The Big Book Adventure, by Emily Ford/Illustrated by Tim Warnes, (Sept. 2018, Silver Dolphin Books), $17.99, ISBN: 978-1-68412-378-0
A pig and a fox excitedly tell each other about their reading adventures, having spent their day at a Mad Tea Party, swimming with mermaids, running from Big Bad Wolves, and more! The rhyming story communicates the transformative power of reading by placing the characters – and readers – into the middle of beloved fairy tales and exciting new adventures, including a spaceship voyage and a dragon ride. The two friends decide to share books and exchange adventures, their favorite new and old literary friends surrounding them.
The artwork is sweet and whimsical, using soft colors for the main characters and changing palettes to fit each story: bold, vibrant colors for a science fiction story; classic Alice in Wonderland artwork for the tea party; muted blues and greens for a mermaid swim. The endpapers continue the story, with the front endpapers showing Piggy sitting on a tree branch, reading; a library-like “book club” meeting place at the base of a tree, where Foxy leaves, with a wagon holding books. Membership cards for the “Maple Leaf Book Club” show Foxy and Piggy’s credentials. The back endpaper shows different literary characters – and the Maple Leaf Book Club’s owl mascot – reading.
This one is great for a library read-aloud, and a class visit storytime. I’d pair this with Nibbles the Book Monster for more fairy tale fun.
Recommended for ages 9-12
Rob is a 12-year old boy whose main use for books is to throw them into his closet. He has better things to do, after all, than read. Plus, Rob’s closet is just strange. It’s not because it’s got a second-hand door with a pony sticker on it that says, “Smile”. For starters, the doorknob is big, gold, and has a bearded man’s face engraved on it – and his expression seems to change. For another, the closet is where Wonkenstein – a creature that seems to be a mashup of Willy Wonka and Frankenstein – comes from one day, and now Rob’s closet will not open so he can send him back.
Rob tries to keep Wonkenstein a secret while trying to get him back to his world, but he ends up getting into more trouble, whether at home or school, the harder he tries. Poor Rob just wants life to go back to normal, but at the same time, he finds himself getting attached to the little guy.
Wonkenstein is a cute book for younger readers and older readers that may have drifted from reading and just need something fun and familiar to pull them back. The book has fun black and white illustrations that look like a child’s drawings and helps, along with the first-person voice of the book, add to the fantasy that Rob is narrating his own true story.
Obert Skye’s website has information about all of his books, plus author and tour information, and the publisher’s website has a book detail page with much of the same information, plus links to the book’s pages on social networking sites incluing Shelfari and LibraryThing.