Ivan the Terrier

Ivan the Terrier by Peter Catalanotto.

As the author tries to tell stories like the Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Three Bears and the Three Little Pigs, he is constantly being interrupted by Ivan, a small black and white dog.  Ivan bursts into each story, barks loudly and makes a horrible mess.  When finally the author decides to tell a story featuring Ivan himself, Ivan ignores him.

The illustrations of each fairy tale are deep colored and pastoral, but when Ivan arrives, each image has bright white as a background and all pastoral feeling is gone.  It is a dynamic way to make the illustrations burst with noise and surprise as well as the words.  The language of the book uses the same model from calm storytelling to a wild burst of yelling and scolding of Ivan. 

If you are looking for a story to capture the attention of children at the end of a preschool storytime, you have found it.  Recommended for sharing with a group, especially if you are not afraid of really yelling out loud.  This book will have children giggling and demanding a return of Ivan as soon as possible.

Glass slipper, gold sandal

Glass slipper, gold sandal: a worldwide Cinderella by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Julie Paschkis.

Fleischman has created a picture book that pays tribute to the varied Cinderella stories from around the world.  The storyline of the book follows the Cinderella tale, but touches from each country can be felt.  What could have been a muddled mishmash is a truly amazing experience as readers see the differences and the similarities in Cinderella tales.  A large part of the success is Fleischman’s ability to showcase cultures in single lines, small details and wording.  Another part of the book’s success are the illustrations which have bright colored frames that allude to other details of the story in that culture.  Each frame offers insight into the differences of that exact story, and the book could be read again and again looking at the various pictures.

This is exactly what is meant by a multicultural story.  It is a celebration of both our kinship and our diversity.  A must-purchase for all public libraries, you will find that older children who have a sense of different countries will enjoy this more than 4-6 year olds.  Highly recommended for folktale units or just for the joy of sharing.