Archive for the ‘Picture Books’ Category
Review – Vunce Upon A Time
Jotto Seibold and Siobhan Vivian
Illustrated by Jotto Seibold
Chronicle Books, 2008
Here we have one quirky little vampire guy. He’s shy, afraid of humans, a vegetarian, and a total fiend for CANDY. Parents beware: this cute vampire book is an complete ode to candy! The computer generated art is bright and chock full of things for young readers to look for and enjoy. (Including many, many candy wrappers!)
Our hero Dagmar, out to replenish his dwidling candy supply, discovers the joys of Halloween. Blissfully unself-aware, he doesn’t realize he needs no costume, being already appropriately attired for the holiday. He scares the parental units by modeling his own handmade creation – a garlic suit! Later he meets a ghost who shows him the ropes, only to eventually discover that she is. . .yikes . . .a human!
I’m not a huge fan of CG art and thought a vampire with a pink ski jump for a nose was a bit over the top. What I did like was reading a story line that speaks to what it feels like to be different from others, to be afraid, and alone. We have all faced those feelings, from the first day we ventured beyond our homes, started attending a new school, or tried out for the soccer team.
Children will totally get this. If a guy like Dagmar can overcome his fears, they can too. And of course, they’ll love the CANDY!
You never know what a mouse like Cletus can do with a set of wheels. Find out when my book series Runt Farm comes out this year.
Review – The Child Cruncher
Illustrated by Mies van Hout
Publisher: Lemniscaat, an imprint of Boyds Mills Press, Inc.
When a young girl who is bored is abducted by the child cruncher she is THRILLED! At last some adventure. She is hoping for the best, but as it turns out he is just an ordinary child cruncher and not into playing pirates or cooking a proper meal either. Undaunted by his lack of interest in anything but having her for breakfast, she leads him on a merry dash around the countryside, steals his horse and eventually makes it triumphantly back home.
The tradition of monsters in children’s stories is as old as time. Human culture seems to thrive on stories of big bad creatures that we must outsmart and overcome. As children we grew up on the run from the billy goats gruff, the big bad wolf, Hansel and Gretel’s witch, and of course the hairy thing that was hiding under our beds every night.
Whether we tell these tales to our children to frighten them into being good or to teach them that life will sometimes deal some hefty challenges, we never seem to tire of the opportunity to spin a tale of a monstrous bad guy.
The monster in this book is really quite endearingly portrayed and illustrated. I particularly love the scene of him waking up to his redecorated cave, after his guest has painted the walls purple, daubed yellow hearts here and there, and tied flowers to all four bed posts. He is hugging his bunny and pouting, a sweet heart tattoo adorning his arm. What a pushover! No way he will be having breakfast today.
One member of the Runt Farm family speaks only a single word. But that one word says volumes. Found out who it is when my Runt Farm books make their debut. Use the RSS feed here and I’ll keep you posted.