Apple by Nikki McClure
Follow the life stages of an apple from the time it falls from the tree, ripe and red, to its return to the soil. Written in single words, the story is told primarily through the images that are done in exquisite cut paper. In each image, red is used solely to illuminate the apple with the rest of the image in black and white. This serves to not only highlight the apple as the focus, but also makes for a dynamic minimalist style.
The simplicity and minimalism really work here. It is a stunning book both in the strength of the illustrations and the focus on life stages. This is a book I would suggest for parents reading to infants, because it has that strong contrast of black, white and red that infants’ brains respond to. Even better, it’s a book that adults will enjoy reading again and again.
Appropriate for ages 0-3.
Dog Loves Drawing by Louise Yates
The charming dog from Dog Loves Books returns in this second story. When dog receives a blank book in the mail, he’s not sure what to do with it. Then he sees the note from his Aunt Dora that told him it was a sketchbook and wished him wonderful adventures. The first thing that Dog drew was a door, he walked through it and then drew a stickman and a duck. The duck drew an owl and the owl drew a crab. Then everyone started drawing until they wondered what else to do. Dog then drew a train and they all hopped aboard, entering into an adventure on the page that they created themselves.
This jaunty picture book celebrates both creativity and art. Yates embraces the flow of consciousness story creating, merrily showing us how very freeing and fun it can be. Doodles are celebrated and there is no erasing and perfecting, just an acceptance of the art being done. I enjoyed the addition of the monster at the end of the book, giving that little extra jolt of energy at the end of the adventure.
The illustrations are colorful and done mostly in simple lines. Dog himself is sketched in black and white, but others have a looser feel of being quickly drawn. The addition of real-seeming paintbrushes and pencils adds to the feeling of being inside a sketchbook.
A welcome sequel to the first book, this is a lovely book that will have you doodling in your own sketchbook. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Knopf Books for Young Readers.