November books: Looking at the world in different ways
“The Lost House”
By B.B. Cronin
Best for ages 3 – 8
Seek-and-find books are not difficult to find — ironic, isn’t it?
I recently read, however, what I can only describe as a diamond among the cubic zirconias. “The Lost House” is much more than a seek-and-find book. It’s an illustrative tour de force. Grandad has promised to take his two grandchildren (all anthropomorphic bulldogs) to the park. Before they can leave Grandad needs to find a few things — socks, glasses, pocket watch, umbrella, and even his teeth. Do you think they’ll ever find everything? Maybe you can help. Be aware, each room and everything in it appears in one bold color. The rooms are packed full of whimsy, eccentricity and household items. “The Lost House” is beautifully crafted and so visually engaging even older children will want to help find the lost items.
What’s good: Incredibly detailed illustrations appeal to both young and old.
What’s bad:The palette of room colors can be a little jarring at times.
“Owl Sees Owl”
By Laura Godwin
Illustrated by Rob Dunlavey
Best for ages 3 – 7
Some books depend on the reader to bring out the depth of the story. “Owl Sees Owl” is one of them. It’s a look at the balance of independence and the safety of home. Now imagine doing it with an economy of words. Each spread is a four-word, four-line stanza of a poem that tells the story of a young owl on his first solo adventure over their home’s neighboring landscape. It’s a sleepy book filled with moonlit landscapes and minimal text. If you liked Martin Waddell’s “Owl Babies,” you will like this new adventure as well.
What’s good: Peaceful nighttime illustrations offer a calming story for bedtime.
What’s bad:Because it is written as a poem, this tale depends on being read aloud.
“The Alphabet from the Sky”
By Benedikt Gross and Joey Lee
Best for ages 5 – 8
Ever look out of the window of a plane to see the landscape below? Ever play the alphabet game? Now you can do both in this single book. Using satellite imagery, the geographer and designer duo of Benedikt Gross and Joey Lee found “accidental letters” in the landscapes across the United States. From holding ponds to highways, from suburbs to fields, children will find the locations and formations very interesting. Each image spread includes an inset with the town’s location pinpointed on a map and map coordinates. This book began as an MIT project and Kickstarter campaign. Now it’s a picture book that is perfect for the classroom.
What’s good: It encourages children to look at things from new angles.
What’s bad: Probably more intriguing to adults.
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