Picture Book Roundup: Early April

Alas, my last run of picture books was, as I posted, rather dismal, except for two:

Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon (LOVE)
Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera (perfect for storytime!)

I checked our new shelves today, and they're positively overflowing with shiny new picture books.  I immediately went into librarian hoarder mode and grabbed a stack.  I prefer sitting on the floor to sitting in chairs (which explains why kids climb in my lap during storytime--well, kind of), so I cozied up under my desk and started devouring my pile.  Almost all of them turned out to be winners.  Maybe publishers send out the not-so-hot titles first?  Check out the awesomeness of April picture books!

The Grudge Keeper by Mara Rockliff

Okay, this is definitely aimed more at adults.  The general concept of not holding onto grudges does apply to kids, of course, but the gorgeous, witty language of this is top-notch (and probably over the head of your average kindergartener).

Old Cornelius is the keeper of all the grudges in the village of Bonnyripple.  His house holds "ruffled feathers, petty snits, minor tiffs and major huffs, insults, umbrage, squabbles, dust-ups, and imbroglios."  The language is gorgeous and the line drawings are vaguely Dickensian, which suits the language. 

Adults will definitely *get* it.  I loved it.

Baby's Got The Blues by Carol Diggory Shields

Read this in a deep, husky voice.  Something with character.  A Louis Armstrong rasp, maybe. 
"Woke up this morning soggy, and that smell kept getting riper.  But I can't talk, no way to say, "Won't somebody change my diaper?"  'Cause I'm a baby, Got those baby stinkeroos."  Can't you just feel the walking bass?  It's such a genius execution of a sweet idea.  My co-worker noticed all the little artistic details added, like a missing bootie and food on the face.  The people all look like real people.  Mom has a tattoo and another mom at playgroup wears a headscarf. 

I'm definitely going to try to set this to music and sing it to my storytime.  Their ears will bleed!

The Nowhere Box by Sam Zuppardi

The concept is familiar: take a cardboard box and turn it into whatever you wish.  As a child, you have that power.  It is very real.  George is fed up with his two little brothers, so he creates a ship/vehicle out of a washing machine box and goes to Nowhere.  In Nowhere, he can create anything he imagines.  But he can't imagine other people to play with.  Maybe Nowhere isn't so great after all.

This one I particularly loved for the exuberant artwork.  It's a little bit Jeff Mack, a little bit Greg Kinney, and very, very fun.  It's got a lot of texture to it, which I like a lot.  Inside Nowhere, everything has a corrugated feel, since Nowhere is created from cardboard! 

Wake Up, Rupert! by Mike Twohy

Rupert the Rooster's numero uno job is to wake everyone up at dawn.  Trouble is, he's a late sleeper.  And a heavy one. 
"He had to set six alarm clocks before he went to bed at night to make sure he didn't sleep past sunrise.  He hid them around his room in hard to find places.  That way, by the time he got all the alarms turned off the next morning, at least one of his eyes would be open enough to see the sun come up."
Clearly, Rupert is my soulmate.  I have five alarms on my phone to wake me up in the morning.  If I'm lucky, I wake up.
Frustrated and tired, Rupert fobs off the waking-up job on the sheep, who do rather too good a job at it.  This could be used quite nicely with kids who don't want to go to bed on time, as it isn't overtly preachy.

Both Nowhere and Rupert were published earlier, but my library just got them in, so for me, they were early April reads.



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