Review: Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds

carnivores

Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Dan Santat

It’s hard to be a carnivore when all of the prey whispers behind your back, nobody understands the way you eat, and you are accused of sneaking around.  So a lion, a great white shark and a wolf get together to form a support group.  Their first plan is to become vegetarians, but that doesn’t go well at all.  In fact, the wolf can’t seem to find a berry bush that doesn’t have a bunny in it.  The next plan is using disguises to blend in, but one smell of the lion’s zebra breath turns the antelope against him.  Finally, the lion asked the great horned owl to speak with them.  The owl talked about accepting themselves as carnivores.  The others realize that he is right and follow his advice perfectly.

Reynolds has written a book that is screamingly funny.  Each page has laughter on it with the perfect timing of his jokes.  It begs to be shared aloud with punch lines that just have to be delivered.  Happily, the humor is edgy and truly funny, not just for small children.  With clever twists throughout the story and situations that make for very funny results, children will be delighted with this look at self-acceptance and meat eating.

Santat’s illustrations are perfection here.  Bright colored and bold, just like the humor, they add just the right touch to the book.  He manages to capture the comedy perfectly, but not allow his art to blow the punch lines prematurely.  The large format will work well with a group, but there are also details that will have to be shared too.

Clever, funny and wonderfully inappropriate, this book asks us all to accept our inner or outer carnivores.  Appropriate for ages 4-6, this would also work well as a read-aloud for older elementary kids who will love the humor and the naughtiness of the jokes.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

Review: The Hole by Oyvind Torseter

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The Hole by Oyvind Torseter

Released August 27, 2013.

This Norwegian import is an almost-wordless picture book that will surprise and delight.  It is the story of a rounded-nosed creature/person who discovers a hole in his wall in the apartment he just moved into.  But when he tries to see where the hole is coming from, he discovers that it is only on one side of his wall.  The hole moves to the floor and trips him, so he calls for expert help.  He manages to catch the hole in a box and takes it to a laboratory for scrutiny.  Finally, the hole is gone from his apartment.  Or is it?

With a hole punched right through the book, you know it is a stationary thing.  But the art makes it shift and move around the illustrated space to great effect.  Torseter has a great sense of pacing here with tension building as the reader knows of the hole before the main character sees it.  They are also very aware of the fact that the hole never really went away too.  As the hole is taken to the lab, Torseter shows us the scenes he passes through, each with a hole but a different one. 

Entirely playful and a truly wondrous look at the world, this book will have you reading it again right away.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Enchanted Lion Books.