Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A Love of Picture Books

As promised here I am with my musings on some of the very latest and most wonderful (in my humble opinion of course) picture books for you to share and delight in as I do....

Picture books range from those with no words to full stories with plenty of text and there really is everything in between. Perhaps this is what makes them so adorable and irresistible, one never knows on opening the cover what will lie within. With the selection I have here for your delectation there should be something for every taste, style and even occasion.

I shall begin with FArTHER, (Grahame Baker-Smith, Templar Publishing) not because the title reminds me of being last but because it is an intelligent and serious story. This is perhaps one of the more unusual picture books I have read and it is one that I would actually be tempted to share with much older readers as much for its angular and collage style pictures as for its sophisticated and philosophical story. It addresses the relationship between father and son, obsessions, hobbies, love and loss. It is a very grown-up story, a magical fairytale and a story of families. It is a worthy picture book that may have a more limited appeal than most but is an excellent resource for teachers.

On a lighter note I move on to Stan and Mabel (Jason Chapman, Templar Publishing) a story
that will be loved by all children for all children love animals, especially those who do the most human of actions. Children are able to suspend belief more easily than adults. The world around them is far more fluid and many more things can happen in their imaginations. So this story is perfect for little ones for Stan and Mabel are a cat and dog, somewhat unloved by their owners take it upon themselves to audition for The Greatest Orchestra in the World and this endeavour takes them on a wonderful journey and involves a great number of new friends being made! As the official artist for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Jason has the perfect models for his story. Add to this a rather large sprinkling of story writing talent and the perfect ingredients of a great story are mixed.

Staying in the city readers must once again find the ability to suspend relaity, this time in favour of magical fantasy for Ruby Nettleship and the Ice Lolly Adventure (Thomas Docherty, Templar Publishing) invloves a fairytale-esq flowering shoot that can read Ruby's thoughts and provides her and all her friends with the most exciting adventure through the city. This story focuses on poor quality children's playgrounds, how children can use their imaginations for positive results and how, with a little persuasion and a few kind words, great deeds can be done. A charming, classic and clever story. Most definately one to be shared.

I hope that your imagination is not in overdrive just yet for my next title certainly needs some
and a story telling talent too. Foxly's Feast (Owen Davy, Templar Publishing) is a tasty and wordless feast. Featuring the young Foxly readers are guided through his search for the most fantastic feast, one that will satisfy his rumbling tummy (just like the one my husband appears to currently have!) Foxly has big ideas but no words, out of his mouth in wonderful speech bubbles merely appear a knife and fork. With pages full of colour and very simple illustartion this book will takes children on a journey as wild as their imaginations and is quite simply wonderful for encouraging creative writing and story telling. Deservedly highly commended for a student illustration prize this is a charming and clever picture book from a new talent.

Finally I have saved for last a modern fable and fairytale from one of my favourite authors and illustrators, Mini Grey. I have to admit a bias towards all her books which are equally intelliegnet and all take on a fable or fairytale with a modern twist. This latest Three By The Sea (Mini Grey, Jonathan Cape) tells the story of three very disperate friends, a dog, cat and mouse who live happily until a stranger drops into their lives and whispers into the harmony. The result of his mischief is actually a very important lesson about friendship. Full of the wit and detail that one has come to expect from all the Mini Grey does this is a book that can be poured over for hours by children and adults alike. There are many subtle messages contained within its pages and some wonderful recipes too... anyone for cheese?

So here ends my picture book selection, I hope that you manage to enjoy some or at least one of these titles nearly as much as I have and I would of course love to know your thoughts on the books or my musings!

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