More Picture Book Reviews!

Paul Bunyan: The Invention of an American Legend by Noah Van Scrivner. With art and stories by Marlena Myles, an introduction by Lee Francis IV, a postscript by Deondre Smiles, and a bibliography for further reading. TOON Books, 2023. 9781662665226. 48pp.

This short graphic novel revels in the tall tales about Bunyan while showing their origin as stories created to justify the clearcutting of indigenous lands all over the U.S. by lumber companies. I found Myles’s essay about indigenous stories about wood spirits / Little People particularly compelling, and plan to try to track down a few of those. (Email me if you know books I should look for.)



A Little Emotional by Christopher Eliopoulos. Rocky Pond Books, 2023. 9780593616611.

Eliopoulos’s comics are fantastic, and so is this picture book about a young boy whose favorite action figure is missing. His emotions are drawn as creatures (that’s anger on the cover before it gets ugly and explodes). Eliopoulos turns it all into a nice lesson on sharing (with one’s younger siblings even).




Bad Apple by Huw Lewis Jones and Ben Sanders. Thames & Hudson, 2021. 9780500652435.

Apple is “a nasty piece of fruit.” It’s true, seriously — he’s a total bastard to other foods and flowers and then he goes too far. Sanders’s illustrations, and particularly their colors, are wonderful. (There’s even a sequel of sorts, Apple Grumble, in which Granny Smith tries to teach Apple some manners.)




A Place for Pauline story by Anouk Mahiout, illustrations by Marjolaine Perreten. Groundwood Books, 2022. 9781773066097. 48pp.

Pauline is the oldest kid in her family and it feels like she’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time. But she finds a hidden, quiet space for herself, but then she gets bored alone and so plans to secretly jump on a boat to France to visit her grandma (also named Pauline). This is another great picture book in comics format, which I believe was originally published as a graphic album for kids in France.





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