Posted in picture books

Delightfully Different Fairy Tales put a modern spin on the classics

Delightfully Different Fairy Tales, by David Roberts & Lynn Roberts-Maloney, (Oct. 2020 Pavilion Children’s Books), $19.95, ISBN: 978-1843654759

Ages 4-7

Illustrator siblings David Roberts and Lynn Roberts-Maloney have come together to put a modern, vintage spin on three classics fairy tales: Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty. Each is set in a different 20th century (give or take…): Cinderella takes place in the Roaring ’20s, Rapunzel, in the 1970s, and Sleeping Beauty, in the 1950s and beyond. The storytelling incorporates moments from each time frame, and the art – THE ART! – is filled with nods to each decade. Cinderella’s evil stepmother and stepsisters have cloches and Louise Brooks-like bobbed hair; the dressing gowns are fabulously glamourous and the headdresses are incredible. Rapunzel has that long, flower child straight hair that was so popular in the 1970s, spins David Bowie’s iconic Aladdin Sane album on her turntable and has Saturday Night Fever, Abba, and Elton John posters on her wall. Her Prince Charming is in a band called Roger and the Rascals, and he sports platform shoes of his own. Sleeping Beauty has a decidedly modern spin as Annabel, our Beauty, comes of age in the mid-20th century, pricks her finger on a turntable needle and falls into a deep sleep; her aunt turns Annabel into a rose and herself into a light, that she may shine on her through her slumber. When a young girl browses the story of Sleeping Beauty one thousand years later, she’s convinced it’s a true story, awakens Annabel, and introduces her to the sci-fi world Annabel dreamed of as a child. The artwork is gorgeous; it has a Tim Burton-meets-The Questioneers type of style that’s playful and fun to read. (Note: David Roberts is the illustrator of the Questioneers series!) Give your fairy tale fans a dose of nostalgia – or introduce them to the 20th Century – with this volume.

Posted in Early Reader

Do You Hear What I Hear? Vintage Art helps create a symphony!

9781909263857_e3d21Do You Hear What I Hear?, by Helen Borten (May 2016, Flying Eye Books/Nobrow), $17.95, ISBN: 9781909263857

Recommended for ages 4-8

A companion to Ms. Borten’s Do You See What I See?, Do You Hear What I Hear?, also published in 1959, introduces children to the effects different sounds can have on them.

“Loud sounds make can me feel fierce as a lion and as explosive as a firecracker. The sound of the circus fills me with excitement. I hear animals roaring, music blaring, people shouting, hands clapping, peanut shells cracking, and balloons bursting.”

Accompanied by her beautiful artwork, these images have texture that help kids unpack the sensations described in the text. The frenetic atmosphere of the circus is captured in the many lines stabbing the spread; the cords holding up the big top and the trapeze wires; the motion of the swinging trapeze artist and the balloons, and the animals walking across the pages.

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Originally published in 1959, Mr. Borten’s beautiful, vintage artwork adds texture to the basics: lines, color, and shape, whether it’s by adding swirls to an ocean full of fish or wispy, thin spider webs above the thick bars of a lion’s cage. Ms. Borten artwork and evocative text inspires children to see the world around them “as a great big painting, full of lines and shapes and colors, to look at and enjoy”.

This is a great book to read out loud, then talk about the different sounds and feelings kids associate with them. I know the sizzle of a grill makes me think of summer, and I can feel the warmth on my skin and taste the tart lemonade just thinking about it, and the scent of a box of crayons makes me feel excited, like I’m ready for the first day of school all over again. Have kids draw what different sounds make them think of, or describe them. I’ll be adding this book to  my family storytime rotation for sure.

Do You Hear What I Hear? isn’t out until May, but take a look at some more of the beautiful art from the book, and pre-order from Amazon. Check out the publisher’s website for more picture books, and take a look at some of the outstanding artwork from Do You Hear What I Hear, below.

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Posted in Preschool Reads

Do You See What I See? Vintage art meets children’s concepts

9781909263840_def1bDo You See What I See?, by Helen Borten (May 2016, Flying Eye Books), $17.95, ISBN: 9781909263840

Recommended for ages 4-8

One step up from basic concepts, Helen Borten’s Do You See What I See? takes children one step further, unpacking what feelings and ideas these fundamental concepts evoke in young readers:

“Lines that bend in a zigzag way seem to crackle with excitement. They make me think of thunderstorms and jagged mountain peaks. I see the huge jaws of a crocodile, wide open and bristling with teeth, ready to snap shut.”

Originally published in 1959, Mr. Borten’s beautiful, vintage artwork adds texture to the basics: lines, color, and shape, whether it’s by adding swirls to an ocean full of fish or wispy, thin spider webs above the thick bars of a lion’s cage. Ms. Borten artwork and evocative text inspires children to see the world around them “as a great big painting, full of lines and shapes and colors, to look at and enjoy”.

I’m thrilled to see this book back in print and can’t wait to introduce it to my family storytime. We can have a great discussion about what different pictures and colors make kids feel, and how changing one thing in a picture – a shape, a color, adding or taking something away – affects the whole picture. A must-have for collections where kids are ready to take the next step beyond Mouse Paint and Mouse Count.

Do You See What I See? isn’t out until May, but take a look at some more of the beautiful art from the book, and you can pre-order from Amazon. Check out the publisher’s website for some more books – they have books with amazing artwork.