Author: Xuan Loc Xuan
Source: Free ARC from Happy Fox Books
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Happy Fox Books via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Giant is a panda who wandered until he found a new forest to call home. Though it was a strange new place, and he missed his family, Giant grew to love the forest and befriended a great bamboo. One day, people who wanted to build homes where the forest was, lit the forest on fire in an effort to burn it down. Giant and his bamboo friend worked together to get help and saved the forest from burning. While washing away the soot from his fur, Giant came across his twin brother, whom he had missed dearly, and they started a new life in the forest together.
Right off the bat, stellar illustrations. The artwork in this children’s book is gorgeous, which is always a tremendous plus in my book. As far as the story itself, the intent was good, but the execution left me wanting. The writing style was stilted, the segues weren’t fluid, and the reconnection with his brother should have been fleshed out a little more or left out entirely.
The illustrations alone are worth a recommendation, even if the story falls short.
Title: A Boy and a House
Author: Maja Kastellic
Source: Free ARC from Annick Press
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Annick Press via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Oh, the illustrations in this book! The color scheme creates such a fabulous atmosphere. The use of light to direct the audience’s attention to what the boy is seeing and the illusion of texture…magnificent. And though I love illustrations that are well done, it is particularly important in A Boy and a House because it has no text! Yes, that’s what I said. No. Text. The story is in the pictures, and with the exception of a few sayings subtly placed in unusual places, you must pay attention to see where the story is headed. Even more intriguing, the more you “read” the illustrations, the richer the story gets. I’ve gone back and reread it at least three times in this first sitting, each time scanning different parts of each page and finding something I’d missed before. Such a treat!
So, what is the story about? A boy appears to be walking home, getting distracted along the way, until he sees a cat in a well-lit doorway. Naturally, he must follow the cat, and in fact, the cat seems to wantto be followed, waiting at way-points as the boy finds his way through a house that is most certainly not his. Along the way, he finds drawings, picking them up as he finds them, like gathering the bread crumbs that are leading him to somewhere special. At the end of the trail is a girl his age, making her drawings into paper airplanes, sailing them from the balcony of the highest floor of the house, sending them soaring with the birds. Or at least, that is how I see it at the most basic level. The beauty of a story in pictures is that the story is unlikely to be interpreted exactly the same by each reader. With no words for direction, the reader must create the words in their own head. Good stuff!
Another book I will be buying in print because it is an absolute MUST have for me, as well as my children. And I will be on the hunt for more work by Maja Kastellic because it is superb!
Title: Little People Big Dreamers: Jane Austen
Author: Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Illustrator: Katie Wilson
Source: Free ARC from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Frances Lincoln Children’s Books via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Little People, Big Dreams is a series of nonfiction children’s books focused on famous women, past and present. Jane Austen is the first I’ve read in this series and it is absolutely wonderful! The illustrations are beyond charming and the information is pitch perfect for young children. It is essentially a quick biography, covering Jane’s early childhood and education, and explaining how it is that she came to be one of the most famous writers of all time. Also discussed is some of the experiences that influenced her stories. And, it addresses how different the world was for girls back then.
What can I say? Children’s books that highlight women who are historically significant? Outstanding illustrations? And in this case, Jane Austen, who is one of my particular favorites? Wins all around! I will certainly be buying a print copy of this book to share with my children.