The Conductor by Laetitia Devernay
This wordless picture book is tall and narrow, just like the trees featured within. A man enters a forest of trees that are shaped like lollipops with long trunks and round tops. He climbs to the very top of one tree and raises his hands. Suddenly, birds start to appear, formed from the leaves of the trees. They fly off leaving holes in the tree leaves shaped like them. The leaf patterns are on their wings and they fly above the conductor in a variety of formations. Until eventually they are gone, and all that are left are the blank trees. The man climbs down and plants a seed that quickly grows into a tree. As he is planting, the birds return to the trees, covering them once again in leaves. The man leaves the forest just as he has found it, but with one more small trees. It’s a beautiful look at the environment and the impact humans can have if they choose.
The art here is wonderfully done. It has a limited palette of just yellow, green, black and white. The juxtaposition of tree leaves and flying birds is spectacular visually and surprising at first. It lifts the book to a more surreal place, a world where you are unsure what could possibly happen next. The fine lined art, the scale of the book and the gentle theme all work well together, creating a memorable whole.
A surprising wordless picture book that is a work of art, this book would work well in art curriculum or as a quiet, beautiful book to share. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.
Hippopposites by Janik Coat
This clever board book takes a hippo and runs through a variety of opposite pairs with him. There are light and dark hippos, dotted and striped hippos, soft and rough hippos, small and large hippos. Then there are the more intriguing opposites like opaque and transparent, positive and negative, clear and blurry. My favorite opposite pairing is the front and side, which made me laugh out loud with surprise. Something that rarely happens with board books! This is truly a modern, hip board book that will be enjoyed not only by young children but also their parents.
Coat makes this book dynamic and modern with her very solid graphic skills. She has a wonderful quirky sense of humor that is on display throughout the book and that combined with the strength of the simple illustrations makes this book a winner. I also like the limited color palette and the simplicity of the page design, which will work particularly well with infants.
Have a cool friend expecting a baby? This book would make an ideal gift. It will also be a great addition to the myriad of pastel board books on library shelves. Appropriate for ages birth-2.
Reviewed from copy received from Abrams Appleseed.
Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts that you might find interesting:
You can also see more library and e-book related posts here on my Sites & Soundbytes blog.
1 in 10 Million: PW Talks with Garth Nix http://j.mp/IZJPvd
Bedtime rituals: Where the wild things still are http://j.mp/KhP5b6
Fresh Approaches: Happy Anniversary! Celebrate Favorite Characters with New Editions http://j.mp/Jas4eb
In A Glass Grimmly (A Tale Dark & Grimm #2) by Adam Gidwitz – Squee! So looking forward to this one! http://j.mp/Jaqw3P
Laurel Snyder » Blog Archive » A meditation on my fierce love of picture books… http://j.mp/IZJ99e
Newbery Winner Jean Craighead George Dies at 92 http://j.mp/LTbywV
Of pigeons and naughty kids http://j.mp/KnrEkv
So thrilled to see that SON by Lois Lowry is coming out this fall! And with a starred review from Kirkus too! http://j.mp/JanjkP
Summer reading recommendations — The Horn Book – great summer reading suggestions for all ages – http://j.mp/Ji8tDj