It has been a good year for us in terms of reading new books. This is primarily due to the fact that we have started visiting almost all of the libraries in our area, and one of them apparently has a larger children’s book budget than the others. At this library, they display the new books all together in a cart and mark them with “new book” stickers, making them really easy to find. I love this, and we have loved snagging these new titles.
When I saw Jonathan’s Big Blue Boat by Philip C. Stead, I immediately recognized him as the author of last year’s Caldecott medalist, A Sick Day for Amos McGee. To read how much I love this book, go here. 🙂 Go ahead. I’ll wait on you. Okay. See what I mean? How could I leave Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat in the new books bin? I just couldn’t. Well, this book is not A Sick Day for Amos McGee, but it has its own particular charm. The story is a rather simple one, full of imagination and whimsy. It’s about a little boy named Jonathan whose parents decide he’s too old to hang onto his “lovey,” a teddy bear named Frederick, any longer; in fact, they rather callously announce to him that they have traded Frederick in for a toaster. (Yes, a toaster.) Thus, Jonathan embarks on a voyage in the Big Blue Boat, a rusty old behemoth that he and Frederick visited together at the wharf often, to find Frederick. What follows is a gentle, fantastical story of Jonathan seeing the world in the Big Blue Boat. On the journey, Jonathan picks up several companions, including a mountain goat and an elephant. Jonathan and his friends even encounter pirates! The story has a happy ending, a requirement for a proper children’s story. The story itself reminds me of something a child might concoct–fantastic and unbelievable, with lots of outlandish fun. However, the real charm of the story for me is due to the illustrations. It turns out that Philip C. Stead is not just a writer; he is also an artist, and a good one. You can read all about the process he used to make the wonderful collage-y, watercolor pictures in this book here at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. (Really–don’t miss this post if you’re at all interested in art and illustrations; it contains lots and lots of cool pictures! It also shows a little bit about his writing process.) Phillip C. Stead also kept an interesting blog leading up to the release of Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat . This is one of the most visually interesting picture books I’ve read in a long while, so I give it a Highly Recommended. Oh, and it reminds me of my girls’ dear loveys: Lulu’s Bunny (companion to Buh, her blanket) and Louise’s bear (unnamed), which are some of my favorite things in the world, so of course I love it. We’d definitely hop aboard the Big Blue Boat to go in search of these treasures!
Well, I fully intended to review several more titles, but I had no idea I’d go on and on and on about Jonathan, Frederick, and the Big Blue Boat! 😉 I’ll save the other titles for another day.
What’s in your read-aloud basket? Do share!
Happy Read Aloud Thursday!