Are You An Echo?

Kaneko , M. (2016). Are You An Echo? Seattle: Chin Music Press Inc.
edited by by David Jacobson, Sally Ito, and Michiko Tsuboi

I’m going to start with the drawings so they don’t get lost. Toshikado Hajiri’s illustrations in the children’s picturebook, Are You An Echo? are beautiful and make me stop long enough to recognize the 28818676beauty not only in the pictures, but before me in my life. Fitting, for the poetry of Misuzu Kaneko is childlike, clear, and feels strong enough to stop time.

It was powerful enough to make Setsuo Yazaki research sixteen years for the Kaneko’s lost poetry. For all he could find was a poem that delighted him. How could someone understand how fish felt? Big Catch: Continue reading

Herman and Rosie

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Gordon, G. (2013). Herman and Rosie. New York: Roaring Book Press.

A surreal and blatant love letter to New York City, the reader is plunged into the worlds of Herman and Rosie, who live close to each other but have yet to serendipidously meet. They both love the City with its cacophony of musical sounds, but they also both feel lonely in the midst of so many. It is postmodernist, as the characters make reference to each other before they meet. Furthermore, there are smaller separate stories told within the pictures, discovered with closer examination.  Continue reading

A Lion in Paris

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Alemagna, B. (2014). A Lion in Paris. London: Tate Publishing.

Originally published in French as Un Lion à Paris.

Here is the story of a lion from the grasslands who finds himself unfulfilled and therefore travels into Paris. He delights and prides himself at being the centre of attention and so becomes befuddled when people do not react strongly to his presence on the Métro or pulling up at chair at the famous outdoor spot, Café de Flore. A story of finding oneself, the lion’s journey ends Continue reading

Roxaboxen

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McLerran, A. (1991). Roxaboxen. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Captured are the power of imagination and the magic of childhood in this nostalgic tale based on real events. Constructed from rocks and boxes, “Roxaboxen”, is an entire town filled with a town hall, two ice cream shops, and a jail with an uncomfortable cactus floor for those caught speeding in their make believe cars. This reflective narrative makes it clear that broken desert glass,  Continue reading

The Story of Ferdinand

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Leaf, M. (1936). The Story of Ferdinand. New York: The Viking Press.

Awards: Indies Choice Book Award for Picture Book Hall of Fame (2010)

Gandhi’s favourite book, Ferdinand tells the story of a young Spanish bull who prefers smelling flowers to running, jumping, skipping and butting heads with the other little bulls. We quickly learn that Ferdinand is different, and that he is comfortable with this. We ingest a lot through discovering Ferdinand – the effectiveness of peaceful demonstration, the wonderfulness of quiet confidence, and the respect for individual variations. For this particular bull would like to just Continue reading

Into the Forest

414098 Browne, A. (2004). Into the Forest. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press. Author illustrator Anthony Browne has amassed an impressive collection of award-winning picture books. Known for his postmodernist approach, Into the Forest is no exception.  A boy is awoken in the middle of the night by a storm, establishing a sense of foreboding. The diagonal lines in the shadows immediately put us on edge, and we turn the page to discover the father is Continue reading

The Dark

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Snicket, L. (2013). The Dark. Toronto, Ontario: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Laszlo is afraid of the dark. We see Laszlo clad in his blue jammies, playing on the hardwood floor of an empty room, with his torch tucked safely by his side. He appears ill at ease as he monitors the setting sun. The deadpan Lemony Snicket teams up with illustrator Jon Klassen to create a charming but haunting story where dark is personified to play out the classic battle between light and dark. “Hi Dark”, Laszlo would say to it everyday, until one day it responded, “Come closer.” Continue reading

One Morning in Maine

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McCloskey, R. (1952). One Morning in Maine. New York: Viking Penguin Inc.

Awards: Caldecott Honor (1953)

Sal has discovered a loose tooth on the day she is planning to go with her father and younger sister, Jane, across to Buck’s Harbour in their little boat. Her mother explains that she can make a wish on her tooth once it comes out, but she mustn’t tell anyone or the wish won’t come true. Sal tries to make sense of her experience by wondering if various island animals even have teeth, and if so, do they lose them? The themes of a young girl having her first loose tooth, enjoying nature, and resilience in the face of disappointment Continue reading

The Way Back Home

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Jeffers, O. (2007). The Way Back Home. London: Harper Collins Children’s Books.

The third in Jeffers’ boy series.

The story kicks off with an intertextual nod to the second of the series, Lost and Found, as the boy pulls a boat into his house to store. He finds an aeroplane in the closet and not remembering that he put it there, he reasons it’s a good idea to go for a trip to the moon. After running out of gas on the moon, he surprisingly meets someone else who is likewise, in a predicament. Continue reading

Flora and the Penguin

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Idle, M. (2014). Flora and the Penguin. San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books LLC.

This time around, Flora is the one responsible for causing the trouble in the  companion to the 2014 Caldecott Honor book, Flora and the Flamingo. The unlikely friendship between Flora and her new ice skating pal is explored as they glide, spin and dance together in this wordless picture book with unique Continue reading