The shortlist for the CBI Book of the Year Awards 2016 has been announced. The awards are given to the best in children’s literature and illustration written or illustrated by people born or resident in Ireland. Winners will be announced on May 23. Here is the shortlist:
Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne
The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Gulliver by Jonathan Swift, retold by Mary Webb, illustrated by Lauren O’Neill
Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Irelandopedia by John Burke, illustrated by Fatti Burke
Ná Gabh ar Scoil by Máire Zepf, illustrated by Tarsila Krüse
One by Sarah Crossan
The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde
Abracadabra, It’s Spring by Anne Sibley O’Brien, illustrated by Susan Gal (InfoSoup)
Through a series of large flaps, this picture book demonstrates the transformation from late winter into spring. From the very first page, snow melts away to show bare ground as rabbits watch in wonder. Green shoots become crocuses. Bare branches burst into soft pussy willows. Birds fly, nests are built, eggs hatch. Even children change their clothes and head outside into the warm day. This is a magical way to introduce small children to the wonder of seasonal change.
The gatefold flaps in this book are sturdily built and are the size of the full page, thus less likely to rip and tear. The entire book focuses on magical words, each one leading to opening the flap and revealing an amazing transformation as spring arrives. The effect works really well with the poetic wording of the book also adding to the wonder on the page. The rhyming is done well and the vocabulary while child friendly will also allow some growth for small children.
The illustrations by Gal have a gorgeous natural feel to them. They were done with charcoal and digital collage which keeps the roughness of the paper and charcoal and adds the feeling of watercolor or other paints. It’s very effective and captures the ethereal nature of spring as it passes.
Bright and engaging, this picture book will be a great pick for springtime story times. Appropriate for ages 1-3.
Reviewed from library copy.
In theaters in October 2016: