Up!: How Families Around the World Carry Their Little Ones by Susan Hughes, illustrated by Ashley Barron (9781771471763, Amazon)
All around the world, families use different ways of carrying their children. This book travels the globe, showing widely diverse families and how they hold their babies close. There are babies being carried in arms, others in shawls, still others in parka hoods. Baby carriers can be used in different ways, whether you are father or brother and if you are differently abled. Baskets and shoulder rides are also shown. Up we go!
Hughes has chosen a wide range of baby carriers in her prose. She keeps it deliberately simple, making it a book that can be happily shared with little ones. The small format of the book also helps make it approachable. Only a little prose is given on each page, the brisk pace and changing scenes keeping the book very lively. It has a lovely bounce to the text, a sway like holding a baby on your hip or bouncing them merrily along.
Barron’s illustrations embrace the diversity and add to it. She has people of a wide range of races and religions on the page. The images are done in cut-paper collage and have a simplicity but also fully depict that part of the world. The crisp lines and bright colors add to the appeal for little ones.
A grand picture book that I hope gets made into a board book as well, this is a jolly journey through babies and how they are carried. Appropriate for ages 1-4.
Reviewed from library copy.
Charlie and Mouse by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes (9781452131535, Amazon)
Based on Snyder’s own two sons, this early chapter book is a real delight. It perfectly captures the relationship of siblings who enjoy spending time together. The four stories in the book are alluringly short and yet immensely satisfying. The book begins with Charlie waking up to a lump next to him, a lump that isn’t ready to get up yet. The second story has the two boys deciding that it’s the day of a neighborhood party and gathering their parents and friends. In the third story, the brothers try to sell rocks for money and find that people would rather pay them to take rocks away. The final story brings the book full circle with the brothers getting ready for bed and the sleepy lump reappearing.
Snyder writes with a refreshing frankness about the children, depicting them playing without fighting and enjoying their time together. Still, these are real children who have silly ideas, strong personalities and a zany sense of humor. The two boys are wonderfully distinct from one another despite the shortness of the chapters.
Hughes is one of my favorite illustrators of children, showing them in all of their playful wildness. These two brothers are the same, their messy hair, interesting wardrobe choices, and outdoor play adding to the feel that these are real children. The illustrations also give a feeling of the neighborhood and community that the children are growing up in, a friendly feel with small town aspects.
We don’t see nearly enough stories about children who love spending time with their siblings. This book celebrates that as well as the silliness of childhood. Children will look forward to the next adventures of these brothers. Appropriate for ages 5-7.
Reviewed from library copy.