Chloe No 1.
This Chloe isn’t good at sports or video games or ballet. What she is good at is making stuff. When snooty London beats Chloe to buy their friend Emma the perfect birthday present Chloe is at a loss for what to do. She quickly figures it out and creates an even more perfect present. The storyline is solidly cute, if a bit predictable.
Chloe No. 2
Chloe is right smack in the middle of her family, with 10 older brothers and sisters and 10 younger brothers and sisters. But she likes it there. She especially likes it every night after dinner when her family has family fun time. Until the night that Dad brings home a TV and family fun time is no longer fun. It’s up to Chloe to find a way to remind them how to have fun again together instead of just staring at the TV. I liked the cute bunnies and the muted slightly spare pen and ink illustrations. And I wanted to like the story more. After all, I’m all for the less TV and more family fun time. But the message was just a little too heavy handed which resulted in a clunky story.
Chloe No. 3
This Chloe is the character in a book being written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex. That is until Adam won’t illustrate the story that Mac is writing and Mac gets mad and writes that Adam is eaten by a lion and then there is no one to draw Chloe except Mac who is a good writer but terrible artist. It’s a very clever book and one that addresses the interesting relationship between an author and illustrator (something I’ve often wondered about) but not one with a lot of heart. I think maybe I’m a little tired of the slightly snarky and oh so clever trend in picture books. I’m looking for story and often we’re given something that is more of a commentary on the concept of story. Clever, yes. Satisfying, not so much.
Chloe No. 4
Of all the Chloe books, this one had the most simple storyline. It was also the one I read the most this week as Ruth requested it over and over again.
Molly has always wanted a baby sister. A baby sister who would be just like her. A piano player who likes book and to color with crayons. But she got Chloe, instead. Chloe who gets into Molly’s crayons and eats them and her books and rips them. As you can imagine, in the end Molly learns to appreciate and love Chloe. I’m sure that one of the things that appealed to Ruth was the very bright and cheerful illustrations. It also may be that Chloe reminded her just a tiny bit of herself (she who was known as the Pink Destroyer for a while by her brothers). Or it may be that she liked that the ending shows the big sister loving the little sister despite all her faults. Or I could be overthinking it and she just liked it. However, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this book ends with Chloe sneaking into Molly’s bed at night and that Ruth requested a “sleepover” with David tonight. As I write this they are snuggled in his bed together.
All four Chloe books are nominated for a Cybils award in the fiction picture book category. Consider playing along this year in Amy’s Armchair Cybils challenge. Or at least drop by here and Hope is the Word on Thursday for the first link-up of Cybils related reviews.