Review: The Bird King by Shaun Tan

bird king

The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook by Shaun Tan

This book opens the curtain to Tan’s creative process, allowing readers to view art from stories that have not yet been full formed, art from books that have been completed, and beautiful illustrations that may not be stories at all.  The courage this book took to produce is to be applauded.  Allowing readers and other artists to see a process of creativity is raw and soul baring. 

This book is stellar.  One turns the pages slowly, lingering in worlds undreamed of, wondering at ideas, and pausing to allow a particular image to sink in more deeply.  It is a journey, specially designed for a young creative to see that mistakes can be joyous, that creation is messy, and that works in progress are breathtaking.

This is a book to get in the hands of teens who enjoy art and writing, for it is a look at the unformed and the just formed.  It is a book of pure creativity and the creative process.  Beautiful.  Haunting.  Inspiring.  Appropriate for ages 10-18.

Reviewed from copy received from Scholastic.

Review: Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?

have you seen my new blue socks

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier

Duck has lost his new blue socks.  He searches in his box, but they aren’t there.  He asks his friend Fox who hasn’t seen them either.  Perhaps Ox knows where his socks are?  Ox remembers seeing some socks down by the rocks.  But those socks are purple, not blue socks, and they aren’t new either.  Finally, Duck asks a group of peacocks about his socks.  And they do know where his socks are!  It turns out they are in a most surprising place!

Bunting has written a picture book in rhyme that dances along to a jaunty beat.  The rhymes are merrily done, done in a humorous way.  She makes it all look so easy and effortless, but rhyming picture books are some of the most difficult to do well.  Kudos to Bunting for maintaining the joy in simple rhymes.  Her words read aloud well and are also simple enough for beginning readers to tackle.

Ruzzier’s illustrations are the key to young readers spotting the blue socks which are slowly revealed as the book progresses.  Expect eagle-eyed children to figure out the answer even before the adults.  Ruzzier fills Duck’s world with lots of clutter from starfish to soccer balls to underwear.  Done in ink and watercolor, the colors are bright and add to the surreal nature of the story itself.

Socks lost and then found, rhymes and rhythms, and a delight of a read aloud to share, this book has it all!  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.