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September 19, 2006 > New Picture Book

New Picture Book

Matching illustrations to text is not an easy task. Creating pictures that enhance and complement the words without overwhelming the reader is an art.  And the words themselves should flow off the tongue - perfect for reading out loud over and over again.  Children with their laser-like focus see the pictures differently from adults. For them, each reading is a new interpretation.  Look for these new fall books:

"Beautiful Buehla and the Zany Zoo Makeover" by Gary Hogg, illustrated by Victoria Chess, HarperCollins hardback, $15.99, (2006)

It's picture time at the zoo, and Mr. Phibbs hires Beautiful Buehla to get all the animals ready.  Unfortunately Buehla's idea of making the animals perfect is a bit different than most...she paints the gorilla pink!  She puts mascara on the elephant!  Oh no, is this going to be a disaster?  Not if Buehla has anything to say about it!  Lots of giggles between these covers; a great book to share as a read-aloud.   Recommended for preschool especially before school portrait time. (reviewed by dh)

"Mrs. Crump's Cat" by Linda Smith, illustrated by David Roberts, HarperCollins hardback, $15.99.  (2006)

When Mrs. Crump found a wet bedraggled cat on her front step, she wasn't happy about it.  She never wanted a cat. Yet she couldn't just leave it outside in the rain.   Next thing you know she's dried the cat, fed the cat, and even bought the cat its own bowl.  It's time to put the cat out!  Why then is the she still in Mrs. Crump's house?

Children and adults alike will love the way Mrs. Crump's heart grows as she tends to her unexpected guest.  The illustrations at first seem a bit stilted (just like Mrs. Crump!) but warm up along with the story.  Recommended for kindergarten.  (reviewed by dh)

"Cookies:  Bite-size Life Lessons" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Jane Dyer, HarperCollins hardback, $12.99.  (2006)

This amazing book, teaches a whole new way to look at difficult concepts, like pessimistic and optimistic, trustworthiness, open-mindedness, and contentment.  The illustrations are warm, expressive and thoroughly satisfying, alternating between humans and stuffed animal friends.  The ideas are expressed very simply, for example:
" MODEST means you don't run around telling everyone you make the best cookies, even if you know it to be true."

I found this to be a terrific book for encouraging younger readers to stretch their vocabularies, while at the same time showing them that life doesn't have to be more complex than a great plate of cookies.  Recommended for 2nd grade.  (reviewed by dh)

A Serious Comic Book for Adults

"The 9/11 Report, A Graphic Adaptation" by Sid Jacobson & Ernie Colon, Hill & Wang paperback, $16.95.  (2006)

Americans want answers to why the attacks of 9/11 occurred five years ago and need assurances that we are safer today.  The bipartisan 9/11 Commission Final Report, issued in 2004, sold an amazing 1.5 million copies.  Although well-written, this important 568 page historical document was not easy to swallow - there are multiple timelines, many government agencies and people to follow.

Sid Jacobson and Ernie Col—n, with more than sixty years of experience in the comic-book industry between them, found that far too few Americans have read, grasped, and demanded action on the Commission's investigation into the events of that tragic day and the lessons America must learn.

Using skills and storytelling methods Jacobson and Col—n have learned over the decades, they have produced the most accessible version of the 9/11 Report. Jacobson's text frequently follows the original report word for word, faithfully captures its investigative thoroughness, and covers its entire scope, including the Commission's final report card. Col—n's stunning artwork powerfully conveys the facts, insights, and urgency of the original.

This unusual comic book is "graphic journalism," a factual distillation of the facts.  The surprises are in the lead up to 9/11. There are villains and heroes; foiled plots and missed chances. The graphic timeline especially clarifies events.  At a glance, it shows what was happening, who knew what and when, and communications gaps and failures among government agencies. At times thrilling and mesmerizing in its detail, the book is both gripping and tragic.  .

Recommended for junior high and over. (reviewed by jp)

If everyone in Fremont read the same book, friends and strangers could discuss Kennedy's meditation on the nature of courage and selflessness. The Fremont Libraries wish to foster neighborliness and to promote understanding through reading and discussion. Read PROFILES IN COURAGE by John F. Kennedy and think how courage has been demonstrated in Fremont. Why it is important? There will be a community book discussion Tuesday evening, September 26 at 7 p.m., in the Fukaya Room, Fremont Main Library.

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