Day 14 (Week 2, Day 7)
We come to the end of our second week, with a couple of days missing in the middle due to some very sleepy children, but still firmly on course to read over 1,000 picture books by the end of the year!
So, what did we finish off with this week?
1) Little Lost Cowboy - Simon Puttock (Author) & Caroline Jayne Church (Illustrator)
Aw, this is full of such beautifully cute illustrations! Lets face it, it's impossible if you're an animal lover not to think that these illustrations are lovely, and it goes perfectly with a funny and heartwarming little story about a coyote who gets lost before finding his mum again. There are lots of moments to make children laugh out loud as he tries to follow the advice of other animals to find his way home, and it is of course a good chance to talk to your children about what they should do if they ever get lost themselves (always one for a positive message in a book, me).
Chris says: The illustrations really are adorable, and I like stories where there's a message about staying safe that is quite gentle and not fraught with too much agaony!
Josh says: I liked when he fell and bumped his bottom!
Xander says: Cowboy!
2) The Troll - Julia Donaldson (Author) & David Roberts (Illustrator)
It almost seems to be going against the laws of nature to have a Julia Donaldson book not illustrated by Axel Scheffler, doesn't it? Well, David Roberts' illustrations fit perfectly for this particular tale so it's certainly a move that has worked well! It's the story of a troll who wants to catch something more than just fish, but is told by each animal that he tries to trap on his bridge that he should go to a bigger bridge downstream. Finally he finds a bunch of pirates only to discover a slight problem with his plan...and that if he wanted to avoid eating fish perhaps he should have stayed where he was!
Chris: I love the twist towards the end of this story! Makes me laugh whenever I think about it, which is always the sign of a good story for adults and children!
Josh: I like the ending with the fish.
Xander: I'm doing building, sorry. (N.B. Fair enough, he was very polite about it.)
3) King Baby - Kate Beaton (Author & Illustrator)
It is impossible to overplay just how fantastic King Baby is. No book has ever captured the (adorable) demands that a baby places on their parents in such a hilarious manner, and this made me laugh over and over again when I first read it. It made me laugh over and over again the next time I read it too, and the next time, and everytime after that, because this is without doubt one of my favourite picture books of all time. There's so much for parents to recognise (like King Baby demanding the 'thing', then getting annoyed with his parents for not getting the correct 'thing') and I love the idea of a baby truly believing that he rules everything because, let's face it, babies really do rule every aspect of their parents lives!
The pictures go brilliantly with the story, and pieces like King Baby's growth to a small boy are really well done. The second I'd read this I was emailing a children's librarian colleague insisting that she get hold of a copy as a matter of urgency, and have also insisted that colleagues around the world read it too in one of our continental librarian chats. I can't imagine there is going to be much of 2017 where I'm NOT recommending King Baby to people on an almost daily-basis, so do your whole family a favour and make sure you order a copy NOW from your local library or bookshop!
Chris says: It's so, so funny, and I love it so, so much. The children laugh almost as much as I do, and even people that I know who don't usually laugh out loud at picture books (there are some strange folk out there!) have been known to do so for this. I would love to meet Kate Beaton just tell her in person how she's written the perfect book about what babies think and that I can't see how it will ever be topped in that regard.
Josh says: I like when Queen Baby comes along at the end.
Xander says: Umm...I need the potty. (N.B. He laughed throughout the story but refused to answer anything differently when we'd finished!)
So, to summarise Day 14...
I loved how much Little Lost Cowboy made me think 'awwww'. I loved how The Troll made me laugh at it's twist. Most of all, I love literally EVERYTHING about King Baby, and it's definitely one of my favourite picture books of all time. There were some absolutely phenomenal picture books that came out in 2017, and this stands at the very top with the best. Read it everyone! Read it now!
Today was a good selection to show someone if they want to a bit of variety in three stories. There's one with a lovely message about family being there to help you when you're lost, one that's there to make you laugh, and one to show you how a picture book can tell a cleverer story than 99% of adult fiction.