Review: Is It Big or Is It Little? by Claudia Rueda

is it big

Is It Big or Is It Little? by Claudia Rueda

Explore opposites and perspective in this little book.  It is the story of a mouse and a cat, who chase across the pages, changing the perspective the reader sees from on each page.  Is the ball of yarn big as seen by the mouse?  Or is it little when seen by the cat?  Deep water for the mouse becomes shallow when the cat heads in.  Light objects for the mouse are heavy for ants.  And even the most scary creature can also be scared themselves. 

Rueda’s text is done in simple questions that show the opposite concepts clearly.  The real draw of this book are the illustrations which have a minimalism that is very appealing.  Done entirely in grays, black and orange, the illustrations have a pop edge to them that is both graphically pleasing and has great touches of humor.

Bright and bold, this book approaches opposites and perspective with a clever storyline and elegant illustrations.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.

Review: Where Do We Go When We Disappear? by Isabel Minhos Martins

where do we go when we disappear

Where Do We Go When We Disappear? by Isabel Minhos Martins and Madalena Matoso

I recently reviewed My Neighbor Is a Dog, another new book by this author and illustrator duo.  In this book, the question of where people and things go when they disappear is explored thoroughly.  The result is a book that asks big questions and attempts to answer them or at least provide a framework to answer them.  The book begins with people disappearing and the idea that you must be missed in order to disappear, so disappearing takes two.  Then it moves on to other things that disappear like sunshine and clouds, socks and puddles, snow and noise.  It ends with the fact that everything disappears, even the most solid things like rocks over time will disappear. 

Translated from the Portuguese original, this book is thought provoking and fascinating.  Martins manages to right a book about big questions that answers them in a way that is exploratory and insightful and doesn’t turn quickly to a religious answer.  Instead she stays in the questioning place, allowing different ideas to surface and be discussed.  She does not provide any easy answers, meeting children right where they want the discussion to stay, where it leads to more and more questions.

Matoso’s illustrations are vibrantly colored and filled with strong shapes.  They appear to be block printed which adds to the organic feel.  She uses negative space brilliantly.  One example is her snow image with the background white and the flakes cut out circles that merge directly into the white and stand out against the other bright objects.

Challenging, thought-provoking and a book that will inspire discussion and help children find their own answers.  Appropriate for ages 5-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

The Giver–The Movie

EarlyWord has the news that the film version of The Giver has been given a release date of August 15, 2014.  There has also been lots of casting news:

Brenton Thwaites Picture

Brenton Thwaites as Jonas (yes, “aged up” so that Jonas is no longer a child, sigh)

Jeff Bridges Picture

Jeff Bridges as The Giver

Meryl Streep Picture

Meryl Streep as the Chief Elder

Taylor Swift Picture

Taylor Swift in a supporting role

Odeya Rush Picture

Odeya Rush as Fiona