Thursday, March 6, 2014

more library luck

I haven't shared any library scores for a while, but we've had loads of good picture books over the last few months.  Here they come...

 How To Hide A Lion by Helen Stephens

This is a simple tale of the old-school variety.  A misunderstood lion is run out of town, so a little girl called Iris attempts to hide him in her house.  Among other activities, they read The Tiger Who Came To Tea together, which I thought was a lovely nod.  The illustrations are jaunty and fun and everything gets satisfyingly tied up at the end.  Just lovely :)

 Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

Oh No, George! reminds me of my philosophy dissertation from my university days - is an existentialist ethics possible?  It draws the same conclusions as I did, only in 9,900 fewer words.  Approximately.  It's a fun book with modern illustrations that Dulcie really enjoyed.  Basically, George the dog really wants to be good, but he also really wants to do the naughty things.  What will he choose?

 Rollo And Ruff And The Little Fluffy Bird by Mick Inkpen

I would never have picked up Rollo And Ruff off my own back, but my mum borrowed this when she was looking after Dulcie one day and we've had it out a few times since.  It's one of those books that makes you feel like a master story-teller when you read it aloud.  It's so nicely written, sparse and straight to the point and subtly poetic.  Maybe we'll buy this one some day as it's great for winding down at bedtime and Dulcie and I both love it.

 Sniff by Yokococo

How could I fail to borrow a book once I saw it was written by someone called Yokococo?  Is that not just the best name ever?  I picked this up thinking it would be a comedy number about a little dog with a slipper stuck on its nose.  Instead, it turned out to be a sad and thoughtful book about grief from a little dog's perspective.  Like many of the other books we've been enjoying lately, this one is simply written - short, sweet and to the point.  And like Paper Dolls, I'm yet to read right to the end without having to pause to stop from crying.  Dulcie was quite concerned about me the first time I read it, when the ending caught me unawares and had me whimpering away.

The Tunnel by Anthony Browne

I thought this book had a retro feel to it and reminded me of my own childhood, what we wore and what the houses looked like.  Then I realised it was published in the late eighties!  Dur!  This book is really pretty creepy, but Dulcie loved it, especially the scary double-page spread with no words and lots of gnarly trees with creatures hiding amongst them.  Since reading this, we've discovered a few more Anthony Browne titles that Dulcie has really enjoyed.  My mum got a copy of Willy The Dreamer from her local library sale and we had to read it ten times a night for over a week.  Nothing much happens in it (Willy dreams about being various different things) and the illustrations are very surreal, literally surreal.  I like it, though I'm not sure what it is about it that appeals so much to a two-year-old?  Whatever, she loved it and the week we had to read and read and read it was a good one.  Recently we read Me And You, a strange take on Goldilocks, while we were hanging out in the library.  It's not easy to read aloud (one side of the story is being told in pictures while the other side is told in words) and was another one where I couldn't see the appeal for Dulcie, but she really enjoyed it too.  Social commentary for toddlers!

Foxy! by Jessica Souhami

We have this book out from the library at the moment.  It's a traditional tale told in a really traditional way and is pretty dark and faiy-tale-ish, so is right up my street.  I'm glad Dulcie's enjoying it too.  Foxy tricks various people into surrendering their animals to his sack, getting more and more valuable/tasty as he goes on his travels, until eventually he captures a little boy.  Scary!  The book has lots of repetition in it and Dulcie can read a lot of it to herself already.  She mutters, "And he travelled and he travelled and he travelled," then shouts, "Don't look in the sack!"

Sad, scary, simple, that's the theme of our borrowing, I think.  It's funny, but my taste in children's books has changed (or expanded, I suppose) since having a child to read them with.  I've always had a penchant for scary picture books (I wrote a dissertation - yes, another one - on that very subject) but I'm only now beginning to see the appeal of simplicity.  I think I blogged about my own books before?  Maybe not.  I wrote and illustrated two very much unpublished books in the days before I began blogging.  I reckon, in a few year's time, I might be ready to try writing a book of my own once again and I'll do things a bit differently.  Thanks for the education, Dulcie!


  1. We have the first too - I'm off to check out the rest! Another great existentialist read for toddlers is Mr Tiger goes Wild by Peter Brown. Yay for tigers!

    1. Thanks, I will look out for that one :)

      And I agree - yay for tigers!


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