Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Perking Up With Picture Books

There's nothing that brings life to a grey day like a good picture book.  Z and I have been lucky with our library choices lately.

First we read The Incredible Book Eating Boy, written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.  The plot of the book is pretty obvious -- a boy takes a nibble of a page one day and continues on to whole books.  He finds that he absorbs the information as he eats the books but, eventually, his habit becomes so excessive that all of the information gets jumbled in his head and he gets sick.  Luckily, he figures out that there's another way to get information from a book -- to read it.

We thought this book was cute and there are a lot of little details in the illustrations that can keep you occupied for a while.  Z also loved that the back cover of the book has a chunk "bitten" out of it.  So silly!

The next book we tackled was Crazy Hair from the wonderfully strange Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.  A girl approaches a man with truly crazy hair and is a bit rude about it.  The man then starts to tell her all of the the things that are unique about his abundance of hair -- the nesting birds, the jungle fauna, explorers, dancers and even a carousel.  The girl insists on trying to comb the hair and suffers a questionable fate -- she is pulled into the hair, to stay there happily forever after.

This book should really be called "creepy hair" as the hair-centric artwork is a bit strange.  McKean's unique style is definitely showcased in the book and gives children something a bit out of the ordinary to look at.  Gaiman's rhymes are a bit forced at times but are also very imaginative and the hair truly becomes its own world.

Finally, we checked out Pirate Girl, written by Cornelia Funke and illustrated by Kerstin Meyer.  A young girl is out in her boat when she is set upon by pirates.  She refuses to reveal where she lives or who her parents are--information wanted for ransom-demand purposes--and so she is put to work on the pirate ship.  She secretly drops messages in bottles overboard, hoping to be rescued.  Eventually the messages are found and the pirates come to regret their decision when Molly's mother shows up -- the terrible piratess Barbarous Bertha. Molly is rescued and the pirates are put to work by the terrifying women of Bertha's ship.

This book has melodic text and fantastic flow.  The pirates have fabulous names and they all look sufficiently evil to have kidnapped a young girl.  Molly is smart and her mother is truly terrifying except when she takes her young daughter in her arms.  This is a very fun book and is impressive as it is translated from German.

Taking advantage of variety,
K and Z

Support our site and buy The Incredible Book-Eating Boy, Crazy Hair and Pirate Girl on Amazon or find them at your local library. We borrowed our copies from the library.


  1. I have the Book Eating Boy book. The bite in the back cover is a nice touch!

  2. You got some good ones here we'll have to look for. I know my Little One would love the idea of the bite taken out of the book! I'm sure there would be 100s of questions about it to follow!

  3. Lenore - I love books that make a little extra effort!

    Jenners - I think the Little One would definitely like the Book-Eating Boy!