Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff
Baby Bear wakes up next to his mother in the den. Sunlight peeks into the den, warming him and Baby Bear sees yellow. At the entrance to the den, the oak tree waves its leaves at him, and he sees green. The jays in the trees are blue. The trout in the stream is brown. The scent of the strawberries leads him to discover red. The tickle of a butterfly on his fur shows him orange. The storm clouds are gray, but then they leave behind a rainbow. Finally, at the end of his day, Baby Bear sees nothing but black.
Wolff has created a lush and rich picture book that truly celebrates colors in very natural way. All of the elements of color seem unforced and honest. She embraces cadences that roll off of the tongue, giving this book a wonderful rhythm. The patterns create a book that will be loved by toddlers who will enjoy exploring colors alongside Baby Bear.
What makes this book really work are the illustrations that are linoleum block prints painted by hand with watercolor. This creates a combination of strong black line and foundation and then colors that have light and glow on the page.
A top pick for color concepts, this book is a work of art that has plenty of toddler appeal. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from library copy.
I’ll Save You Bobo! by Eileen & Marc Rosenthal
Willy and Bobo return for their second book, following I Must Have Bobo! Willy is trying to read a book with Bobo, his stuffed monkey, but Earl the cat keeps trying to steal Bobo away. The rivalry established in the first book continues here as Willy starts to write his own story instead of reading one. It is all about him and Bobo at first, with them in the jungle with plenty of snakes and living in a tent. But again, Earl keeps on sneaking in and trying to take Bobo away. So Willy adds Earl to the story, changing it to one of revenge! In the end, Earl though is the one who takes a tiny bit of revenge.
Reading the first book is fairly critical here, since it explains the strained relationship between Willy and Earl. The mood carries from one book to the next seamlessly and makes for great fun. Those new to the series though may not understand what Earl is trying to do. This is a book that shows a kid who has real feelings, does not get sweeter as the book goes on, and one knows that this is not the end of his rivalry with the cat. That adds to my enjoyment of the book, since Willy seems so much like a real child, rather than a picture book example of one.
This book also shows the creative process and will get children interested in writing their own picture books whether they have lots of snakes in jungles or not. It’s a delight of creativity that is anchored well by the illustrations which have a frenzy and vibrancy that matches the story well.
Get this into the hands of fans of the first book, or hand them to children as a pair. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.