The Thing about Yetis by Vin Vogel (InfoSoup)
The one thing you should know about yetis is that they love winter. They love playing in the snow, sliding down hills, ice skating in their own unique way, making the best snowballs, and building snow castles. But even yetis can get too cold and have to head inside to warm up. When winter gets a bit too rough, yetis can also get crabby, particularly when they run out of cocoa. They also love summer, you see. They miss playing outside in the sun, sliding down slippery slides, swimming, sleeping in tents, and building sand castles. There’s just one thing for a grumpy winter yeti to do, make their own summer day!
This book has such an appeal about it. It’s the googly-eyed yetis throughout the book, the ones who delight in both cold and warm weather. The ones who get grouchy when they are too cold, poofy when their fur dries, and who sometimes need to be cozy inside on a blustery winter day. Vogel captures these elusive yetis with a cartoon feel that has universal appeal for readers.
The story is brief but cleverly done. Rather than just an ode to winter and all that it brings in terms of snowy fun, this is also a book that will appeal to any of us who live in the north and know that snow and cold can get very old after awhile. Children will relate to longing for summer.
Read this one as February is getting brutal and be prepared to have your own summer day inside. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books.
Moletown by Torben Kuhlmann (InfoSoup)
With just a few words at the beginning and ending of the book, this nearly wordless picture book looks at progress. It begins with one lone mole moving into a green meadow. He was soon joined by more moles and each dug out space of their very own. Soon there was electricity, plumbing and heat. The shaft got larger and deeper and then large machinery was used to dig the tunnels. The meadow was dotted with mounds. Public transport was added, cities grew up, apartments were jammed closely together, traffic was awful, and the lush green meadow disappeared. But not quite.
Kuhlmann shows human progress but with a mole point of view. His gorgeous illustrations show the wheels of change, the machinery of digging, the way that progress takes over and has a speed all of its own. It is a story that is dark and sad, one that shows that starting with a lone mole and freedom to make choices can quickly turn into a society bound by the machines that once built it. Much like our own, perhaps exactly like our own.
As I mentioned, it is Kuhlmann’s illustrations that show all of this without words. Each illustration is detailed and lush. The little mole homes are cleverly depicted from the happiness of the early days to the jammed apartments at the end. I particularly enjoyed the page filled with paperwork and records with one bored mole at a desk. All of these work together to show what loss was suffered with progress.
A book to start discussions or to pore over on your own, this picture book takes a mole-eye view of what we humans are doing to ourselves. Appropriate for ages 5-7.
Reviewed from library copy.