Here are a few more books that crossed my path and made me take note.
The King of the Birds by Acree Graham Macam, illustrated by Natalie Nelson
Hand-drawn & collage chickens, peacocks, and other fowl strut across the thick paper pages of this book based on Flannery O’Connor’s youth spent with birds. This book fits into the “absurd children’s books” category, but it works. An odd story about a girl who loves birds, and a bird who needs a bit of attention, this will likely appeal to any child growing up on a farm. City kids will be enchanted as well. The illustrations are really fun, and the story is a charmer.
Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol
A skeleton-faced granny with a big family has to go to the moon to get some time to knit. But on the moon, there are lots of curious aliens. The only quiet place is inside a wormhole. This is what might be described as a mashup of the Old Woman Who Lived in A Shoe and Star Trek, but as odd as it sounds, it works. The illustrations are funny and the cartoon style works perfectly – excellent pacing, white space, and layout. Anyone who has tried to find a quiet space to get away from the crowd of family, but then misses that companionship will relate. A fun discussion book for classrooms, and will work in storytimes, too.
Mervin the Sloth is about to do the Best Thing in the World by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Ruth Chan
Sometimes, simple IS better. The design of this book is what drew me to it. It uses text as part of the illustration – the text is repeated, but the story moves along with lively pacing — it feels like a wordless book, and yet it has words. Simple line changes and introduction of characters in the illustration tell the story – and you really do want to know what Mervin the Sloth is about to do. As the cast of characters increases, the story builds. The illustration takes the lead; the cartoon animals joyfully wait to see what Mervin is going to do, as will readers.
What are your current picture book favs? Tell us in the comments!