Written and Drawn by Henrietta

Written&DrawnByHenrietta

Image Credit: Liniers & TOON Books (RAW Junior, LLC), Liniers

“A box of colored pencils is as close as you can get to owning a piece of the rainbow.”

Written and Drawn by Henrietta is about the unpredictability of storytelling, going with the flow and letting your mind take you on a journey. Henrietta is just as surprised about what happens in her story as readers are! We get to follow her creative process and listen in on her discussions with her cat Fellini as she writes and illustrates an EPIC story.

This funny and clever book actually starts on the front endpaper. Henrietta shares wisdom about the power of books. Next we see her holding a shiny new box of pencils which she’ll use to create the title page of her story about a three headed monster with only two hats. Her protagonist “Emily” seems very stressed about the noises coming from her wardrobe and Henrietta even scares herself! Hahaha. Her story progresses and Huey, Dewey and Louie Bluie (the three headed monster) accompanies Emily into the wardrobe (It was made in Narnia, see…) where adventure awaits. Henrietta knows all the tricks to make an engaging story.

Written&DrawnByHenrietta2

Image Credit: Liniers & TOON Books (RAW Junior, LLC), Liniers

Liniers’ writing and illustration are excellent. But when you read this book, you won’t think about him because he creates a loveable character who has complete control of the reins of this book. He’s mastered the “Kid Art” style of illustration and the pages are alive with bold strokes, gnarly teeth and wild colors. Henrietta is confident in her skill and it’s fun to see the story develop. TOON BOOKS are special because they’re comic leveled-readers. Many kids are into comics and graphic novels these days and I can’t recommend this TOON Book enough. I have my fingers crossed for another installment of Henrietta’s story. I hope your child will love this book and be inspired to create!

 

P.S. Be sure to read Liniers’ dedication. 🙂 It’s very sweet. AND this book is also available in Spanish!

 

Recommended for: Age 6 and up
Great for: Discussion, Humor, Clever, Friendship, Puns, Relationships, Storytelling, Suspense, Writing a Story, Storyboarding, Inspiration, Creative Thinking
Book Info: Written and Drawn by Henrietta by Liniers, 2015 Liniers & TOON Books (RAW Junior, LLC.), ISBN: 9781935179900

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Before After

BeforeAfter

Image Credit: Candlewick Press, Anne-Margot Ramstein/Matthias Arégui

Before After is a neat book that can be enjoyed by people of all ages; it works just as well as a gift for an inquisitive child as it does sitting on a coffee table. It’s a very conceptual book in that there are no words and only sets of illustrations that show before…then after. Some of the sets of illustrations work together to tell a short story, and we might see a image later in the book that we saw before. Most of the images are connected in some way and this is the beauty of the book! Creating a story. It’s great for storyboarding and sparking imaginative thinking; who do you think ate all this cake and why? Why’d they leave one piece?

Image Credit: Candlewick Press, Anne-Margot Ramstein/ Matthias Arégui

Image Credit: Candlewick Press, Anne-Margot Ramstein/ Matthias Arégui

Some before and afters span a few hours, others thousands of years!! One of my favorite sequences is Octopus -> Ink. Carrier Pigeon -> Feather for a quill which sits in the ink. Quill and ink -> Typewriter. Carrier Pigeon -> Letter ready to mail. Airplane jetting off (from a city we’ve maybe seen before?)

Ramstein and Arégui’s digital illustrations are beautiful with clean lines and a wide range of colors. I like how striking they are with an outline of color that makes the images pop. They do an amazing job of storytelling and help the reader to think about beginnings, endings, the sequence of events, results, processes, building up and tearing down, time and life and death. Whew that’s a lot for one book right? Before After is pretty amazing and very worth experiencing.

 

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Animals, Colors, Storyboarding, Storytelling, Imagination, Discussion, Time, Process, Imagination, Inquisitive Minds, Wordless
Book Info: Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein & Matthias Arégui, 2013 Candlewick Press, ISBN: 9780763676216

The World in a Second

TheWorldinaSecond

Image Credit: Enchanted Lion Books, Isabel Minhós Martins, Bernardo P. Carvalho

The World in a Second is very high concept and I love it! This is how I describe this book: Bam…BAM…bam…bam…Bammity BAM BAM…oooooh…Bam. The end?

What did you get from that? I’m odd? Why yes, I am but what I attempted to express is how fast-paced this book is. The pace of the book suits the title well because it’s about the passage of time, specifically one second, consecutively, in 23 places around the world with each page showing one second, across every time zone, in no particular order. The world is a flurry of activity and inactivity.

This book is mysterious and it may leave you with several…questions. There are many things to think about and discuss within each page second. I’ve reviewed a similar book called At The Same Moment, Around the World and although it’s also about world time, it’s much slower, makes more an effort to create a narrative and actively teaches children about the concept of “the time zone.” This book does not. It does teach, just in a different way. The scenes are more open to interpretation and reflection and this book is generally more abstract. Also, it’s so beautifully diverse! Lots of people to look at from all over the world!

TheWorldinaMinute2

Image Credit: Enchanted Lion Books, Isabel Minhós Martins/Bernardo P. Carvalho

Carvalho’s illustrations are very confident, blocky, detailed and vague. He invites us inside of a busy car in traffic, takes us inside the branches of an orange tree just as an orange falls and we get to observe a man resting quietly. I think children will enjoy the illustrations because they’re so bold and there’s a lot to discover which is great for inquisitive minds.

The World in a Second was originally published in Portugal in 2008. Thank you Enchanted Lion Books for translating and bringing this book to the US for us to enjoy!

P.S. Pay close attention to the last page! 😉

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Diversity, We Need Diverse Books, Discussion, Storyboarding, Imagination, Time Zones, Family, Community, Read-Aloud, Portugal, Animals, Mystery, Colors
Book InfoThe World in a Second by Isabel Minhós Martins/Illustrated by Bernardo P. Carvalho, 2015 Enchanted Lion Books, ISBN: 9781592701575

Here I Am

HereIam

Image Credit: Picture Window Books (Capstone Young Readers), Patti Kim/Sonia Sánchez

Whether escaping war, oppression, famine or discrimination, the United States has long been a place for new beginnings for people all over the world. Safe in our homes, it can be hard to put ourselves in the shoes of others, in the shoes of people who are fleeing their old life to make something better. Can you imagine being plucked from your home and while trying to hold on to what you know and understand, being placed in an entirely new (and sometimes scary) environment?

Reading Here I Am reminded me of the struggles of Syrian refugees trying to make new homes in various countries around the world. In this book, a young boy and his family leave Korea to make a new home in the US. This wordless picture book is inspired by the author Patti Kim’s experience leaving Korea at four years old to travel to the US. Her story, combined with Sonia Sánchez’s expressive and energetic art, is a moving tale of immigration.

In Here I Am, a child steps off a plane with his red seed from home tucked safely inside his pocket. It’s easy to see his confusion and reluctance to adjust to his new life. The words on sign posts and restaurants are a jumbled mess and all he hears from his teacher is “Blah Blah Blah” but…his red seed is comfort. He holes away in his family’s apartment, not ready to explore UNTIL…he drops his precious seed out the window and a girl picks it up and goes off with it! As he rushes down the stairs and begins to explore his city, he realizes how fascinating his new home is. Like his seed, he blooms and grows with his new friend, the new connection he makes in his new home.

This book is excellent for discussing difference, feelings and change and I hope you will keep this story with you!

Recommended for: Kindergarten and up
Great for: Diversity, Wordless, Moving, Immigration, Family, Friendship, We Need Diverse Books, Community, Discussion, Storyboarding
Book Info: Here I Am by Patti Kim/Illustrated by Sonia Sánchez, 2014 Picture Window Books (Capstone Young Readers), ISBN: 9781623700362

The Only Child

TheOnlyChild

Image Credit: Schwartz & Wade Books (Random House Children’s Books), Guojing

 

Sweet and reflective. I must say that 2015 is producing some AMAZING wordless picture books and this one is no exception.

In the Author’s Note, Guojing tells us that this book is a reflection of her feelings of loneliness while growing up in China in the 80s under the one-child policy. A generation of lonely children, she says, was created by this policy and The Only Child definitely has a note of melancholy to it.

In this wordless story, a very young girl is left alone while her parents go to work. She finds a photo album, is reminded of her grandmother and sets out to visit her. Unfortunately, she falls asleep on the bus and wanders the woods alone, lost, afraid and crying. From behind a tree in the snowy woods comes a majestic stag who comforts her then whisks her away to the skies. In the sky world, she discovers more wonderful creatures that assuage her loneliness.

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Image Credit: Schwartz & Wade (Random House Children’s Books), Guojing

Guojing is a great storyteller. This is a rather long and complicated wordless book/graphic novel; each panel is well executed and the story flows effortlessly. Her pencil drawings are lovely. The young girl’s emotions are so well drawn and the stag has beauty, quiet power and strength. There is a magical feeling to her drawings and the gray of the pencil adds to the cold wintry mood of the book. This is a great one for a cold, winter evening with a cup of cocoa or tea. Enjoy!

 

Recommended for: All ages
Great for: Emotions, Friendship, Family, Whimsy, Winter, Storyboarding, Storytelling, Diversity, Cultural Diversity, China, One Child Policy
Book Info: The Only Child by Guojing, 2015 Schwartz & Wade (Random House Children’s Books), ISBN: 9780553497045

Float

Image Credit: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Daniel Miyares

Image Credit: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Daniel Miyares

In Float, a boy sets out for the day, ready to explore with his freshly crafted paper boat. Though it begins to rain, he’s not worried at all and sends his boat sailing through the puddles. He splashes joyfully but before he knows it, rushing water whisks his boat away! Though he’s sad when he finds it limp and unfolded, he realizes that a fresh sheet of paper and a new day bring the possibility of new adventures!

Miyares uses a mostly gray palette that evokes cool, rainy day feelings. I love the page with lines of heavy gray-white rain. The boy is vibrantly dressed in yellow rain gear as he moves joyfully across the page. Miyares’ watercolor illustrations are manipulated digitally and I like how the sharp angles of the paper boat match the angles of the boy’s hat, coat and boots. The wordless aspect of this book is great for storytelling; it’s easy to begin a quiet discussion about how the boy feels during every stage of the story. Float is one of this year’s best wordless picture books with it’s attention to detail and simple yet endearing story of imagination.

P.S. The endpapers of the book add something special; take time to look at them and grab a piece of paper.

 

Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Storytelling, Storyboarding, Discussion, Imagination
Book Info: Float by Daniel Miyares, 2015 Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, ISBN: 9781481415248

Ball

Image Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mary Sullivan

Image Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Mary Sullivan

This post is dedicated to my good friend Scott and his doggie Fuhlonnie (Yellow Dog) who recently passed away. She was a GREAT doggie and she loved her ball, right Scott?  🙂 So does the yellow doggie in this lovely book.

Ball has only one word in the entire book. Can you guess what it is? Yup, it’s “ball.” What makes this book memorable is how clever Sullivan is with her storytelling and how charming her illustrations are. The book is set up comic-book style so you have to follow the panels to read the story. It’s about a day in the life of an energetic and lovable dog who just wants someone to play ball with. The members of the family either have to go to school, are busy or are just plain rude! It’s quite a fun book; I chuckle every time I read it. I recommend the board book form of this book because it is very sturdy and in my opinion, looks the best stylistically. This book is great for toddlers, early elementary (could make for great storyboarding/creative thinking lessons) and for ALL dog lovers. Ball…ball?…ball!!

Recommended for: Toddlers, 1st graders and dog lovers  😉
Great for: Storyboarding, Creative Thinking, Discussion
Book Info: Ball by Mary Sullivan, 2013 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, ISBN: 9780544313613