120 Picture Books in 2011

120 read not written of course! Beth, pointed me in the direction of this awesome picture book challenge back in January. Finally my blog is active and I have officially signed up with The Read to Me Picture Book Challenge. What a great initiative by There’s a book. You have various levels you can choose from, but I have decided to attempt 120 Picture Books read AND reviewed in 2011.  Books can be read alone or to a child, so mine will be a mixture for sure. My resources are our International School library and the municipal French library, so I may well be immersing myself in a number of golden oldies rather than a lot of hot-of-the-press books. I shall include a few French ones for variety. I love reading picture books, so this part won’t be hard, though the discipline of reviewing them might!

I borrowed a random selection this week, so let the reviews begin.

Book 1 – Picture Book Reading Challenge

The Three Questions Based on a Story by Leo Tolstoy  by Jon J Muth

Based on a short story by Tolstoy, this book tells of the search of a small boy for the answers to three questions he believes will help him live right in the world.  Muth transforms Tolstoy’s story for children by having all the friends as dreamy, appealing animals. Despite there being a clear moral in the story, the quest is gently shown by Muth’s own soft watercolor illustrations  and quietly humorous text, you get no sense of any preaching of a message. It is the old turtle, Leo, who eventually helps Nikolai discover the answers to his own questions.  This is clearly the sort of story that would provoke great discussion with a child in a very uncontrived way.  You come away with a really good feeling after reading this book. I will definitely be looking out for other by this author/illustrator.

Book 2 – Picture Book Reading Challenge

The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingram

What a funny, clever story! A hesitant at first pencil creates a typical world of boy, dog, cat, family, park etc even drawing a paintbrush to add color to the whole scene. This happy scene quickly disintegrates as characters become discontent,  and our pencil comes up with the canny solution of  drawing an eraser. Which goes great until the eraser gets carried away, well you get the (disappearing) picture! I won’t spoil Pencil’s creative final solution, but kids will just love the imaginativeness of this story…. I love how everyone, having been created by Pencil, demands a name…. I reckon kids from even 3 up will enjoy the simplicity and yet whimsical nature of these drawings.

Book 3 – Picture Book reading Challenge

Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats

Keats has a gift of using simple, economical, lyrical text to convey sweet, clear messages that children can immediately identify with. What older sibling hasn’t gone through the struggle of accepting sharing parents and belongings with a new baby brother or sister?  Peter’s old cradle and crib are painted pink for the baby and Peter decides a line should be dawn at his childhood chair, which he attempts to hide along with himself. When Peter realizes he is too big for his old chair he slowly accepts he is a big boy now and embraces being the big brother. It is a dear story with a relevant message and sweet ending.

P.S. For those who read my last post you will be glad to know that Julie and Emma did indeed win the Grammy. Congratulations to them both for a well deserved honor. My hope is that this award will help promote far and wide not only this beautiful anthology, but also their many other delightful children’s books.

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9 Responses to 120 Picture Books in 2011

  1. 17 libraries in the province wide system have The Pencil, and not one of them is in my city! I shall have to request an inter-library loan, because I’m quite sure I will like this book! Thankfully, the other two are available! They all sound so good!

    Welcome to the challenge! I’m so glad that another of my Hub Buddies has joined.

    (And as you know, I’m so very happy for Julie and Emma!)

  2. Patricia Tilton says:

    Three very interesting books. I was particularly intrigued by The Three Questions– as I like the idea of a book provoking disucssion among children. Is it spiritual in nature — had that feeling.

    Yes, it it hard to find The Pencil — truly original. I must get that one. If nothing else, it is on Amazon.com. I’m finding the same proble Beth is having when I look for an unusual book at the library — none in my state but a few copies in other states. How strange. Easier to find on Amazon. Sounds a like a wonderful reaad!

    • Joanna says:

      The Pensil is a 2008 book so it must be a very recent acquisition for the school library. Pat indeed The Three Questions is both spiritual and philosophical.

  3. Hi, Joanna! Me again. Just a quick question — are you linking your Reading Challenge posts to the month’s update post on There’s A Book? Here’s the link to this month’s post for linking… http://www.theresabook.com/2011/02/read-to-me-picture-book-challenge-february-link-up/

  4. Joanna says:

    Beth, thanks so much, I was thinking I was missing something. Hope I have understood now 😉

  5. I saw your “finally got started” comment in the comments field, but I don’t see your link… where it says “Mr. Linky’s Magical Widget” fill in your name, and the url for this post, and it will appear in the list.

    • Joanna says:

      Thanks again, Beth, I used the Mr Linky and although I am not sure the comment came up correctly, I think I have been added to February’s list of reviews.

  6. Pingback: Muth and Zen : Miss Marple's Musings

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