Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folgueiro, illustrated by Poly Bernatene
One morning, the frogs in the pond woke up to discover a very pink visitor among them: a little pink pig. They tried to ask the piglet why he was there, but all he would say was “Ribbit!” The other animals soon heard about the unusual pig and hurried to the pond to see him. All of the animals except the frogs found the entire situation hilarious, but the frogs were getting more and more angry. The animals went in search of the wise old beetle to ask his advice, but when they returned the pig was gone. All of the animals began to wonder what the pig had wanted all along and it wasn’t too late to find out!
Folgueira has created a book with the feel of a traditional folktale but one that also has the humor and feel of a modern story. Told in a clear voice, the book invites readers to wonder about what is actually happening in the book. Happily, the ending ends the questions, but until then there is plenty to think about.
Bernatene’s illustrations have bright tones and fine lines. The watercolor texture of the pages and the pictures add a welcome rustic warmth to the story that suits it well. She has also created one of the most engaging little pigs, with a merry grin and closed eyes formed out of just a few curved lines. Pink perfection.
This is a look at friendship and also at cultures and what happens when someone steps out of their own comfort zone and begins to explore new things. In the end though, it’s a delight of a read aloud that children will enjoy for just the story alone. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Knopf Books for Young Readers.
LookUp! Henrietta Leavitt, Pioneering Woman Astronomer by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Raul Colon
Henrietta had loved the stars ever since she was a little girl and spent hours gazing at them. When she studied astronomy, she was one of the only women in her class. After graduating, she worked at an observatory though she almost never got to look through the telescope. Instead the women were there to do the calculations, to work and not think. But Henrietta continued to study and to think, she was especially interested in a group of stars that seemed to dim and glow. She discovered some new blinking stars that no one had ever found before. As she studied, she found a pattern in the dimming and brightening of these stars: the blink time allowed her to measure the true brightness of any blinking star in the sky. Her discovery led to a deeper understanding of the vastness of the universe and her life demonstrated that women are thinkers and scientists.
Burleigh’s writing is almost poetic here. He speaks of the connection Henrietta felt to the stars: “Sometimes she felt the stars were trying to speak, to tell her what they knew.” He writes with deep amazement at the vastness of the universe and also speaks of Leavitt’s discoveries in thrilled tones, giving her credit for the hard work and patience it took to find the patterns in the stars. The book ends with several pages that outline her discoveries, names of other female astronomers, and also have a glossary and bibliography.
Colon’s illustrations are simply gorgeous. Done in watercolors and pencil, the illustrations are luminous, glowing with the light of the stars and with the light of the heroine herself. Textured with swirling lines, the illustrations have a great depth to them as well.
This picture book biography invites children to follow their own passions and get involved in science as well. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from library copy.
The nominees for the 2013 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards have been announced. This award celebrates the comic and graphic novel formats. I consider these awards a great way to make sure that your library is getting top graphic novel titles for all ages. Here are the nominees for children and teen books:
BEST PUBLICATION FOR EARLY READERS (up to age 7)
Babymouse for President by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Benny and Penny in Lights Out by Geoffrey Hayes
Kitty & Dino by Sara Richard
Maya Makes a Mess by Rutu Modan
Zig and Wikki in The Cow by Nadja Spiegelman and Trade Loeffler
BEST PUBLICATION FOR KIDS (ages 8-12)
Adventure Time by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb
Amulet Book 5: Prince of the Elves by Kazu Kibuishi
Cow Boy: A Boy and His Horse by Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos
Crogan’s Loyalty by Chris Schweizer
Hilda and the Midnight Giant by Luke Pearson
Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum, adapted by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young
BEST PUBLICATION FOR TEENS (ages 13-17)
Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens by Meredith Gran
Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert
Ichiro by Ryan Inzana
Spera, Volume 1 by Josh Tierney
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, adapted by Hope Larson