Mad at Mommy: Beautiful Anger

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Mad at Mommy by Komako Sakai

Released in October 2010.

A new book from the creator of The Snow Day, this book offers an accurate portrayal of child anger. 

Little Bunny is very angry at his mommy.  And he is more than willing to tell her exactly why.  She sleeps late on Saturdays.  She never lets him watch cartoons.  She always yells for no reason.  She is always telling him to hurry up and then not hurrying herself.  She always forgets to do the laundry.  She told him he can’t marry her when he is older.  So he’s decided to run away.  For a moment or two.

Sakai has created a very spare and minimal picture book.  The use of texture and roughness in the illustrations complements the frustration of Little Bunny.  Originally published in Japan, the book does feel different than American picture books, especially in its illustrations. The subject matter is universal.  The book is told in the child’s voice, which Sakai captures winningly.  The complaints are offered as a list, one to the next, as if they are occurring to him as he speaks.  The effect is a rather dynamic feel to the book, leaping from one idea to the next.

A beauty of a book that will make a great contrast to other anger books like When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry by Mollly Bang and Mean Soup by Betsy Everitt.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Scholastic.

Chicken Big: Huge Laughs

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Chicken Big by Keith Graves

A fractured version of the classic Chicken Little story, this book is big on chickens and big on humor too.  A huge chick is born on a tiny farm in an itty-bitty coop.  When the chick hatches, the chickens try to figure out what in the world it is.  It’s big, even enormous, so it must be an elephant!   That theory only lasts until an acorn falls on the head of one of the chickens and the big chick eats it up rather than running in fear.  If it eats acorns, then it must be a squirrel!  When rain starts to fall and the chickens panic again, the big chick lets them shelter under his wings.  Well, if he keeps them dry in the rain, he must be an umbrella!  Their theories get more and more outrageous as the book continues.  It culminates with a showdown with a sneaky fox that finally convinces the foolish chickens what the big chick actually is. 

Graves writes with such great comedic timing and wonderful surprises that children will be in stitches listening to it.  The very silly chickens are a treat to read aloud, because they are so very idiotic.  The smallest chicken is the really funny one, who offers the various guesses as to the chick’s identity.  Always with a stout and definitive declaration. 

Graves’ illustrations add to the hilarity.  He uses a mix of frames and full page illustrations.  The combination is dynamic and modern.  Often the chickens and the big chick speak in speech bubbles, lending asides that are very clever and funny.  This is a book that has a feeling of mischief and mayhem about it.  It reads wonderfully aloud and will be sure to capture attention that may be wandering in story time.  It’s a perfect final story time book to get them hooked again.

A hilarious take on a classic, this book is perfectly designed and vibrantly original.  Appropriate for ages 5-10.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

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