Jul 8, 2014

More Multiple-Target Picture Books

I'll keep this short, but these are just a few titles that deserve a deeper look. I'll share my Goodreads notes on them and links so you can follow-up for yourselves.

Each of these titles is distinguished by its potential use with readers of various ages, depending on the intended purpose. The writing and illustration style of each is dramatically different from the others, as are their topics and stories. 

First up:  GASTON, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson. 
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014
Goodreads synopsis:
"This is the story of four puppies: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston. Gaston works the hardest at his lessons on how to be a proper pooch. He sips—never slobbers! He yips—never yaps! And he walks with grace—never races! Gaston fits right in with his poodle sisters.
But a chance encounter with a bulldog family in the park—Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette—reveals there’s been a mix-up, and so Gaston and Antoinette switch places. The new families look right…but they don’t feel right. Can these puppies follow their noses—and their hearts—to find where they belong?"
My review- with four stars:
"I added this recent title to categories for diversity and body image, because it not only works as a delightfully funny and heartwarming story for young readers/readaloud, it could also open discussions with older kids about family expectations, identity, and judging others based on physical traits/externals."

McSweeney's Mcullens, 2011

Next in line: SYMPHONY CITY, written and illustrated by Amy Martin.
Goodreads synopsis says:
"In Symphony City, a young girl, lost in a big city, makes her way home by following the rich and vibrant music of the streets. Bursting with bright colors and narrated in lively, staccato phrases, Amy Martin's debut children's book is at once a sweeping page-turner and a book that makes you want to stop and pore over every page.
Symphony City is an exciting adventure story for children and parents who love music, art, and big imagination. As a special bonus, the dust-jacket unfolds into a giant two-sided poster, suitable for extended gazing.
My review, with four stars:
I'm a fan of the illustration and the idea of this book rather than the text. It is a highly appealing concept, and the images offer ample opportunity for discussion and could even serve as prompts for personal writing. It offers an homage to the ubiquitous value of music in our lives, but I feel it might have been more effective if developed as a wordless book.

Roaring Book Press, 2014
A Neal Porter Book
Now for a non-fiction title, GRAVITY, written and illustrated by Jason Chin.

Goodreads synopsis has this to say:
"What keeps objects from floating out of your hand?
What if your feet drifted away from the ground?
What stops everything from floating into space?
As in his previous books, Redwoods, Coral Reefs, and Island, Jason Chin has taken a complex subject and made it brilliantly accessible to young readers in this unusual, innovative, and very beautiful book."

My review, with four stars:

"The spare text and vibrant, dynamic illustrations make this book a valuable resource to launch investigations about gravity and space. back matter leads readers through the basics and leads to further research and investigations. This is a gorgeous book in its own right, but also a valuable teaching tool."

Finally, Here's RED KITE, BLUE KITE, written by Ji-li Jiang, illustrated by Greg Ruth.

Goodreads synopsis says:
When Tai Shan and his father, Baba, fly kites from their roof and look down at the crowded city streets below, they feel free, like the kites. Baba loves telling Tai Shan stories while the kites--one red, and one blue--rise, dip, and soar together. Then, a bad time comes. People wearing red armbands shut down the schools, smash store signs, and search houses. Baba is sent away, and Tai Shan goes to live with Granny Wang. Though father and son are far apart, they have a secret way of staying close. Every day they greet each other by flying their kites-one red, and one blue-until Baba can be free again, like the kites. 

Inspired by the dark time of the Cultural Revolution in China, this is a soaring tale of hope that will resonate with anyone who has ever had to love from a distance."

review, with five stars:
Disney-Hyperion, 2013

"The intensity and heart of this story are matched by the illustrations and language, which portray a harsh reality but also evoke a gentle and loving relationship. The shadowy/foggy background images reveal the terrain, both political and physical, while not distracting from the central story. This works well with very young readers as a family story of hope and happiness and also with older readers as a personal story from what is otherwise a remote and disconnected time and place in history."

I hope you'll take time to check these out, and share them with readers at every age.

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Picture books are as versatile and diverse as the readers who enjoy them. Join me to explore the wacky, wonderful, challenging and changing world of picture books.