Review: Froodle by Antoinette Portis


Froodle by Antoinette Portis

Everyone knows that cats say “Meow” and dogs bark.  The birds is the neighborhood all sand their specific song too.  The little brown bird sang “Peep” every day, all seasons.  Until one day, the little bird decided that she wanted to sing something else.  Something silly!  The big black crow did not think this was funny at all.  The little brown bird tried to go back to singing just “Peep” again, but she just couldn’t stop the silly words from slipping out.  Soon the silliness was spreading and the red bird started saying things too.  Then Dove proved that there could be silly white birds too.  The only one who would not be silly was the very serious Crow.  But we all know that silliness is very contagious!

Clever, clever, clever.  This book takes a very simple premise of one little bird being silly one day and wanting to do something unique and different, and then shows how one small change can have larger ripple effects on a community.  The tone throughout is pure cheer and laughter.  The words that all of the birds come up with are ridiculous and great fun to read aloud.  Children will enjoy working these and other nonsense words into their day.

The illustrations for the book were done in pencil, charcoal and ink with the color added digitally.  The result is a book with a traditional feel mixed with a modern spin.  The colors are flat and bright, the textures give depth, and the birds themselves pop on the backgrounds.

Silly, funny and a delight to read aloud, this book is pure oobly snoobly fun.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: The Man from the Land of Fandango by Margaret Mahy

man from the land of fandango

The Man from the Land of Fandango by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

My son and I had just stopped in the middle of a rather painful rhyming picture book and then we picked up this one.  The contrast was profound.  Here we found a fanciful and playful picture book with rhymes that swept us merrily up.  It is the story of a man from an imaginary land who leaps off of the page where he is created by two small children.  They dance with a bear and a bison, bound with kangaroos.  There is juggling, jingling, and even cake!  Then the man returns to the picture, not to return for another 500 years.  It’s a silly and very fun book that is filled with nonsense and plenty of jam. 

Mahy’s words really dance here, carrying the story forward on a rhyming flow.  This is not a book that is a straight-forward story, rather it’s a dazzlingly silly wander.  Children will quickly understand that this is pure nonsense and go with it.  Dunbar’s illustrations have a wonderfully light touch.  They are filled with bubbles and speckles.  Whimsical creatures and plants populate the page, often dancing with glee. 

This is a merry read that has a great lightness and silliness at its heart.  A wonderful posthumous release from the amazing Mahy.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.