Hike by Pete Oswald (9781536201574)
Waking up early, a father and child have big plans. A warm hat and coat plus a full backpack, and they are ready to start their drive. The two drive deep into the forest to a hiking trail as the sun rises in the sky. Along the way, they see deer, birds, eagles, butterflies and more. They reach a place that still has a little snow on the ground and have a snowball fight. They cross a river by walking on a fallen tree then pause to see the waterfall. After a quick snack, they climb higher, wearing climbing gear, until they reach just the right place to plant a tree. Then back down they go, the sun just beginning to color the sky as it sets. Reaching home, the two feed the cat, have some milk and cookies, and add their new picture to the family album.
In this nearly wordless book, it is entirely Oswald’s illustrations that tell the story. Shared looks between the father and child speak to their connection and the clear joy on their faces show how much they love this time in nature spent together. The grandeur of the natural setting is celebrated with panoramic views of woods and mountains, filled with wildlife. The entire book embraces the love in a family and the love for nature.
A stellar picture book. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Candlewick Press.
Madame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl, illustrated by Lauren O’Hara (9781536210224)
Mabel lives at the Mermaid Hotel near the sea where she goes on many adventures without shoes. When a strange new guest arrives at the hotel, Mabel becomes a spy to try to figure out the story of the woman she dubs Madame Badobedah. The lady comes with her pet tortoise and lots of bags and trunks that could be filled with anything, including stolen treasure. After watching her for awhile, Mabel decides that the woman must be a supervillian who is hiding out at Mermaid Hotel. When Mabel’s spy cover is blown, Madame Badobedah invites her into her room for tea. Soon the two are traveling on imaginary adventures together that feature pirates and mermaids, a partnership of young and old.
This picture book has more text than many, but please don’t let that stop you! Dahl’s writing is sharp and witty, offering exactly the right amount of detail to conjure up the hotel fully and craft interesting characters who are fully realized. Told in Mabel’s voice, the book has the feel of a vintage book but with a modern sensibility as well. Filled with creativity and imagination, the stories Mabel conjures are fascinating and the journeys the two kindred spirits share are marvelous.
The illustrations by O’Hara capture the vivid red hair of Madame Badobedah, the wonders of the hotel, and intrepid Mabel on her many adventures. Real life swirls effectively with the imaginary worlds on the page in both text and illustrations.
An adventure worth taking with two great partners. Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from copy provided by Walker Books.