo and Fabian, about a pet dog and cat, one of whom goes off on an adventure. As an author, Peter McCarty uses language geared toward the very youngest of lapsitters. As an illustrator, his characters are chubby with sweet expressions that make you fall in love with them from the front cover. If I had an ounce of talent with a pencil I'd want my creations to look like those in a Peter McCarty book. Hondo and Fabian was a 2003 Caldecott Honor winner and New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year.

Look at those faces!


Peter McCarty has published 13 books and they all deal with family relationships, friendships and simple, everyday events which take on bigger meaning.

Bunny Dreams was released in January this year and for me, it's an instant success. A whole herd of chubby bunnies in red striped pajamas do all sorts of things when they dream, until one bunny wakes up. If you're looking for a linear plot line, this is not the book for you, but if you want something inventive and a little offbeat, then be sure to check this one out. This is a book I would have begged for as a child because of the wonderful illustrations about one of my favorite animals, bunnies. I would have totally fallen for the idea that bunnies can read, count and fly in their dreams! Why not?!

How could you not love these two?


Bunny Dreams has a scant 211 words - food for thought for authors who have a hard time distilling their stories to under 500 words. The illustrations are all two page spreads, but only two spreads have words on both pages. It's a traditional 32 page picture book and perfectly suited for helping little two-footed bunnies get ready for bed. Published by Henry Holt.

More lovely illustrations


The second book I picked up was Little One by Jo Weaver from England. This book is the author's first and it has received great reviews. It was first published in the UK by Hodder Children's Books, then in the US by Peachtree.

The charcoal illustrations in Little One are a simple mix of gray, black and white blended in such a way as to create a sense of exactly what the characters might be seeing. Little One is about a mother bear that comes out of hibernation with her "wobbly tiny cub" and how she introduces him to their world. The illustrations are blended and indistinct, providing just a hint of the bears' faces but the bear's sense of wonder at their world comes across perfectly.

If I could pick a talent, it would be drawing.


I live where bears are a part of life so I appreciated the accurate telling of a bear's life (except for teaching the cub to be gentle with friends). Baby bears must learn about their environment from their mother's - where to forage for certain foods at different times of year, how to negotiate lakes and rivers, and how to return to the den at the right time in the fall. The bond between real mother bears and their cubs is very strong and that relationship is felt in this lovely book.

Although the text in Little One is at a higher reading level than Bunny Dreams, it's still perfect for 3-6 year olds and makes another good bedtime book.  Every illustration is a two-page spread and there are only 3 spreads with text on both pages. Little One has 218 words - again, less is best, but hard for some of us (me!) to achieve. Simple words and ideas that flow from one page to the next is the hallmark of both of these books.

Animal books are my favorite and Bunny Dreams and Little One are eventually going to find their own spots in my personal book cases. I hope you enjoy them as well.

16 comments:

  1. Adorable books, Leslie. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. How could I not share Tina? They're such great books!

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  2. I love HONOD AND FABIAN. Need to reread and locate your other picks! TY, Leslie.

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    1. Yes, Hondo and Fabian is my all time favorite!

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  3. Oh, I will definitely look for Bunny Dreams now. Thanks for sharing these...

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    1. Let me know what you think Sue - the story is definitely different!

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  4. Animal books tend to be my favorite, too. Thanks for sharing some new furry faces. <3

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    1. I hope you enjoy them C.L. Murphy!

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  5. I am partial to animal books, too. I'll be reading your suggestions, Leslie :)

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    1. Thanks Charlotte - let us know what your opinion is.

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  6. Thanks for the suggestions, Leslie. I haven't seen either yet, but definitely will seek them out!

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  7. These look adorable - will definitely find!

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    1. I hope you find them as wonderful as I did Linda Carpenter!

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  8. Leslie:
    These sweet bedtime stories look like a must read. I am attracted to the creative illustrations in each one. I look forward to reading these suggested books.

    Thank you.
    ~Suzy

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  9. Bunnies are my favorite, too. Can't wait to read these. Thanks for sharing.

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