Friday, December 7, 2012

Picture books mini-review 21

Olivia and the Fairy Princesses
by Ian Falconer
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
August 2012

Olivia, that ever sassy pig, returns in this latest installment of the popular series. Olivia, as always, marches to the beat of her own drummer. While other girls are enamored of pink, bejeweled princesses, Olivia is ready to question everything they stand for. ""Why is it always a pink princess? Why not an Indian princess or a princess from Thailand or an African princess or a princess from China?" she cries. "I'm trying to develop a more stark, modern style," she says. As a child of the 70's, this kind of anti-girly-girl feminist message is like mother's milk to me. Melodramatic, endearing Olivia finally declares, "I want to be queen." Pink stars decorate the endpages.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Cecil the Pet Glacier
by Matthea Harvey, illustrated by Giselle Potter
Schwartz & Wade
August 2012

Bizarre, fascinating and strange. This book is about a girl who is so desperate for a pet, she ends up saddled with a mini-glacier. This is so decidedly odd, I wondered if this was a foreign translation! Nope. It's American. Ruby Small likes to think of herself as an aggressively normal kid.It's not her fault that her father is a topiary artist, and her mother is a tiara designer. Relatively flat watercolor illustrations depict a straight-faced family amidst some pretty zany ideas with tongue-in-cheek humor. When Cecil the Glacier appears to imprint on a reluctant Ruby, her first words are, "Oh, no... Please no." I loved the way Ruby's father calls her by the pet name "hedgeling." Poor little Cecil has a lot of personality for a bob of ice. He's devastated when Ruby is picked on at school, "Cecil shed a tear... from the area where his eyes would have been if he'd had eyes, which he didn't." Ruby comes around after Cecil saves one of her three dolls, all named Jennifer. The story ends with a promise of Ruby starting to embrace her inner weirdness.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Annie and Snowball and the Grandmother Night
by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Sucie Stevenson
Simon Spotlight
September 2012

A sweet little beginning reader about a warm and happy family relationship. I always get a little nervous reading books for young children about grandparents - will the grandmother pass away? No, thank goodness! This is a just a light-hearted, enjoyable recounting of all the fun things that Annie does on a weekend visit with her grandmother: baking cookies, watching a movie, telling bedtime stories.

I borrowed this book from the library.

Ten Tiny Toes
by Todd Tarpley, illustrated by Marc Brown
Little Brown Books for Young Readers
September 2012

Sweet and cozy, this is a wonderful celebration of adorably scrumptious babies. A diverse group of families share one thing in common: a deep and abiding connection to their children. Cut paper, gouache and colored pencil illustrations reminded me a little of Brian Karas. End papers show baby footprints walking across the page. Lovely!

I borrowed this book from the library.

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