Long-suffering parents and babysitters, let’s be honest: Sometimes it seems like board books are, well, bored books.
Those square, thick cardboard constructions feature a couple of words on each page and, always, big splotches of beautiful colour. They are perfect for newborns, and for children up to, oh, around three years old. The cow goes moo!
It’s an important stage in your child’s life. But… for a parent, energetic mooing can lose its appeal after the first40 times.
You might begin looking for a board book that has a bit more oomph.
Try Peekaboo! It’s a little book with holes for eyes, and will introduce you and your child to critters who play peekaboo! A bear, a cat, a mouse, a monster, a robot! Ha! It’s by Taro Gomi (what few words there are are translated from the original Japanese, 2013). It’s charming.
Follow that up with more Taro Gomi. There’s Mommy! Mommy! (also 2013), in which two chicks try to find their mother. The chicks are watercolour paint splotches, which takes skill. And mama is always nearby, waiting to jump out and surprise them!
These Taro Gomi books are all new arrivals. And check out Bus Stops, Hide And Seek, and Wiggle, too! They’re all filed in C-12 in the Lennoxville Library’s children’s nook.
This column features a goodly number of the library’s newly arrived children’s books – there’s enough here to keep everyone in beautiful illustrations and fun rhymes and words through to the end of the summer – adults and youngsters alike.
Here’s another recommendation: the stories of Checkers and Dot. Also filed in C-12, there’s Checkers And Dot At The Beach, a visually striking black and white book that counts up the critters our beachcombers meet. (There are five!) And follow that up with Checkers And Dot At The Farm. Both are by J. Torres (words) and J. Lum (pictures).
Over in C-21, grab a threesome of books: Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Oink (all 2009, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Jen Cordace). These poke gentle fun at the rules we set for ourselves, and point out that some of those rules make a lot of sense.
Little Pea is ordered by his mom and dad to eat candy for dinner. Every single night. Oy. Little Pea is so tired of candy! He wants a yummy vegetable, but his parents are very strict.
Still, everyone in this tale lives hap-pea-ly ever after.
Little Hoot is also an unlucky child. He just wants to play with his friends, but his parents force the baby owl to stay up all night and sleep in the daytime. It’s a rotten, rotten life.
And finally, there’s Little Oink. He’s a neat freak. His parents are beside themselves with worry, and refuse to let Little Oink outside to play until he makes a proper mess in his room. “When I grow up,” pouts the wee one, “I’m going to let my kids clean their room as much as they want.”
For many kids, one of the best things about summer is swimming. Gary Clement is a cartoonist at the National Post, and the creator of the book Swimming, Swimming (2015).
The illustrations are wonderful, perfectly recalling the packed public pool and the camaraderie of full days spent in the water….
And the words will be recognized by all: “Swimming, swimming, in the swimming pool, when days are hot, when days are cold…” (Find a trio of kids singing it online, at groundwoodbooks.com/swimalong/.) It’s filed at C-20.
Did you notice that shout-out to babysitters at the beginning of the column? There’s a book for that. A whole series, actually: The famed Baby-Sitters Club books, Ann M. Martin’s collection detailing the adventures of four young high school students who start a small business. (Read them in French, translated “from the American” by Brigitte Amat, and filed at C-190. The names have been changed, but the translations are faithful. Begin with Christine A Une Idée Géniale (1990), the first in the series. The girls must balance school and babysitting, work through complicated issues with pals, and solve rather awkward problems that come up when the baby you think you’ve agreed to care for turns out to be large slobbery dog….)
Author Martin’s four babysitters are back this year in a new form: the graphic novel. This is a great way to revisit an old favorite (and compare your vision with the illustrator’s), or for the younger generation to meet the gang. Kristy’s Great Idea (by Raina Telgmeier, 2015) hews closely to the first novel. And the artwork is bright and energetic. Follow that up with another in the graphic novel series, Claudia And Mean Janine.
Or how about a new favorite, a graphic novel based on the Adventure Time television cartoon? Bitter Sweets, by Kate Leth and Zachary Sterling (2014), stars Princess Bubblegum, who leaves the Kingdom of Ooo to visit her pals. But it turns out her friends are not as honourable as she thought they were. This book is filled with bold, fat lines and bright colour, and a hint of the surrealism that makes Adventure Time such a fan favourite.
Her Majesty is the sort of princess who talks with her mouth full, but she’s also a compassionate friend looking for solutions. (She can also be very stern: “No parties,” she warns, as she leaves her kingdom.)
These graphic novels can be found in C-400A.
Here’s one for adults as well. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel, is based on the popular Ransom Riggs novel of the same name (the novel is filed in the Adult Fiction section; the sequel, Hollow City, is in Young Adult). The novel was based on a selection of spooky found photographs – a levitating girl, a boy made of bees, a child easily holding up a gigantic, very heavy, rock.
Jacob is growing up in the United States surrounded by his grandfather’s stories of peculiar children with special powers. Their powers allow them to escape horrific monsters.
Eventually, of course, Jacob ceases to believe, and tells his grandad so in a cruel way.
It is only later, as a teen, that his father helps Jacob understand the stories: the monsters were Nazis, and the children, Jewish refugees. Grandad’s tales were “a truth in disguise.”
Of course it turns out there was a fair amount of actual truth to those tales, as 15-year-old Jacob discovers to his horror. The novel is well written (the first half in particular), and the graphic novel is faithful to Riggs’ words. The graphic novel also, for reasons of space, snips out subplots. Still, it’s a fun read (and watch how colour and sepia tones indicate Jacob’s state of mind). The graphic novel’s drawn by Cassandra Jean (2013, again in C-400A.)
CHILDREN’S BOARD BOOKS
Here are more of our children’s New Arrivals.
First, board books (suggested ages 0 to three): Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli; Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton; Tubby by Leslie Patricelli; Mini Myths: Be Patient, Pandora by Joan Holub, as well as the book Play Nice, Hercules; Big Board Books Colors, ABC, Numbers by Roger Priddy, as well as My First Trucks and Diggers; The First Book of Things to Spot, by Fiona Watt; My First Nursery Rhymes Collection, by Tony Ross; What Brothers Do Best by Laura Numeroff, as well as What Sisters Do Best; I’ll See You in the Morning by Mike Jolley.
Here’s a mix of shorter books, graphic novels and other tales for children: Binky Takes Charge, by Ashley Spires (graphic novel); Bigfoot Boy #3: The Sound of Thunder, by J. Torres (graphic novel); Big Star Otto: Elephants Never Forget#3 by Bill Slavin (graphic novel), as well as Big City Otto; Clover’s Luck by Kallie George (middle grade); The Enchanted Charms: #7 Kingdom of Fantasy by Geronimo Stilton; The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks (graphic novel); Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.
Can’t find a book on our shelves? Just ask!
MORE BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Wings of Fire: Winter Turning Book 7 by Tui T. Sutherland; A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel by Madeleine L’Engle; Heroes of Olympus, Book One The Lost Hero: by Rick Riordan (graphic novel); Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu; Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince; Hobbit Graphic Novel by J.R.R. Tolkien; Thea Stilton Graphic Novels: Catching the Giant Wave by Thea Stilton, as well as Number 2: Revenge of the Lizard Club; The Graveyard Book Graphic Novel: Volume 1 by Neil Gaiman.
Right then. You should be good for the summer.
Those seeking adult fiction are welcome to check past columns for Good Read ideas, online at bibliolennlibrary.wordpress.com/. But we also encourage you to pop by the Lennoxville Library and browse. New Arrivals are at the front, but all our shelves are packed full of books. Borrow a few! Membership is free to all residents of Sherbrooke.
– Eleanor Brown, July 24, 2015