This powerful picture book by an Italian illustrator and author uses black and sunset-hued colors to chronicle the escape of a young girl, her younger brother, and their mother from the war-torn land “by the sea” where their father disappeared.
Book info: The Journey / Francesca Sanna. Flying Eye Books, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: As war takes her father, then makes home dangerous, a girl escapes with her mother and brother by night, seeking safety in a faraway place.
By car, on foot, by bicycle, boat, and train – the small family crosses borders as they travel onward and onward, their luggage growing smaller, their money dwindling, yet their hope growing as they get nearer and nearer their destination.
The girl sees her mother’s strength (but not her nightly hidden tears), tells her brother stories about imagined monsters beneath the rough seas and dreamed-of fairies in their new land who “give us magic spells to end the war” as their journey continues.
From dark forests where angry guards loom large to the bright shore where freedom beckons across the sea, The Journey picture book is artist/author Francesca Sanna’s tribute to all refugees and migrants.
With every attempt by coach Abbott to teach the unusual player names to new catcher Costello, the incoming team member’s frustration grows and grows.
Whether you love comedy, baseball, the ability of just a few bits of paint to convey intense emotion, or all of the above, put this Everybody book on your list. You can share it with a younger reader, give it to your dad (hint, hint – Father’s Day is June 16 this year), or keep it for yourself to enjoy again and again.
What other spoken-word classics would translate well to visual format?
My book talk: A baseball player asks his coach for the names of his new teammates. Despite Coach’s warning about funny names, the new catcher becomes more and more confused as the explanation goes on and on in this home run picture book presentation of Abbott and Costello’s classic comedy routine.
The infield is easy: “Who’s on first. What’s on second. I Don’t Know’s on third” says Coach, a tall bear with a calm expression. The chubby bunny catcher’s puzzled face fills a whole page, as he tries to process this information.
By the time they get to the outfield – “And the left fielder’s name?” asks the catcher. “Why” answers Coach – the bunny’s exasperation is extreme, and the procession of varied animals in pinstriped baseball shirts grows.
Fans of baseball or funny stories or wacky humor will enjoy reading “Who’s On First?” again and again, enjoying illustrator Martz’s skill at making the players indeed look like teammates while keeping their own animal characteristics intact. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
Yes, of course! Picture books are great for all ages and every interest. That’s why Picture Book Month reminds us of the wide range of stories where the pictures make the tale come alive, from Where the Wild Things Are to Grandfather’s Journey.
A charming book to spice up your world geography report or to share with younger friends. What do you wish the Lucky Cat could bring to you?
Book info: I Am Tama, Lucky Cat / Wendy Heinrichs; illustrated by Yoshiko Jaeggi. Peachtree Publishers, 2010. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My Book Talk: Arriving at an old Japanese temple, the bobtailed cat raises his paw in greeting. The monk brings him in from the snowstorm and calls him a lucky cat. So Tama strives to make life better for the monk in this beautiful retelling of the lucky cat legend. But with no money, how can Tama and the monk repair the temple and help its worshippers?
Watercolor images of the flowering trees and carp pond surrounding the rundown temple evoke the serenity of its setting near a holy mountain. This beautiful picture book for all ages includes short historical notes about the legend’s origins.
You’ll look for new details in the illustrations every time you read about Tama, and you’ll smile every time you see a ‘lucky cat’ in a store window or restaurant, his paw raised in traditional greeting. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
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