I have a couple of 2011 picture books to share with you today, both of which are nominees for the 2011 Cybils.
Bone Dog by Eric Rohman is both sweet and macabre, a strange combination in a kids’ picture book. It’s the story of Gus and his beloved dog, Ella. Ella dies at the beginning of the story, but she makes an unbreakable promise under a full moon: she will always be with Gus. On Halloween night, Gus, dressed as a skeleton, finds himself in the graveyard surrounded by real (!) skeletons. I don’t want to give away the ending, but Ella comes to his rescue in an unexpected way. (Well, as unexpected as it can be given the fantastical nature of the story.) I’m not much of a fan of Halloween or ghoulish tales, but I do think this one is surprisingly sweet. I did read it to my girls, and I don’t know what surprised them the most–the story or the fact that I read it to them. 😉 Eric Rohmann is already a household name among picture book lovers because of his Caldecott winning My Friend Rabbit and his earlier Caldecott honor book, Time Flies. We have enjoyed The Prairie Train, yet another book he illustrated. I think Bone Dog works because of its sweet/macabre combination. Check out Dawn’s review at 5 Minutes for Books for another perspective. This one got a starred review at Kirkus , and although I’ll state again that I’m not a fan of the creepy, this one does have its own unique appeal. (Roaring Brook Press, 2011)
I have a vague memory of some strange conveyance called a bookmobile visiting the parking lot of my childhood church. One of my best childhood friends was a distant cousin who lived right next to our church, and I can remember her talking about the books she had gotten from the bookmobile. I think that’s just a really, really neat idea, and although I have never had the privilege of being a bookmobile patron, I can certainly appreciate their importance and usefulness. Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown ratchets my awareness up a couple of notches; after all, the little girl in this picture book is without–without a teacher, and without a teacher, she is also without books. She longs for books, and so when the bibliotecario arrives in her remote village with his burros, Alfa and Beto, carrying the libros in their packs, I all but cheered. Now Ana has books to read, and these books inspire her to go on to write stories of her own. John Parra‘s folk art-like illustrations really add to the story’s appeal. I think what completely sold me on this story, though, was finding out that it’s true. Watch this. (Please excuse the liquor advertisement at the beginning–that part is not sanctioned by Hope Is the Word. 😉 )
Isn’t that wonderful? I really like this story because it subtly emphasizes the real-life power of books and reading. Highly Recommended. (Tricycle Press, 2011)
Well, I had another Cybils nominee to share, but apparently it went back to the library before I meant for it to. I’ll have to borrow it again and re-read it before I can write up a review. I’m adding these to the list of books I’ve read for my Armchair Cybils challenge.
What have you been reading aloud to your children?