Fish, Swish! Splash, Dash!

Fish, Swish!  Splash, Dash!:  Counting Round and Round by Suse MacDonald.

I am a real fan of paper art in children’s books, but I especially enjoy books with holes to peek through.  So this is a book I highly recommend!

The book counts fish on each page, moving from one to ten.  Then the book doesn’t end, but you flip it over and count back from ten to one.  I know, it doesn’t sound thrilling.  But what makes it marvelous is the paper art.  The fish start large and move smaller, each hole in the paper allowing you to see the different colors of the layers below.  And even nicer, the fish are different on your way back to one. 

This is one of those simple but lovely books.  Not really a read aloud, it is best done with a very small group or one-on-one so that everyone can enjoy the fish up close.  The pages are extra sturdy and will stand up well to even small toddlers.  This is a winner of a picture book for the smallest of children.

When a Monster Is Born

When a Monster Is Born by Sean Taylor and Nick Sharratt.

This was one picture book that I picked up and just knew that my sons would love it.  But it is even better than the cover promises, which is saying a lot.  Great cover!

The book stars by saying that when a monster is born it can be one of two types of monster.  It can be a faraway-in-the-forests monster or an under-your-bed monster.  If it is a forest monster, that’s the end of it.  But more possibilities open up if it lives under your bed.  Then another set of two possibilities is open to the reader.  One is always a dead end and the other merrily continues the story.  Children will immediately get the humor and the structure of the book.  I predict lots of laughing out loud.

However, be aware that even though the text is simple, this is not a book for the smallest children.  I think it will be enjoyed best by children in Kindergarten or older.  There are school references, plus very funny eating of people.  Not harsh by any means, but might worry toddlers who won’t see it as humor.

This book is made great by two things.  First is the skill of the writing which is simple, straightforward and almost gleeful as it moves through the options.  Second are the delightfully colorful pictures of monsters.  Each set of facing pages has a black or white background, creating a real dynamic aspect as you turn the pages.  The monsters are neon colored and gloriously horrible, as you can see from the infant on the cover.

Highly recommended as a book to pull out from behind you in an out-of-control storytime for Kindergarteners or as a great treat for any little monsters you may be reading to.