I’m on to the 4th shelf in my journey through the picture book section at my local library. Enjoying the process and discovering so many wonderful books! I’m choosing 5-7 books each week, reading them with my family (which includes kids aged 8 and 10, a parrot who loves to listen to stories, and two adults) and then giving you my thoughts and a rating out of 5.
This is Emma Apple’s Picture Book Blog: Shelf 4. You can also read along on goodreads.
My Choices This Week
This is the Way We Eat Our Lunch. A Book About Children Around the World by Edith Baer, Illustrated by Steve Björkman
I was so hopeful when I picked this book up. I mean, the title screams cultural/racial diversity. It was exciting to see the cultures represented and how it was done. Excited to see authenticity and nuance. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in a few ways. It felt really superficial, the rhyme felt a little forced and the first half of the book was different U.S. states (which is fine, but not exactly “the World” as the title suggests). The latter can be forgiven, considering the audience was probably always primarily American.
The second half was various world cultures. I had all but forgiven the superficial feel and annoying
Cock-a-doodle-doo, Creak, Pop-pop, Moo by Jim Aylesworth, Illustrated by Brad Sneed
This book was really fun to read. If the title doesn’t give it away, it is all about onomatopoeia. Taking us through a day in the life of a very cheerful family who live on a farm. It’s a lot of fun to read, I love the way it opens with everyone waking up, and closes with everyone falling asleep. It shows a family working together on the farm. Taking care of the animals and doing the jobs that need to be done. A great story of teamwork and a lot of fun to read together. As we were reading together, the 10-year-old was making the sound effects and we were all laughing.
4/5 We enjoyed it a lot.
No Such Thing by Ella Bailey
I picked this book up for its bold, unique illustrations (I definitely do choose them by their covers). It’s a Halloween themed book, which I would usually avoid. At the end of the book it says Happy Halloween, but otherwise, it’s not overtly holiday focused. In the story, we follow a skeptical little girl, who explains the real reasons behind spooky happenings. For example, there are strange shadows and scary noises at night. She turns on the light, and her cat is swatting at a moth. I love how it is subtly comforting for kids who find Halloween spooky or scary, but it was also fun to read and not in-your-face with its message. We read this a few times, both kids enjoyed it and I was not disappointed by the illustrations.
4/5 Loved it!
Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty, Illustrated by David Roberts
If you’ve been reading each week, you’re probably noticing a pattern with my choices. I take particular interest in books that have oft-underrepresented characters. W
It’s obvious why I picked up this book: because it’s a little girl engineer! I mean, how could I not? My science-loving 10yo girl would definitely love it, and I knew my engineer wannabe 8yo son would love it too. It’s great for both of them to see strong female characters. I was excited, and the book did not disappoint! I suspected it had something to do with Rosie the Riveter (the “We Can Do It!” woman from the famous WWII poster) and I was right.
Why I Love it so Much:
We meet a little girl who is a bit quieter, and a bit different from her classmates. She collects things from the rubbish/trash and off the group, takes them home, and makes all sorts of secret contraptions with them. At some point, she makes something for her favorite uncle, and he laughs at how ridiculous it is. My heart broke, that’s the perfect way to destroy creativity and exploration, poor Rosie! Her heart broke too and she stopped showing her inventions to people.
Rosie went on to inspire her class to build things too and the final illustration is of all the kids happily playing with their contraptions! I can’t say enough how much I love this story! The illustrations are really fun and unique, the people represented are diverse and representative. I love that the back of the book has a historical note where we learn about the real Rosie the Riveter. If you have little humans, click the title of the book above and get a copy for your home library! That’s how good it is.
5/5 Buy it!
Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth, Illustrations by Stephen Gammell
One word: Hilarious! This is an alphabet book, but not your typical alphabet book! We follow this old black fly as he gets into everything in the house! Dances on the edge of the garbage
My Sister’s Rusty Bike by Jim Aylesworth, Illustrated by Richard Hull
It was a coincidence that I picked up 3 of
4/5 Fun and quirky.
My Light by Molly Bang
Science! I love science picture books! This one was really sweet and airy, almost spiritual feeling, but also completely about energy, how it works, and how it comes from the sun. It’s actually narrated by the sun, which is interesting on its own. The illustrations are absolutely lovely, contrasted and boldly colored, just very, very fun to look at. We start off with a description of the water cycle and how the sun’s heat facilitates that. It then
5/5 Absolutely lovely!
Bonus Book (Not From The Shelf)
Home by Carson Ellis
This book is kind of interesting. There are things I don’t love about it. That can be explained by the fact that it’s a marriage of reality and fairytale, perhaps.
It’s written by an artist and the book is heavily illustration based. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! It does a great job of representing different people and showing us all the different places where people might live. In the middle of it all, it also shows mythological and fairytale places (like Atlantis and the old woman who lived in a shoe). Which at first I didn’t love, but by the end I really did.
Some of the cultural representation was a little bothersome. For example, I’m pretty sure the “underground lairs” home, which shows a woman lounging on gold and two men with a lamp and money, who are all obviously “Arab”, was meant to be from Aladdin, but it was still a bit off-putting for me. As the mother of Arab kids and someone who is aware of the problematic image of Arabs in movies and media. Similar caveats about Indian and Native American images in the book as well. Otherwise, I really thought it was a beautiful book. A lovely attempt at showing that home can mean many things and many different places.
3.5/5 Loved it but with caveats.