Review: One Family by George Shannon

One Family by George Shannon

One Family by George Shannon, illustrated by Blanca Gomez (InfoSoup)

A joyous look at how different families can be and how very happy people can be in small and large families. The book is a cheery mix of counting book and family size, moving from one person happily sharing her book with her cat to a very large family of ten with grandparents mixed in. The book celebrates diversity in families as well with people of different ethnic backgrounds and gay parents. This picture book will have every child seeing themselves on the page and able to relate, which is definitely something to be celebrated!

Shannon writes a great little poem that carries this book forward at a brisk and jaunty pace. Each verse looks at a larger family but begins with “One is…” and then the number of people in that family. The verse then goes on to show other objects and items that are that number but still a solid unit, like a bunch of bananas or a flock of birds. The message is one of being loved and included no matter the size of your family or who is part of it.

Gomez’s illustrations are lovely. She creates diversity with a sense of ease, rather than it being forced at all. It is a joy to see the final page where all of the families are in the same neighborhood and mingling outside, one big rainbow of people together. Her paper collage illustrations are friendly and filled with small touches that are worth lingering over. It’s those touches that make the book feel even more warm and the families all the more loving.

A great pick to celebrate the diversity in every community, this is a great pick to share aloud thanks to the clever rhyme and lovely illustrations. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Review: Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon

Beastly Verse by Joohee Yoon

Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon (InfoSoup)

Children are introduced to a collection of poetry from well-known poets as well as anonymous and lesser known ones in this picture book. Each poem focuses on an animal and the collection includes William Blake’s The Tiger among others. The animals are varied and make for page turning that is exciting and interesting, since you never know if the next animal will be a pig or a hummingbird. The poems are cleverly selected for child appeal and yet many of them aren’t specifically children’s poetry, allowing children to stretch a bit and learn more about poetry and their own reactions to it.

Yoon has selected primarily European and western poets in this book. I do long for more diverse poets and poetry to be included and yet one can’t fault the high quality of the selections here and the astute awareness of children and what they are interested in and drawn to. The result is a clever book that children will enjoy and learn from.

The illustrations here are the star and what will have children and adults alike picking up the volume. The colors are beyond bright, zinging on the page and creating worlds. There are jungle scenes that drip with deep greens and echo with lushness. There are domestic scenes that have a zany energy to them that is echoed in the poetry too. Yoon is skillful and playful in her art, creating a unique look and feel in this poetry book that is sure to appeal.

A dynamic look will get readers opening the book where they will discover plenty of poetry to love. Appropriate for ages 7-10.

Reviewed from copy received from Enchanted Lion Books.