Picture Book Reviews
Posted on June 10, 2021 at 6:48 am by Gene Ambaum
Out Of Nowhere by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020. 9781534481008.
Beetle has a friend, a red caterpillar. They used to have picnics on a big rock that looked out over the forest. But then the caterpillar disappeared (into its cocoon under the rock, but Beetle didn’t know that), so Beetle went into the forest to find its friend. Spoiler: when they’re reunited, Beetle’s friend looks a bit different.
This is my wife’s favorite picture book of the lot. Her comment: “So beautiful!” The illustrations are dark and exquisite with just a bit of red, and the friends’ body language and eyes express so much.
The Worst Poet Ever by Lauren Stohler. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020. 9781534446281. @inkpug
Cat and Pug write poetry; Cat with a quill and Pug using a typewriter. Cat’s poems have a classic feel. Pug’s don’t — he writes poems about (and while typing with) different body parts. Which doesn’t mean Cat’s poems aren’t fun, too. It turns into a bit of poetry fight, and then into something even better when they collaborate. The illustrations are really fun, and this is another of those comics-in-disguise picture books that uses word balloons and borderless panels perfectly.
The Run by Barroux. Aladdin, 2020. 9781534408869.
Stylized, simple animals run to the across forests, savannas, swamps, ice, fields, deserts, et al while an unseen narrator tries to get their attention and figure out what is going on. Turns out the reason they’r running is related to what the kid who’s reading the book (and narrating it) is doing which (hint) may make this a fun book to read to a kid who’s potty training. Barroux’s art looks like he draws with black ink on top of paints, which makes all of the animals charming.