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Monday, April 28, 2014

Excellent picture books you've probably never heard of (part one)

Gormley, Greg; Angaramo, Roberta  (2011)  Dog in Boots  New York:  Holiday House.
When Dog reads the story of Puss and Boots, he becomes convince that he needs a pair of boots himself.  He soon finds, however, that they make it hard for him to dig a hole while wearing them.  He takes them back to the shoeshop and tries a pair of rain boots.  They prove impractical for swimming.  Dog then tries out flippers, high heels, and skis.  In the end, the shopkeeper convinces Dog that his paws are the best footwear of all.
     The illustrations are bright and interesting to look at.  Angaramo is particularly good at showing things from different perspectives.  I like the way, when dog stands at the shoe store counter, je ios looking up at the shopkeeper and the readers is too. 
      This is not a particularly profound book, but it has a good theme of valuing what you already have and the artistic style is comforting.  The words bear rereading as well. 
Schubert, Ingrid; Schubert, Dieter  (2011)  The Umbrella  New York:  Lemniscaat
There are a lot of wonderful picture books being published in the United States every year -- but the rest of the world is producing good work too.  The Umbrella, from the Dutch husband and wife team Ingrid and Dieter Schubert, is simply a beautiful (and wordless) book.  In the book, a black scottie dog picks up an abandoned umbrella and finds himself whisked away high into the clouds, then to Africa, the Antarctic, and other paces.  This work reminds me of David Weisner's book Flotsam. although this book is not quite so far flung in space and time.  It is a wonderful book to just look at.  This one obviously would be good for lower grades, but I could see if being used for a high school creative writing class as well. 

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