Other Stuff Exists

Don't get too comfortable with the familiar–other stuff exists, so go explore!

Children’s Books, Briefly: 2014-03-21

Posted by Tracy Poff on March 21, 2014

More brief reviews.

Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins

Rosie'sWalk-coverA great use of medium. The text is a single sentence, describing Rosie the hen’s peaceful walk around the farm (“Rosie the hen went for a walk . . . and got back in time for dinner.”), but the illustrations tell a different story: the whole time, a fox is pursuing her, intent on getting his own dinner. Humorous mishaps keep stopping him, and eventually he’s chased off by a swarm of bees. The art is nice–red, orange, and yellow in the foreground and green in the background, usually with heavy borders, giving everything a sort of paper cutout look. Quite enjoyable.

Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks

HeyAl-coverWinner of the 1987 Caldecott Medal. Al and his dog, Eddie, live in a tiny one-room apartment, and Eddie isn’t happy. They’re led by a large bird to a kind of paradise, but they begin to turn into birds themselves, so they escape and are happy with their old apartment. “Paradise lost is sometimes Heaven found.”

The art is cleverly fit into rectangles, with bits poking out at the edges. Extremely nice. There’s good emotional impact when Al believes he’s lost Eddie, too. An altogether very good book.

How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina R. Friedman

HowMyParentsLearnedToEat-coverI first read this years ago, in school. It’s a story of clashing cultures: an American sailor and a Japanese schoolgirl fall in love, and fear to eat with the other, not knowing how to use chopsticks (resp. a fork). This book isn’t bad, but I think most of my enjoyment was from nostalgia. The art is nice, but pretty flat, and the story boils down to “different cultures have different customs, but we shouldn’t be afraid to learn from each other”. Nothing really wrong with it, but this isn’t a book I’d want to re-read often.

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