Wolves,In Wolves, by Emily Gravett, a rabbit checks out a book about wolves from the library. As he’s walking along aimlessly, nose in the book, the scenery around him changes to something ominous. He’s walking past the trees that look much like a wolf. And the grass he is walking in seems much more like wolf fur. You may feel the need to warn him that he’s getting into trouble, but then it’s too late. He gets eaten. Or at least we may guess that’s what happens, since all we see is the torn-up library book. It sounds awful, but it is played for laughs, especially since there is an alternate ending tacked on where the bunny instead shares a jam sandwich with the wolf. Clever, witty, and brilliantly illustrated.
The Best Books,
I never reviewed
(and Once Upon a Banana).
If you are a beach lover, then you will find your comfort zone in Beach, by Elisha Cooper. In the softest watercolors, a day at the beach is laid out in little pictures on each page. It’s not a book about plot, but about mood, and it totally captures the laid-back, lazy days at the beach with a hundred things to see. A beautiful summertime book unless you’re headed to the Bahamas this January, in which case it’s a beautiful Caribbean vacation book.
Always the king of the Weird-Ass Picture book, David Wiesner has done it again with the wordless picture book Flotsam. It starts off as a simple beach story, with a boy finding an old-fashioned camera in the waves. He takes the film to be developed and sees an amazing and surprising underwater world in the pictures. He also sees a picture of a boy holding a picture of a girl holding a picture of a boy... and so on. He realizes that he has to continue the tradition of the camera, takes his picture holding the picture, and throws the camera back to sea to continue its journey. Incredible illustrations and story concept have put this book on many of the best-books lists of this year.
Once Upon a Banana, written by Jennifer Armstrong and illustrated by David Small, is another sort of venture into the world of wordless picture books. Actually, there are words on the signs throughout the book, and when they are lined up they make a rhyming poem. In the story, a monkey steals a banana from a grocer, leading to a variety of collisions and disasters, but it all ends up fine in the end. The pictures are so very complex that you could spend an eternity on each page, but you’ll want to keep turning pages to see what happens next.