Picture Book Reviews!
Posted on September 2, 2021 at 6:32 am by Gene Ambaum
Weekend Dad by Naseem Hrab and Frank Viva. Groundwood, 2020. 9781773061085.
After his dad moves out, a kid goes for their first weekend visit to their father’s new apartment. It’s clearly going to take them a while to think if it as their second home, which is what their dad is hoping for. (By the end the kid is clearly feeling better about the whole arrangement, and may even be excited about their new room.)
The book includes an abridged version of a letter author Naseem Hrab’s father wrote to her when she was nine, but never delivered. According to an author’s note, she “found the letter while packing up the contents of [her] father’s home after he passed away and read it for the first time.” The whole book is a lovely tribute to him. Also worth noting: Viva’s art, particularly the way he draws people, makes the book feel friendly even when the people in it don’t look particularly friendly.
Cat Problems by Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith. Random House Studio, 2021. 9780593302149.
This cat has problems: the orange cat is in its spot, there are only a few kernels of dry food in its bowl, and there are many random noises in the house. Life is pretty boring and would be so much better if it could get outside, or just get some wet food.
My favorite parts: all the mraowwwing, and the squirrel’s excited speech from outside, telling the cat how lucky it is.
This Pretty Planet by Tom Chapin and John Forster, illustrated by Lee White. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020. 9781534445321.
I don’t usually like picture books based on songs, but this one is amazing thanks to its slow pace and White’s illustrations, which tell a story based on the words but go well beyond merely illustrating them. (The art is so beautiful and cartoony!) Two kids explore our beautiful planet with joy and wonder, see it ruined by industry, and then make a difference by cleaning it up. There are lots of friendly animals in the book too!