Some of you know that as an illustrator, I am particularly fond of picture books. For fun, I went browsing for anthologies on beasties last week. Here are some goodies I pulled off various shelves:
Spinster Goose illustrated by Sophie Blackall, written by Lisa Wheeler
(I just love Sophie Blackall and her romantic aesthetics—did anyone ever read/look at Missed Connections? That would’ve been a good Valentine’s gift, but I digress. Confession, this book didn’t tickle me as much as I had hoped it would, but it’s a great concept and parodies are always fun.)
M Is for Mischief illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, written by Linda Ashman
(Editors and agents are always mentioning their bias against rhyming manuscripts, but I dig Ashman’s poetic pen, alive with alphabetical alliterations. And Carpenter’s technique of punctuating drawings with photos looked fresh.)
Absolutely Beastly Children by Dan Krall
(This one’s all about the characters. Their pictures are hilarious.)
What Are You So Grumpy About? by Tom Lichtenheld
(Love this book. Cracked me up. It speaks truth to kids and adults alike.)
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? illustrated by Mark Teague, written by Jane Yolen
And the following three titles aren’t collections of kiddy characters like the aforementioned five, but I enjoy these tales of beasties, so I figured I’d mention them too:
That’s Not Funny! by Adrian Johnson
(Teach your kids about schadenfreude. I also love Johnson’s illustration style.)
Two Sticks illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf, written by Oren Protopopescu
(Ohhh the rhythm and pop of this text!
Two sticks! Two sticks,
Maybelle played with two sticks,
Two bounce-like-a-kangaroo sticks,
Two drum-dee-dum-dee-doo sticks!
Two two-times-two-is-four sticks,
Two on-a-wooden-floor sticks,
Two bang-them-on-a-door sticks,
Two make-your-parents-sore sticks!
Right up there with Al Perkin’s Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb)
My Teacher Is a Monster by Peter Sis
(Oh look, finally a current title on this week’s reading list. Sis is just a fantastic artist and storyteller, who make funny warm narrative pictures)
People read, read, read, but less and less of the material is in the shape of a book, which is sad. At bedtime, snuggling up with an electronic device—which barely holds the internet at bay beneath your story screen—is not quite as personal as snuggling up with an actual picture book. There’s inherent value in turning of those physical pages so susceptible to dings and rips. A book is a book, versus a computer that is portal to the world and organizing the rest of your life with countless apps. There is something so warm in sharing a single story that is housed in a simple book that you and your child can both put your hands on. Beastly kid lit, sci-fi, fairy tales, may books live on forever.