Picture Book Round-Up

Bloom by Doreen Cronin and David Small.  Not so much a picture book but a fairy tale to be shared.  A fairy named Bloom is very powerful, but she has heavy feet and she tracks mud everywhere.  The Kingdom of Glass deems this unsuitable, so they banish Bloom into the forest.  Years later, the kingdom is falling apart.  It's only held together with "tape, glue, and peasants" (Small rather delightfully adds an illustration of the castle in silouhette with little people studded throughout the walls, rather like cranberries in a muffin).  The King remembers that there is a powerful fairy in the forest who might save the kingdom.  He rides off and encounters Bloom, who flings a pot of mud at his feet and tells him that is the magic that will save the kingdom.

This isn't acceptable at all, so the King rides off in a huff.  Ditto the Queen when she comes to visit.  Finally, the royal household sends Genevieve, the royal crystal spoon-washer, because she is the quietest, gentlest, and most ordinary of all.

When Bloom asks why the King and Queen sent a girl entrusted with only a spoon's maintenance to save a kingdom, Genevieve replies that she is ordinary.

The fairy with heavy footfalls and the propensity to leave dirt everywhere is also a can-do feminist, and she teaches Genevieve that "there's no such thing as an ordinary girl."  Genevieve returns to the kingdom loud, in charge, full of dirt, and perfectly capable of rebuilding the kingdom ... in brick.

Cronin, author of Dooby Dooby Moo, Click Clack Moo, and other silly barnyard tales, hands readers a surprise and a gift with this story to be shared with all the girls in your life.

Chuck and Woodchuck by Cece Bell.  I imagined Caroline and Chuck's budding romance as how Cece Bell and Tom Angleberger met.  Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that there was a woodchuck involved in that story, too.  This was truly adorable, although perhaps a bit more adult-directed than storytime friendly.

Crash! The Cat by David McPhail.  This book has some of the most terrifyingly illustrated children I've ever had the misfortune to see in a picture book. I remarked to a coworker that the two girls looked like they were trying out for a Stephen King novel adaptation. Crash the cat resembles not so much a feline but a rabbit (add long ears and cut off the tail and you've got Crash the bunny), and he sleeps in a small human-shaped bed. As cats do.

A good pick for Halloween if you want to have nightmares about ill-dressed children with hair like octopi.


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