Today I wanted to talk about 3 books that I think are great for different reasons.
Bear Hunt by Anthony Browne
For me so much of a picture book is in the illustrations and the ways in which they interact with the text. Anthony Browne is such a master of this kind of story telling. His illustrations often speak louder than the text. Many of his books are for older readers but Bear Hunt is one I have bought for a 2-year-old, given to Bounce for his 4th birthday and one Flip (6) loves as well.
The message of the story is certainly that the pen is mightier than the sword or perhaps the pencil is mightier than the gun. Bear is being hunted but in each encounter he draws a solution to the problem. Flip can read this book alone - such is the simplicity of the text and they both really love the bear's ability to thwart the hunters at every turn. As well as this the background illustrations give all sorts of fabulous moments of entertainment as well - can you spot the flower made out of lips?? For children who love art and illustrations this book would be a winner every time and simple enough to enjoy with the very small.
Belle, The Last Mule at Gee's Bend by Calvin Alexander Ramsey and Bettye Stroud
I picked this book up in Melbourne at a book sale. Gee's Bend is an area in America famous for it's quilting and so I picked it up more for me than the boys. (I haven't read it to them yet). The story details a small boy asking an older woman why she is allowing the Donkey to eat all the collared greens it likes without shooing it away. The old woman responds that the donkey is a hero to her. As the story unfolds it transpires that at the urging of Martin Luther King Jnr the residents of Gee's Bend had taken the ferry to register to vote but then the ferry is 'cancelled' on voting day and the donkey takes them the long journey to make their voices heard. This same donkey (and not a mighty war-horse/ stallion) and those same 'ordinary quilts of the people' in the end were given the honor of transporting the assassinated King to his final resting place. I can't even talk about this book without getting really emotional - the story of hope and triumph and the use of the ordinary and undervalued (as donkeys and quilts were then) elevated and recognised as important and valued.... a beautiful book for an older child, giving a beautiful and gentle glimpse into a sad and terrible and hopeful part of history.
I hope that these might introduce you to some new favourites or remind you of some old ones. Do let me know if you would like any other kind of recommendations (for older chn, boys, girls...)
*** these posts are not sponsored*** links are only provided for your convenience I make no commission from them (not that I would mind if I did :o) ** the first 2 titles should be easy to locate at your local bookseller also.