I did a picture book study today at our local library which I often do as a part of my writing process. I came across three particularly lovely picture books, two of which I've known and loved, but one I'd never seen. I haven't shared them on my blog, but two of the authors, Cynthia Rylant and Dan Yaccarino, will be familiar to you from other recommendations. Picture books are a distinct art form applicable in countless situations beyond the child in the lap. However, their most pure and delicious use is child in lap. So I recommend you snuggle up with a little one and enjoy these books or gift them to someone who might do the same. Christmas will be here before you know it, and what gift could be more wonderful than a BOOK?
The most unusual book I want to talk about today is LAZY LITTLE LOAFERS written by Susan Orlean and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This funny book will appeal to the 7-9 year olds who think they are too old for picture books (we know they are NOT-just because you can read something easily does NOT mean you are too old for it!). The voice of the little girl who narrates the story as she does 'research' on the value of babies in society is hilarious. The first page reads,"Here's a question for you: Why don't more babies work?" She goes on to describe the laziness of these 'little loafers' in my favorite line, "...you don't have to be a genius to realize that babies are just lazy." Not a book for the literalist, but a joy for kids--and adults-- with an emerging sense of humor.
The next darling book I read is UNLOVABLE DOG by Dan Yaccarino. This book is full of heart. From the first line "Alfred was unlovable," to the abuse this dog suffers at the hand of the family cat who calls him ugly, the reader is totally in love with this 'unlovable' dog. Alfred becomes so self-conscious of his appearance that when a new dog moves in next door, he claims (through the fence) to look different than he actually does. The book reminds me of one of my all time favorites, HALLOWEINER. Great message about coming to terms with who you are.
I did save the best for last. DOG HEAVEN by Cynthia Rylant is one of the most precious picture books EVER. It is the sweetest, most heartfelt account of a dog's life in heaven. I was moved to tears on nearly every page because of the beauty of this book. A MUST for any child with a dog (or who once had a dog). She also wrote CAT HEAVEN. But DOG HEAVEN is the best. Here's my favorite line, "Every angel who passes by has a biscuit for a dog." Awwwww...and the simple illustrations are the ideal accompaniment to the delightful text. Cynthia Rylant proves, once again, that she is the master.
Thanks for reading, folks. It is my first full week BACK since my bleave. I limped along, I'm afraid, but I promise next week will be better as I get a bit more organized. On Monday, back by popular demand, Haiku the News from the Sunday New York Times. Don't miss it!
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.