All the way to number six in the Summer 2010 Picturebook Highlights series is Little, Brown and Company!
Overall, I have to confess there are more novels on this list I’m excited about than picturebooks, but these three did stand out for me (and I’ll review the novels as I read them, promise!):
This award-winning husband-and-wife team have created another hit, in my mind. Lyrical text tells the story of lunch counter sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Beginning with four friends, who will come to be know as the Greensboro Four, blacks and whites across the South began peacefully protesting segregation by sitting at lunch counters, politely waiting to be served. With a refrain throughout: “A doughnut and coffee, with cream on the side,” and highlighting words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and activist Ella Baker, this picturebook is a beautiful introduction to an impressive moment in America’s history. Brian Pinkney’s characteristic illustration style – sweeping washes of color with black line overlay – enhance and compliment the text. A timeline and author’s note at the back of the book make this perfect for both individual storytimes and classroom use.
The illustrations are what make this book a success. The premise is two little boys have chosen a shark and a train from their box of toys and are, in typical fashion, battling to see which toy will win. Quickly the perspective of the book changes to show the shark and the train competing against each other, with cartoonish word bubbles adding text that will make both adults and kids laugh. Basically, two big-kid guys had fun making a kids picturebook.
A follow-up to I Don’t Want a Posh Dog!, the rhyming text and bold yet cool illustrations are sure to create a similar success. “I don’t want a cool cat. A treat-me-like-a-fool cat. I just want a purry cat. A small, soft, furry cat.” Who could resist? Just make sure you’re ready to, or already have, a cat in your life!