Trees by Verlie Hutchens, illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong (9781481447072)
Celebrate trees in this book of verse with each poem focused on one type of tree. There are willows, oaks, birch, aspen and more. A total of fourteen trees are highlighted here in free verse, each one embracing the unique nature of that tree with clarity and brevity. The poems are only a few lines long, yet the capture the tree perfectly. The poems are more about the inherent nature of the tree than really describing them physically. There are trees that pride themselves on their straight arrow-like height, others that are filled with giggles in spring. Each poem suits the tree its about, changing in tone to match.
The art by Tsong is exceptional. Some of the taller trees are done so that the book must be turned to read the words and see the tree upright. Others are shown in a full landscape whether budding in spring or standing against a snowstorm. The illustrations are done using digital collage with hand-done elements. They are filled with lines that swirl and move, creating breezes on the page and rings on the branches and trunks of the trees.
A beautiful book of poetry about the trees in our world. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from copy provided by Beach Lane Books.
Perfect by Max Amato (9780545829311)
An eraser wants to keep everything neat and clean on the pages of this picture book, but a playful pencil has other ideas. The pencil draws mocking images of the eraser, which are then erased. But the scribbles become a whirlwind that knock him into pages of even darker scribbles and marching pencils. The eraser escapes into a deep dark forest of pencil-drawn trees that become a solid darkness. Unable to fix all of the pencil marks, eraser discovers his own playful side and draws his way out onto a clean page. Though now he just might enjoy a bit of mess instead.
In his debut picture book, Amato demonstrates a real sense of play. The eraser character is tightly wound and rather obsessive and makes a great foil for the silliness of the pencil. The book has a great story arc that works well and makes a compelling and interesting tale. Children will enjoy both of the characters, since even the eraser gets in on the fun by the end of the book and leaves his complaints behind. The illustrations are particularly effective with both the pencil and eraser popping visually from the drawn backgrounds. Particularly funny is when eraser turns his back to the reader and one can see the butt print from his fall.
A great sense of humor and playfulness make this one worth sharing. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.