But there must be some minimal age at which certain subjects are taboo, right? You know, TABOO. As in:"an inhibition or ban resulting from social custom or emotional aversion"\
If so, certainly DEATH would be that subject, and it would take more than a picture book to open that conversation, right?
If you find yourself among those who share that view, I hope you'll shelve your opinion just long enough to take a closer look at these amazing picture books.
|Enchanted Lion Books, 2016|
End papers often provide a clue as to the mood or theme of a picture book, but in this case they puzzled me until I reached the story-in-a-story, told by the Visitor/Death. At that point they made perfect sense, representing the delicate balance between all of life's emotions, even it's extremes. Death is unapologetic and yet reassuring that, as the title indicates, life endures and hearts can bear grief, growing stronger and more living in the process. The patience, grace, and manner of Death in this picture book make it an ideal choice to launch a group study of the narrator in THE BOOK THIEF, by Markus Zusak, with older readers.
|Tundra Books, 2015|
Here's what i said about it earlier this year during the Cybils evaluation:
Bug in a Vacuum by author/illustrator Mélanie Watt is an unusual and valuable picture book. Speech-bubbled, pun-packed reflections tell the titled story when Bug is sucked into a vacuum. Underlying that is a simultaneous story of a dog and his lost toy, told in subtle wordless images.
Cleverly embedded text throughout the double-page spreads label the stages-of-grief, mirroring Bug's and dog's various attempts at coping with loss. Muted, mixed media illustrations merge these complex narratives seamlessly in a triple-layered story. It has much to offer children of all ages — and I do mean all.
The witty commentary and humorous illustrations of Bug, rife with wordplay and visual metaphors, propel the story above and beyond the grief and loss references. Instead, readers will engage with bug's dilemma, dog's subtext, and breathe a sigh of relief at satisfying, surprising conclusions.
This quirky offering by the author of Scaredy Squirrel presents a darker vibe and fills 96 pages, but it shares the ability to generate laughs, provoke thoughtful discussion, inspire meaningful questions, and draw children in for multiple readings.
Perhaps we (as adults) could all benefit from more time spent reading and discussing picture books among ourselves.I, for one, would vote for that. Only then, when we've decided we have plumbed the depths and have all the answers should we read them to and with young people, remaining silent, listening to them as they consider and question and prove to us that we have only scratched the surface.
Then, instead of wondering if some subjects are too intense for the very young, we'd realize that they are only too intense for those who have grown too old to listen.