Yesterday I shared a trio of super sweet Cybil picture book finalists, and today I’m sharing the funny ones.
Here Comes the Easter Cat by Deborah Underwood is a standup comedy act disguised as a picture book. The comedian here is the titular cat, and he is determined to show up the Easter Bunny. The format of the book is very clean, with illustrations on one page and text on the facing page. The text is written to the cat, so that what we have is a conversation of sorts. Claudia Rueda‘s simple colored pencil and ink illustrations are the real star in this story; the cat’s face is extraordinarily expressive and provides most of the humor. This is one of those very interactive book that really engages the reader. This one works fairly well as a read-aloud, and the DLM enjoyed it. However, I think it might be a better fit for a slightly older audience. It’s certainly a fun and unusual holiday book. (Dial, 2014)
This Is a Moose by Richard T. Morris is one of those books I don’t really get. Okay, that’s not true. I do get it, but it’s just not my favorite sort of picture book. The idea here is that the moose is starring in a documentary film or some such, only this moose doesn’t want to be a moose–he wants to be an astronaut. The director of this documentary film is quite perturbed by this revelation, but his frustration only deepens as he realizes that he is surrounded by animals intent on being something other than what they are. For example, the moose’s grandmother announces that she wanted to be a lacrosse goalie when she was young; the giraffe wants to be a doctor. It’s all silliness. The ending is humorous, if not entirely unexpected. Tom Lichtenheld‘s illustrations are familiar and very humorous (Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site and Shark vs. Train are two of the DLM’s favorites) and really add to the appeal of this story. (I especially appreciate the typography in this one.) I read it aloud to the DLM, but again, I think this one might best be appreciated by older children. (For the record, it’s also one of those that’s hard to read aloud, with multiple speakers per page and a plot that depends on the kids understanding off-stage speakers, etc.) However, for the right kids, this one will be a hit. (Little, Brown and Company, 2014)
Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton was my least favorite of all the Cybils finalists that I’ve read after my first pass through them. However, after sharing this one with the DLM, it has risen in my estimation. (Perhaps this goes to show that I shouldn’t judge a children’s book merely by my own opinion of it.) It’s the simple story of four (what?) men or trolls or . . . something that are trying to catch a bird. They have a plan, or at least the three biggest ones of them do. However, their plan never works and usually ends disastrously and humorously. In the end, a simple act of kindness works much better than all their planning, but they really don’t learn their lesson. The most striking thing about this book isn’t the storyline (though it’s really fun in its simplicity and begs to be read aloud); it’s the illustrations. The color palette is limited to blues and blacks, except for the bird–it stands in bright contrast with its red and purple plumage. This one is a real visual spectacle, if the illustrations themselves are a bit odd. The DLM actually understood this one and enjoyed it. (Candlewick, 2014)
And with that I only have one fiction picture book finalist to read.
Have you read any Cybils titles this month? Please link up your blog posts below, or share in the comments.
The next link up will be February 14, the day the Cybils winners are announced. I hope to share many more reviews between now and then! I have a stack of books to read but not much reading time. Here’s to hoping I can carve out some time daily to delve into some middle grade novels and elementary/middle grade nonfiction!