Rita and Whatsit


Rita and Whatsit by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod, illustrated by Olivier Tallec

Rita and Whatsit at the Beach by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod, illustrated by Olivier Tallec

Rita is grumpy even though it’s her birthday.  She has stacks of presents but everything is wrong: too small, too big, too medium.  Then she sees a present that is wiggling.  She tries to open it and it runs away.  When she catches and opens it a dog peeks out.  Most readers expect a squeal of joy at this point.  Nope.  Instead she bellows at him, makes demands and continues her grump.  It isn’t until she runs through a list of possible horrid names for him that she begins to smile and Whatsit starts to talk to her.  The first book ends with them becoming friends.

The second book has Rita and Whatsit at the beach each with their own idea of what a perfect day at the beach is.  They end up playing a game of pretend together that involves all of their favorite things like sandcastles, floating in the water and ends with Whatsit getting all of the sweet, sticky stuff he’s been wanting. 

Both books offer a different kind of child than many other books.  Rita is demanding, difficult, and wonderful.  She threatens to change Whatsit’s name regularly, shouts loudly, but loves just as deeply.  It is a pleasure to see a child that is a mix of negative and positive shown with such obvious pleasure.

Tallec’s art is simple and small, perfect for sharing with a small group or one-on-one.  His use of simple lines and bursts of color make the book friendly and almost like a cartoon strip in style. 

Share this with any little drama queens you might live with.  Some of us grow up to be librarians after all!  ;)  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Not All Animals Are Blue

Not All Animals Are Blue: A Big Book of Little Differences by Beatrice Boutignon

This French picture book is a treat in its innocence and freshness.  Each double-page spread features one page with a line of small, detailed animals which faces a page with five descriptive phrases – one for each animal.  Some of the matches are easy while others can be difficult until you match other animals first.  Children will enjoy this book because of the cuteness of the animal figures and the challenge of the game. 

Boutignon’s illustrations are small, clever and make you want to look at them longer.  Some animals have pieces of clothing on them, while others are more realistically portrayed.  The mix of the two is a winning one.  There are several figures that will steal your heart.  One of my favorites is a very cuddly penguin wearing footie jammies. 

A book to read with one or two children so that everyone gets to pick the matching animals and enjoy the details of the illustrations.  Perfect reading for 2-4 year olds.

48 Hour Book Challenge

MotherReader has announced the dates for the 4th Annual 48-Hour Book Challenge.  The selected weekend is June 5-7, 2009.  To participate, you select 48 hours in that weekend to read books.  There are some small rules about the books you can read, just to keep things on the same level. 

There are winners for most hours committed, most books read, and an honor list for those who read 20 hours or more. 

So how many hours can you read in 48 hours?  And how many reviews will you post?  There will be prizes to win!