Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert (InfoSoup)
Rain fish only appear when it rains, coming out of the debris in the gutters. Formed of lost receipts, bottle caps, feathers, socks, leaves and more. They swim down the streets, along the gutters and on the sidewalks. You have to look fast, because they disappear quickly. These are fish who swim off to different seas, unable to be caught by fishermen.
This picture book encourages children to look at debris and discarded items in a different way, seeing forms in them and wonder as well. The book’s text is simple, single lines of text on double page spreads which create rain fish that are larger than life. The end pages feature the various objects not made into fish with the objects labeled at the end of the book. This is a gorgeous book, playful and filled with artistic fun.
As always, the illustrations in Ehlert’s books are the treat. Here she captures the fluidity of fish, their forms and fins with a series of objects. The youngest of children may want to name the objects the fish are made of, making this art very accessible and an opportunity to talk about the illustrations. It is also a great introduction to collages and classes or groups could do their own fish or other animals.
Another solid and striking book from a masterful book maker, this picture book is another winner for Ehlert. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Beach Lane Books.
Lucky Penny by Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota (InfoSoup)
What do you do when you lose your job and your apartment on the same day? Well, if you have a friend with a storage unit, you move in there! Penny lands a job with her friend’s family too at their laundromat working for a 12-year-old manager. As Penny figures out the tricks to living in a storage unit, she also meets a boy who works at the community center. At first she tries to trade him a date to be allowed to shower there, but their connection grows. Still, there are problems with living in a storage unit like heat, kids trying to break in, and more. Perhaps it will take a villain and his henchmen to battle to change Penny’s luck. Or not.
I loved this playful graphic novel that will work for both teens and adults. Penny is clearly out of high school but also in that bizarre interim before becoming a “real” adult. She is entirely lovable in her own unique way with a tattoo she hates, plenty to worry about and very few plans for the future. Still, she manages to take care of herself, keep a job, flirt a little, and fall in love.
I particularly enjoyed the way that the book would suddenly have battle scenes. The majority of the book is a slice-of-life from Penny’s world. It is filled with small moments that are charming and lovely. Still, there is real humor here such as the scores above characters’ heads as they drink in a bar. The fighting too brings this graphic novel to a different and unexpected place where it pays homage to plenty of hero comic tropes.
Funny and smart, this graphic novel will be appreciated by older teens and adults, some looking forward to life beyond high school and some looking back to when they weren’t adults either. Appropriate for ages 15-18.
Reviewed from library copy.