The Little Blue Cottage by Kelly Jordan, illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle (9781624149238)
The little blue cottage on the bay waited patiently every year for the little girl to return. She came with the warmer weather, taking up her place in the window seat and looking out at the water. The cottage was her favorite place, filled with dolphins, seagulls, swimming and boats. When fall came, the little girl and her family left once again, leaving the cottage to face winter. Still, summer came each year and the girl arrived, growing ever bigger. Eventually though, she and the family stopped coming, leaving the blue cottage to fade to gray, empty and waiting for years. Then one day, the girl, now a mother, returned to her beloved cottage to repair it, repaint it a merry blue, and live in it once more.
Jordan’s text invites readers to really experience the seasonality of cottage life. She uses near rhymes and natural rhythms to share both the joy and loneliness of the cottage that mirrors the emotions of the humans in the story as well. The long seasons of neglect have a quiet dignity to them, while the triumphant return is a marvelous ending.
The illustrations are detailed and visually interesting. They show the cottage on its own little beach, the beauty of the busyness of the family and the light they bring with them. The growing weeds and fading paint are particularly well done. The family is multicultural, adding to the book’s appeal.
Just right for vacation reading, this one will have you dreaming of a cottage on the water. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Page Street Kids.
Llama Unleashes the Alpacalypse by Johnathan Stutzman, illustrated by Heather Fox (9781250222855)
Llama continues on his path of scientific exploration and world destruction in this second picture book in the series following Llama Destroys the World. The book opens with the promise that by dinner Llama will have unleashed a great alpacalypse upon the world. Breakfast comes first but Llama makes an awful mess making a balanced meal. He hates to clean up, so he turns to inventing a new solution, a dangerous one, a Replicator 3000. At lunch, Llama invites Alpaca over. Alpaca loves to clean and soon is inside the replicator. With a zoop, she is replicated, but then Llama continues to push the button, creating an army of cleaning alpacas set to clean the world. As they leave Llama’s house and head out, dinnertime arrives. Disaster near, but a clever plan involving great pizza may be enough to save us all, until dessert.
I adored the first book in this series which had plenty of humor and lots of science. This second book has a lot to love too. It has less science but continues with the wild humor of the first, offering plenty of clever noises, rather clueless characters, and dangerous but exhilarating science experiments.
Fox’s art adds to much to the book with her googly-eyed Llama and Alpaca, the merrily cleaning army, and the alarmed citizens. Swirls of toilet paper, wet mop paths, and spritzes of cleaner make this just right for our pandemic sensibilities too.
One joyous mess of a picture book. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy provided by Henry, Holt and Company.