This Book of Mine by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small (9780374305468)
A lovely quiet book about the power finding that book that is just for you. Told in simple words, this picture book explores the joys of reading at all ages. From being so young that you chew on books while you read to having that perfect book of music that you play all your life. From needing a great bedtime after-lights-out read to being inspired to make your own illustrations for a book you love. There is the pleasure of burying your nose in a book and breathing in that smell and the joy of becoming a character from your favorite book. There are books that teach and book that are just for pleasure.
All bibliophiles will adore this book written by a gifted husband-wife team who have brought us award-winning books in the past. This one is such a warm tribute to the immense pleasure of books and reading. It escapes being overly sweet nicely by having a wry sense of humor in its images. Small’s illustrations are done in a dynamic purple with pops of color from the covers of the books. He fills his illustrations with diverse people and makes sure to capture the steps and lions of the New York Public Library.
A wonderful read all about books! Appropriate for ages 3-5, and any age of book lover.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Farrar Straus Giroux.
Joe Quinn’s Poltergeist by David Almond, illustrated by Dave McKean (9781536201604)
At first Davie doesn’t believe that Joe Quinn has a poltergeist in his home. After all, Joe has told lies before about his family. But when Davie and his best friend head over to Joe’s house to witness it themselves, they see bread and butter fly through the air, chips hit the wall, and dishes break. Davie himself lost a sister when she was very little, and he longs to know if ghosts are real because if so, she might still be there. But could it just be Joe playing a prank? Perhaps bringing the village priest in will help make things more clear and perhaps it will cloud things even more.
Almond and McKean have created several of the most inventive and incredible graphic novels in the last few years, including The Savage, Slog’s Dad, and Mouse Bird Snake Wolf. It is great to see another of their weird collaborations. This book is not about answering questions about whether ghosts exist. It’s about grief and loss, violence and families, and being willing to live with questions unanswered. It is a book that takes a short story by Almond and turns it into something visceral and pointed, a book for Halloween yes, but also for everyday darkness and wonder as well.
The illustrations by McKean are filled with sharp edges, fractured panes. They have characters who writhe on the page, almost beyond human and filled with amazing flaws. There are times of amazing green grass and sunshine, others of the sun breaking through blood-red clouds, others of filled with shadows of prison bars. The images are stunning in their stretched-out haunting nature.
A graphic novel that is not for everyone, but fans of dark corners will love what they find here. Appropriate for ages 12-15.
Reviewed from library copy.