105 Ways to Give a Book

The Thursday Three XI

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 BearGinger 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 OttersDo 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!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.


Anonymous said...

I have some nominees for this category (which I think is genius, by the way): The Bear Who Wanted to be a Bear, by Jorg Steiner. Check out the cover. It looks like the bear is looking down its pants.
Another one is The Happiness Maker, by Jairo Anibal Nino. It's a translation of a book published in Colombia and not only does it seem like they used Babelfish to translate, but the book itself is extremely bizarre.

Anonymous said...

In the Uk Ginger Bear has the title Biscuit Bear, and we read it recently. My three year old who already is a bit dodgy around strange dogs is now completely terrified. Thanks a lot Mini! A weird ass horrific episode hiding in a cute cover lol