I recently won a giveaway on Instagram from @laureneeni (Lauren of ReadsAndDaydreams on YouTube) for three paperback picture books, all newly published in 2015. While nothing was required in exchange, I thought I’d just dash off a brief review of each before I wrap and mail them along with Goodnight, Manger (review here) to my great nieces and great nephew (ages 3, 2, and 11 months), which is now the fate/reason for all picture books that I acquire and find to be absolutely adorable.
First up, a Bloomsbury Publishing title:
WANTED! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar by Emily MacKenzie
Arthur has a problem. Someone has been stealing his books! So he calls in Police Constable Puddle to investigate. PC Puddle arranges for a line-up of rabbit suspects. Ralfy Rabbit, the book thief, is able to resist all of the carrots on the con-veggie-belt but gives himself away when a pile of books comes by…
Children who love books and bunnies are sure to love this cute little story of how Arthur and Ralfy become book buddies. I especially loved the 2 page spread where Ralfy Rabbit makes book lists and that – bit of a spoiler – a nice introduction to public library use is included.
My copies were mailed from the UK, so the texts of their North American versions may have be altered. Beyond the Police Officer being called a Constable, there were a few other fun UK/US differences in word use or accent that might be fun to talk about when reading aloud: torch/flashlight, ‘ello/hello, ‘ere/here, “fancy that”, pinch/steal.
The second title is from Simon and Shuster:
Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
From space monsters with ‘bloomers’ to woolly mountain monsters with frozen underpants, in rhyming text with vibrant and dynamic illustrations, monsters of all kinds and their underpants preferences are shown. The text is fun, the illustrations make it funny, and young readers/listeners will find this book hilarious.
I do love a picture book that makes monsters less scary and this one had me smiling all the way through. As the book points out, how can anyone be afraid of a monster wearing polka dot underpants?
British-isms: calling underpants ‘pants,’ tetchy/touchy, and again, pinch/steal
While I loved and highly recommend all three books, I’ve saved my most favorite – from Scholastic Children’s Books – for last:
Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith
Where the first two books had me smiling, this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood had me laughing out loud. Little Red is off to visit her sick Auntie Rosie, but finds the Very Hungry Lion in Auntie’s bed, wearing Auntie’s nightie. Rather than waiting to be rescued, Little Red decides to teach Lion a lesson. And this is when my smiles turned to laughter. Little Red may be one of my favorite picture book heroine’s ever. She is caring, she is clever, and she is adorable. Oh, and I might just have a soft spot for Auntie/niece relationships…
British-isms: lift/ride, pudding/dessert, plonked/put, cupboard/closet, grotty/gross, frock/dress, and donuts spelled doughnuts.
I can’t wait to hear how my niece’s kids react to these books. I know that my sister will love reading these aloud to her grandchildren and I’m just a teensy bit jealous that I don’t get to read aloud to them myself.