Review: Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas by Philippe Coudray

bright ideas

Benjamin Bear in Bright Ideas! by Philippe Coudray

This is the second Benjamin Bear book and it is just as wonderful and successful as the first!  This graphic novel offers single-page comic spreads that tell very short but very clever stories that are filled with humor.  Sometimes the gag is visual, other times there is a verbal joke.  What Coudray does best though is to vary the stories enough to make the book entirely surprising and great fun to read.  One never knows what the next page will bring, just that it will be funny and a delight. 

As with the first book, Coudray’s illustrations have a crispness to them.  Done in flat color and fine black lines, the illustrations are made for fun.  If there is humor to have, then Coudray does not shrink away from making it wonderfully bold and large. 

This is a great book for reluctant readers and a graphic novel for elementary-aged children that belongs in every public library.  Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: The Boy and the Airplane by Mark Pett

boy and the airplane

The Boy and the Airplane by Mark Pett

This wordless picture book tells the story of a young boy who is merrily playing with his brand-new red airplane.  He runs with it, runs around it pretending to be a plane himself, and eventually throws it up into the air.  It lands on the roof where the boy where the boy is unable to reach it using a ladder or anything else that he tries.  He sits in discouragement under a tree and then is inspired when a maple seed drifts down and lands in his hand.  He plants the seed, watching it grow through the seasons and the years.  The ending is satisfying and lovely.  This book is about patience and dedication, but is also open to interpretation thanks to its wordless design and flowing storyline.

Pett manages to create a truly timeless book here.  The art is done in sepia tones with just a dash of red for the toy airplane.  The characters are even dressed in clothes that are universal.  The book has a great cyclical quality to it that works particularly well with the timeless feel.  The illustrations also have a contemplative feel to them that permeates the entire work.  This is a book that slows you down and gets you considering other options.

A great gift book for adults, this book will also be appreciated by young children who will see the humor in the boy’s solution.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.