One of my 2013 reading resolutions was to read more picture books. I’m going to share my thoughts on these books in mini reviews throughout the year.
The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen. Orchard Books.
An interesting book to kick off this selection of picture book mini reviews, The Dark grabbed my attention at the library based entirely on it’s dark yet inviting cover. The story is about Laszlo, a boy who is afraid of the dark, and how he conquers this fear. The story has an odd quality, as you would expect from Lemony Snicket, and I think it’s probably one that will split opinion. I personally really liked it, and Klassen’s illustrations are absolutely spot on to support and extend the story. It is a generally dark coloured book so the contrast of the patches of light works superbly. An unusual treat of a book.
The Tear Thief by Carol Ann Duffy and Nicoletta Ceccoli. Barefoot Books.
This book is absolutely beautiful, both in story terms and illustration terms. Carol Ann Duffy’s story of a secret being that visits in the hour between supper and bedtime, stealing tears from upset children is gorgeous. It has a mild moral element, discussing how different types of tears (for instance tears of anger, tears of laughter, tears of boredom) differ in value to the Tear Thief, but this is subtle and may easily be overlooked. I thought the reason for the Tear Thief’s existence and work was lovely, I think I may adopt it as my personal thinking! The illustrations by Nicoletta Ceccoli are as lovely as the story, they’re soft and gentle and beautifully coloured. I haven’t read any books illustrated by her before but she’s now an illustrator I will actively be looking out for.
Ping! By Chae Strathie and Marion Lindsay. Scholastic.
Ping! is a lovely, simple story about a purple Thing called Ping who befriends a little girl called Evie. It has a predictable, rhyming structure perfect for reading aloud (and would need a little practice beforehand as it turns out there are many different ways you can say the word Ping!) and is a solid feel good book. The illustrations are colourful and have a youthful quality to them that works perfectly with the text. There’s a nice mixture of single page and double page illustrations along with some pages with a few illustrations showing Ping’s movement – I really liked this about the book. I get the feeling this is the sort of book that would easily become a dearly loved and often requested read, and I think it’s cute enough that most adults will happily oblige.