I’m sick of dealing with the huge amount of books my library has been getting this summer. Since I look through them to change their shelf locations and add labels for mysteries or graphic novels and such, I see everything that comes through this branch. And being of an obsessive nature, I really have to look at each one. Does this look interesting? Would my kids like it? Would I like it? Should I take it home to read? Is it something I want to review? Usually there is a large flow of books for a few weeks, and then it slows down. But it hasn’t slowed down yet and I am getting overwhelmed and frankly, just a little tired of new children’s books.
What should appear on my shelf of new books before I could have possibly have expected it to arrive? What picture book could make my heart leap with glee?
It’s unbelievable, but it’s true: I have received Mo Willems’ new book, Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct. And as if that weren’t exciting enough, it appears to be unreviewed by the kidlitosphere at large. So it’s mine! All mine. Hah hah hah hah haaaaah! (That was maniacal laughter, in case you were wondering.)
I approach the book slowly. I repeat to myself, “It’s not a Pigeon book. it’s not a Pigeon book.” I fill my mind with Leonardo, the Terrible Monster to see this book in that vein, rather than an extension of the Pigeon I have come to know and love.
I’m ready. Mo Willems said that the end papers of his books are important, so I pause over a two-page spread of chocolate chip cookies. Hmmm. I turn the page to the credits. “To Cher, nice save.” What could that mean? Sorry, moving on. An angry kid face pokes his head under the small print glaring at Edwina a dinosaur with a hat, purse, and pearls feeding some birds (not pigeons) under the title. I’m turning the page... and I’m reading the story.
Hah! I saw Knuffle Bunny! And the Pigeon’s head!
Ahhhhhh. Very good. Very satisfying. Edwina is a nice dinosaur and everyone knows her and likes her. She’s helpful and kind, and even bakes chocolate chip cookies for everyone in town. But one kid doesn’t like Edwina, and he’s the kind of kid who is always the expert. He tries to convince the kids in his class and then the town that dinosaurs are extinct, so Edwina could not exist. There’s one in every bunch, isn’t there?
Of course more happens, but I don’t want to ruin this picture book for anyone, so I’ll stop there. But rest assured that Mo Willems has put together another wonderful book with clever and telling illustrations. He makes such superior use of white space to set apart his work. On the page “He was very convincing,” the text and picture take up only maybe a sixth of a page, which really makes it stand out as a punchline.
I’ll share this book at my storytime tomorrow. I’ll take it home to my kids tomorrow night. And I’ll read it to my baby niece this weekend (start her with the best). Thanks, Mo, for making my day once again. Back to work on the other thirty new books.