Here’s the first illustrated children’s book I read this year.
Pandora lives alone, in a world of broken things. She makes herself a handsome home, but no one ever comes to visit. Then one day something falls from the sky
. . . a bird with a broken wing.
Little by little, Pandora helps the bird grow stronger. Little by little, the bird helps Pandora feel less lonely. The bird begins to fly again, and always comes back—bringing seeds and flowers and other small gifts. But then one day, it flies away and doesn’t return. Pandora is heartbroken.
Until things begin to grow . . .
Here is a stunningly illustrated celebration of connection and renewal. (Goodreads)
A fairly recent visit to the library led me to pick up two illustrated children’s books, one that focuses on the refugee crisis and another that shows us the geography of the Limpopo River Valley in Zimbabwe.
The Journey by Francesca Sanna
Quick summary and My thoughts:
I’ve wanted to read this book since I first heard of it. Sanna’s The Journey was published last year and is about a family seeking refuge in a new land because their country is ravaged by war, which has taken the father, leaving the mother to care for the two children and seek safety for them.
When I first heard of this book, I was reminded of The Arrival, a silent graphic novel by Shaun Tan about a man seeking a safe place for his family to live. Both The Journey and The Arrival are powerful, timely books that relay their stories in little or no words.
It’s been a while since I’ve read an illustrated book, I realized on a recent visit to the library. I decided to rectify that by picking up two books that were on display, one about a river and another, a familiar story, about the boy who lived. Both were good reads and quite an experience, though one wasn’t as I expected it to be. However in both, I found that I paid more attention to the artwork rather than the story.
The River by Alessandro Sanna (illus.), trans. by Michael Reynolds
The River is an illustrated book by Italian painter and illustrator Alessandro Sanna about a town situated by a river. The story is told almost entirely without words, and the book is separated into four parts, one for each season, that all begin with a short paragraph about how the season affects the river or the town and what is included in that section (I realized this last part after completing the book).
My thoughts and the Art style:
The River is a sweet story. To tell the story of the town and the river, Sanna has us focus on a character, a man, to see how the seasons and the river affect his life.
I picked up these two illustrated children’s books the same day I grabbed J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives from the library. They were on display and since it’s been a while since I’ve read I picture book, I decided to give them a try. Armstrong looked familiar, but I couldn’t recall where I’d first seen it; and I’ve often seen the cover of The Only Child so I wanted to know why a stag was hanging out with a kid.
Armstrong: The Adventurous Journey of a Mouse to the Moon by Torben Kuhlmann (illus.)
A long time ago a mouse learned to fly . . . and crossed the Atlantic. But what happened next? Torben Kuhlmann’s stunning new book transports readers to the moon and beyond! On the heels of Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse comes Armstrong: A Mouse on the Moon where dreams are determined only by the size of your imagination and the biggest innovators are the smallest of all. The book ends with a brief non-fiction history of human space travel from Galileo s observations concerning the nature of the universe to man’s first steps on the moon. (Goodreads)
I go overboard whenever I visit the library. It’s like stepping into a bookstore where everything you see is free. While checking out a few books one day, my eyes landed on these two illustrated children’s books. Lucy I’d heard of before so I quickly grabbed it before any kid could think to take it. Then I saw the cover of The Sound of All Things and grabbed it too because I liked the illustration on the cover and the title sounded intriguing. What could it be about, I wondered.
Lucy by Randy Cecil (illus.)
A tiny dog, a kindhearted girl, and a nervous juggler converge in a cinematic book in four acts.
Lucy is a small dog without a home. She had one once, but she remembers it only in her dreams. Eleanor is a little girl who looks forward to feeding the stray dog that appears faithfully beneath her window each day. Eleanor’s father is a juggler with stage fright.
This was a sweet story about friendship and family. Eleanor lives with her father and tries to help him overcome his stage fright. She also sometimes feed the quirky little dog, Lucy, that visits her every day. Lucy is a homeless dog that embarks on a new adventure every day though some parts of the day are routine. Since the story is told in four acts, each act is about a different adventure. The things Lucy gets up to are funny and are sure to entertain kids.
I guess these mini reviews will become more frequent as I read more short books. This time I read two illustrated books that I borrowed from the library. Both were quick reads, but the story in both were quite touching. I’ll start with my favorite of two. (Click the images below for a larger version.)
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
The Arrival is a graphic novel in which the story is told using only pictures. The story is about a man who must leave his family behind as he travels to find a safer place for them to live because something large threatens his country. He travels overseas to an immigration agency elsewhere and gets a pass to settle in a new land that is very different to where he’s from.
People are close to the creatures in the new land, which they keep as pets, and the man has to adjust to this as well as the different language and food and surroundings. He makes new friends and learns their history, but his mind is always with his family. After working enough, he is able to send for them.