by Bryan Patrick Avery
Well, it’s the holiday season, one of the most magical times of the year. My magic props have been packed away for the past month or so, meaning I haven’t spent much time practicing. That’s okay though. To me the holidays are a wonderful time to connect (or reconnect) with family and friends. In fact, I believe that these relationships are a large part of what makes the holidays so magical. This month, then, let’s take a look at a few picture books that focus on relationships.
I’ve always been a fan of Jon Klassen’s work, and his picture book “We Found a Hat” is no exception. The story centers around two turtles who find a hat in the desert. They both like the hat but there is a problem: there is only one hat. They make a difficult decision, to leave the hat behind. But that is not where the story ends.
The best stories give the reader something to think and talk about after the story is over. It’s something Alfred Hitchcock referred to as the Watercooler moment. “We Found a Hat” provides a watercooler moment at the end of the book and provides food for thought about the best way to treat our family and friends. As always, Jon's artwork is incredible. For example, we are able to tell exactly what one turtle is thinking about, just from his eyes. Anyone looking for a great example of a simple, well-told story accompanied by illustrations that help tell the story should read, and re-read, this book.
Another beautifully illustrated, well-told story is the recently released “Trevor”. Written by Jim Averbeck and illustrated by Amy Hevron, Trevor tells the story of a lonely yellow canary who makes friends with a lemon he mistakes for another canary. What follows is a tale of friendship, highlighted by an example of gift-giving, a lesson in forgiveness, and acceptance of loss. Through Trevor’s experiences, he learns to be a friend, and by the end of the book, his experience with the lemon has prepared him for the world. As for the lemon? Well, you’ll have to see the final spread.
If you’re looking for a book that tells a story of friendship in a deep and meaningful way that kids can relate to, check out “Trevor”. This is a book that readers will want to come back to again and again.
“Your Alien”, written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Goro Fujita is the story of a little boy who befriends an alien who crash lands on earth. As the alien experiences everything life on earth has to offer, including a trip to school, the boy notices something is wrong. As the day goes on, the alien seems more and more morose. When bedtime comes, the boy realizes that his alien friend must miss his family and sets out to reunite them.
Once the alien is returned to his family, it’s the boy’s turn to be a little sad. “Your Alien” ends in the best way possible, with a final spread that is heartwarming and the best way to close the book before saying goodnight. As is typical of Tammi’s books, “Your Alien” is impeccably plotted, with no wasted words. It is a perfect example of picture book storytelling.
Well, that all for this month. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season. See you back here in the new year. Have a magical month!
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.