All of today’s selections have a little Weird-Ass Picture Book (WAPB) going on, Not that being a WAPB is a bad thing necessarily, but it does mean a bit... different.
Ginger Bear, by Mini Grey
A little boy makes a gingerbread bear, but doesn’t get a chance to eat her. So in the middle of the night, Ginger Bear wakes up and makes a whole bunch of decorated gingerbread friends and they have a gingerbread circus. But OH NO, a dog comes and eats and smashes all the friends in a gingerbready grisly scene. Ginger Bear decides to escape this place and be the star of the pastry shop display where she’ll never be eaten. It’s a totally bizarre story when you really think about it. Maybe even a WAPB for the story line.
Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners, by Laurie Keller
The illustration style is not my favorite (bordering on WAPB), but I’d put that aside to say how much I liked this book. It is definitely a teaching book in this case about manners but it does so with so much humor that it’s fun for everyone. When a family of otters move in next to a rabbit, he’s all thrown off. “I don’t know anything about otters. What if we don’t get along?” But his friend has a old saying that helps: “Do Unto Otters as you would have otters do unto you.” As he explains it, “It simply means to treat otters the same way you’d like otters to treat you.” Of course, this includes being friendly, polite, honest, considerate, kind, cooperative, fair, and sharing. (Half of these are in the Girl Scout law, btw.) Each concept gets a funny example in the illustrations. Fun book for preschoolers and a bit above.
All Aboard! A Traveling Alphabet, by Bill Mayer
A WAPB illustration contender for 2008, bold and modern with the letters of the alphabet “hidden” in each picture. Some are easy to spot, some a little bit harder. The text and pictures relate to travel, transportation, and generally getting around. Sometimes it’s a bit of a stretch E for Elephant? but the visuals are always... um, interesting. Not my style, and I’m not sure how kid-friendly it is. I’ll be curious to hear other reactions to this book.