by Michael Ian Black
Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Not plain, yet simple, this book is FUN!
A little girl, let’s say a precocious 4, beautifully rendered with simple wood-cut lines, is bored, bored, bored, blahhhhh, bored. And so is the disagreeable potato she has befriended.
“What do you like to do?” asks the little girl. The potato makes a suggestion. But, seeing how flamingos are scarce, she must do her best to entice the spud with other distractions.
She demonstrates games and tumbling, to no avail.
So she must resort to her imagination.
Finding the ballerina and lion tamer banal, the starchy little antagonist goads the child on, each new page turn revealing more and more elaborate scenes that fill with detail, colour, and emotion, until she’s HAD IT with the tuber’s bad attitude, and storms off.
Dynamic use of text layout and vibrating line work make this picture book a funny and entertaining read, but the funniest bits come from the incorrigible potato.
In The Garden
by Peggy Collins
Published by Applesauce Press
This is a joyous concept book that takes us through three seasons and the life cycle of the backyard garden. It stars a preschool-aged boy who is discovering the wondrous changes that happen between putting seeds in the ground and enjoying the fruits of his labours.
This book is full of big, bright illustrations. Each mixed media drawing teems with life, every page crawling with the little and large creatures that we share our small corners of paradise with. The art is cartoony and exaggerated, fun and energetic.
The writing is full of gentle humour, in a voice that is easily grasped by young children, but still holds appeal for the adults doing the read aloud. And it has some lovely observations that reflect a real understanding of the way a little person sees the world.
Teachers, use it in units that explore life cycles, plants, the interaction between man and the environment, and our food sources. It is also great for studying descriptive language, and text features like the creative use of font colour and size.
Collins has another book in this series called In The Snow, and several others that she has authored and/or illustrated. Her blog is listed in the side menu.