Archive for August 30, 2011


umbrella

The Umbrella by Ingrid & Dieter Schubert

A wordless story told in vivid images, this book will whirl readers into an adventure.  A small dog finds a red umbrella and sails up in the autumn breeze into the air.  He walks on the clouds, visits Africa with its elephants and alligators, yikes!  Off he heads into the air again, carried this time to the expanse of the ocean where his umbrella serves as a boat.  Until that is, he sinks down below the surface only to be blown high from a whale’s spout.  He is carried into the jungle in a strong breeze and then caught by a pelican and lifted higher.  Then down onto the snowy peak to be met with the applause of seals.  His umbrella becomes a sled, sweeping past polar bears and then up into the air again.  Bats join him in flight until down below amid the autumn leaves, his house appears.  He puts the umbrella back where he found it and where a cat who has watched him come and go just might have an adventure too.

There is a wildness to this book that is as refreshing as a strong autumnal wind.  It comes from the wandering of the breezes and the wildlife that the little dog experiences.  The book captures his emotions with great skill from the delight of sledding down snowy hills to the utter exhaustion at the end of his travels. 

This is a book that does not need words.  The images capture the story fully, allowing readers to create their own story from the expanse of world that they get to see.  Children will revel in walking on top of clouds, of meeting elephants, of escaping arrows, and of finding the way back home. 

A perfect read for fall that will inspire imagination, this book opens and closes with gusts of wind and swirls of autumn leaves.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Lemniscaat.

my name is elizabeth

My Name Is Elizabeth by Annika Dunklee, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe

Elizabeth really likes her name, her full name.  She likes its length, the way it feels when she says it, and also that there is a queen named after her!  But she doesn’t like it when people shorten it to things like Liz, Lizzy, or Beth.  So she announces that her name is ELIZABETH Alfreda Roxanne Carmelita Bluebell Jones.  But you can just call her Elizabeth.  Now everyone has it right, except for one little person, her younger brother.  It’s close enough when he calls her “Wizabef.”

Dunklee captures the joys and pains of having a name that can be shortened in this book.  Children with a variety of names will understand the conflict of having a name they love but that others feel free to change.  My own name, Tasha, is already a shortened version of my full name, so I choose to go by a nickname.  Only the DMV calls me by my full name.  ;)

Forsythe’s illustrations give this book a distinctive feel.  He uses a limited palette of blue, orange and black.  Throughout the book, Elizabeth is accompanied by a friendly duck.  The duck is never mentioned in the text, but offers a unique vibe to the book and to the central character.  The illustrations have a vintage feel thanks to the palette, yet the colors are modern and so is the art itself. 

Highly recommended, this book will speak to boys and girls with names that they feel strongly about.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Kids Can Press.

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