Picturebook of the Week monthly recap: February
I Don’t Want Curly Hair
Laura Ellen Anderson
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
We have all gone through it, wanting to have or be something which is not remotely attainable. In the case of this ingenious little heroine, it is her curly hair she abhors and she is certainly resourceful when attempting to get rid of her ringlets! This results in some rather hilarious and zany scenes which will delight young readers. The artwork is brimful of energy, fun and wonderful details, with the heroine’s expressions particularly delightful. Told in first person and in rhyme, the tale is great fun but with an ending which nonetheless highlights the importance of learning to accept what makes us who we are. An inspiring tale which will reach well beyond those dealing with frizzes.
Exuberant, life-embracing little Edie loves to be helpful and busy, much to everyone’s perplexity, and sometimes annoyance. Henn’s impeccably stylish signature artwork and beautifully retro palette of colour brings her to life wonderfully, and the story demands re-readings which unveils many little details (look out for PomPom!). Readers might recognise themselves in this zealous little heroine with a big heart and the perspective the story gives on how their over-helpfulness might be perceived by others is conveyed subtly but nonetheless very effectively. It is hard not to find Edie endearing however, and she is a much needed whirlwind of happiness and optimism. More Edie stories please!
A Perfect Day
What a joyous day for all the resident animals of Bert’s garden! Cat is loving the sun, Dog is enjoying the fresh water and Bird and Squirrel are savouring the food Bert is providing. It’s a perfect day in fact … until Bear turns up and ruins it for everyone in order to make his own day perfect. Smith’s mixed media and choice of spring-inspired colours are splendid and the artwork conveys exactly how I imagine his home state of Connecticut to be. Full of gentle humour, it provides an engaging exploration of differing perspectives which could lead to interesting discussions on empathy: is Bear even aware he is ruining everything for the others? Charming, astute and perfect for bedtime.
(Big Picture Press)
Marc Martin had already accustomed his fans to beautiful non-fiction picturebooks, but LOTS is simply superb and highlights just quite how talented an artist he is. Each double-spread is dedicated to a place in the world, giving readers a wonderful sense of place. Each is hand-painted, giving the impression you are reading a travel journal. This is not a book that you flick through; this a book you savour, taking in every small detail (of which there are many), every unusual observation conveyed on the page. Every new reading reveals a new fact, often supported visually as the only text included are labels. It is a superb compendium of the quirkiness and beauty of our world.