by Sarah Momo Romero
The holidays are here! Happy holidays everyone. If you’re like me, you were also caught up in the whirlwind of Christmas, family gatherings, baking, and hosting parties. Whew! It’s been so wonderful to gather around loved ones and eat delicious food, I love it all! So today, I’m catching up on a few things, including this blog post.
As the post right smack in the middle of the holidays, I initially thought I would look for a holiday book to feature, as there is no shortage of delightful picture books about the holidays and this time of year. However, on my usual visit to the library, two books about wintry animals caught my eye, and I just had to pick them. And they just so happen to be from amazingly talented figures in the kidlit world, so I think I was meant to end my blog posts of the year with a big bang.
Here I have to share with you Samson in the Snow by Philip C. Stead (author of the 2011 Caldecott Medal winner, A Sick Day for Amos McGee) and Penguin Problems by Jory John (New York Times bestselling author of books for both children and adults, including All My Friends are Dead) and illustrated by Lane Smith (author and illustrator of several award-winning books for children, including a favorite classic, The Stinky Cheese Man).
Samson in the Snow is a true wonder to read, with its beautifully rendered illustrations capturing the frigid flurry of a snowstorm. The illustrations were handmade using oil pastels, charcoal, and cardboard printing, giving the illustrations a wonderful, textural quality. I can imagine Stead stamping the prints of the snowflakes and dandelion blooms across the pages; simple design, but great touches to the book as well.
Nevertheless, this wooly mammoth’s story of searching for friendship will warm you right up. Anyone reading this one will wonder what became of Samson’s friend, and will delight in the heartwarming ending. Pick this one up for a wintry book about unlikely friendships.
Penguin Problems will have everyone laughing at one very hilarious complaining penguin. Smith has not only illustrated a very funny penguin, but one with entertaining expressions and interesting textures. Penguin’s world, created in a minimalistic but painterly quality of daubs and dots of color, make for the perfect frosty setting.
Penguin Problems is a must-read for anyone looking for a laugh, and a little perspective on appreciating the good things in life.
I hope you are all enjoying this holiday season, whether you find the Christmas spirit in sunny Los Angeles like I do, or are staying warm in a winter wonderland of snow like Samson and Penguin. Looks like mine is the last post for 2017! Here's to many, many more fun picture book reviews and an amazing and inspiring new 2018 for all of us! Cheers!
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the fabulous debut author/illustrator Maggie Brown.
And 5th Mondays will feature a surprise reprise from over nine years of archives.