So, I was a little surprised this year by the Cybils finalists. However, I wanted to keep playing along with the Armchair Cybils so I checked out the finalists in the fiction picture book and non-fiction picture book categories to see what I’d missed the first time around.
I had seen Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds on the new book shelf many times but had pased it by each time. I’m not sure why. I think I thought it was a Halloween book. I’m not anti-Halloween but it’s not my favorite holiday and I especially didn’t feel like reading a Halloween book out of season. I was wrong. It’s not a Halloween book. It is a very funny book. Jasper Rabbit is a gluttonous little bunny that loves to gobble down carrots. One day he begins to see carrots everywhere. Creepy carrots following him around. I love that it’s a mystery whether or not the carrots are really following him until the end. I also liked Peter Brown’s illustrations with a mostly black and white color palette with the only color being the orange of the carrots (or the objects that just might be carrots). It’s definitely a funny and clever book and has a lot of kid appeal. Only warning is that you might never get your kids to eat their veggies again.
The subtitle of One Special Day by Lola Schaefer, “A Book for Big Brothers and Sisters”, is a bit misleading. It is a book about becoming a big brother and would make a great book to read to a young child about to have a new sibling. However, I often find that I avoid those issue books unless I am specifically looking for one for that issue. I find that most of the time books on being a big brother or potty-training or the first day of school aren’t really well-done enough to hold the interest of kids not at that particular stage of life. This book is an exception. It is a really beautiful and appealing book that happens to also be a good book about becoming a new sibling. The text is simple as it introduces us to Spencer and all his different characteristics. He’s as strong as a bear and as fast as a horse and as muddy as a pig. The animals are never named in the text but are shown in bright paintings by Jessica Meserve. Ruth loved shouting out the names of each animal as I read the text “Spencer was wild as a….TIGER”. At the end of the book we see another side of Spencer as on one special day he is quiet, and waiting and gentle. I think I especially liked this book because it so beautifully captures the personality of a little boy much like my own two boys: wild and fierce and funny and loud but then also gentle and loving with their own baby sister. Ruth also really liked looking at the bonus illustrations on the end pages (the front ones are of Spencer alone doing all sorts of fun things, the end ones are of Spencer doing different but also fun things with his baby sister).
We read A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead sometime last summer. I liked it well enough but I don’t remember any of the kids finding it all that special. However, when I brought it home from the library this time David immediately saw the cover and said “Oh, goody! That funny bird book!” Ruth has also requested multiple readings and today told me “I like this one. The frog is funny.” So, there you go. Shows how much I know. This quirky but sweet story of an odd friendship has also grown on me. On this reading I noticed more details in the illustrations that made me more appreciative of the story of Vernon (the funny frog) and the silent Cuckoo bird’s journey to find a home.
Come back next week on Jan 15th for a final look at this year’s Cybils finalists.
Today, stop by Hope is the Word for Read Aloud Thursday, always a fantastic source for great books to share with kids.