Posts Tagged With: picture books

City Dog, Country Frog

by Mo Willems

City Dog goes into the country and sees a creature sitting on a rock. It is Country Frog, and he is waiting for a friend… but City Dog will do. So they play games all spring. They play games all summer. In fall, they remember all the fun they had. In winter….

I picked this book up, thinking it was going to be classic weird Mo Willems humour, albeit with a different style of illustration. I was wrong! Definitely a sad story, with a bittersweet ending. The watercolor illustrations are perfect, capturing the joys of friendship and the sorrows of mourning. I actually can’t stop myself from leafing through this book every time I see it, so much so that I have memorized the story and can tell it without having the book handy (which is not recommended because the illustrations really do enrich the story). It is a beautiful story with such expressive illustrations. I don’t typically add “issues” books to my own personal collection, but I definitely want a copy of this to call my own.

Good for someone looking for a picture book story about death or loss, without it being didactic or about a specific person in a child’s life. I wouldn’t reserve it for that type of storytelling, though, since I think it can be a nice conversation piece about friendship, disappointment, the seasons, life cycles, things being beyond your control, moving on, and probably a lot more. The death in it is subtle and there is no talk of any sort of spiritual afterlife, so it is acceptable for any belief system.

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Prime Baby

by Gene Luen Yang

Thaddeus hates his new baby sister. He comes up with a conspiracy theory that she is an alien because she says “ga” in prime numbers (she’ll say it once, twice, three times, five times, etc). He starts monitoring her closely, interpreting everything she does as evidence that she is an alien. His sister loves the time they spend together and babbles to him even more. Then one day, she starts puking up these rather large capsules, which are actually space ships for an alien race hellbent on bringing peace and happiness to Earth! Thaddeus is vindicated. He was right! He tells his parents, he tells the FBI, he tells everyone! Then his sister is taken away to be studied….

I loved this comic. It’s pretty short and seems more like a picture book and could be used as a nice bridge from picture books to comics. It’s a very cool take on sibling rivalry. Very different from the author’s other work and I liked it the best, maybe because it’s more for kids.

Older elementary could tackle this one on their own, but I think it’s a good read-along for parents to read with younger kids.

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