Summer 2010 Picturebook Highlights – Marshall Cavendish

Okay, I lied. Penguin was not the last. This morning I discovered a publisher’s catalogue on my desk I had neglected to blog about before: Marshall Cavendish!

Joha Makes a Wish: A Middle Eastern Tale
by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Omar Rayyan
9780761455998, $17.99, published in March 2010

I admit I have a big soft spot for Eric Kimmel, after growing up with his Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins and The Chanukkah Guest. He writes multicultural tales with humor and sensitivity (and is lucky enough to have amazing illustrators put pictures to his words!) Omar Rayyan’s illustrations bring this book to life with intricate details and a playful ambiance. Joha finds a wishing stick on his way to Baghdad. He makes several small wishes, but it’s when the sultan starts using the wishing stick, that things really get out of hand.

Chalk
by Bill Thomson
9780761455264, $15.99, published in March 2010

One rainy day, three kids in a park discover a bag of chalk. They begin to draw the sun, butterflies, even a dinosaur that all come to life! It takes some quick thinking and quick drawing to save the kids from the magic and the dinosaur that run amok. Crystal clear, almost photographic-quality illustrations are a nice contrast with the surreal subject matter. This wordless picturebook reminds me of some of Chris Van Allsburg’s work: there’s a similar fantasy quality and the endless possibilities of imagination (only, you know, in color).

A Giraffe Goes to Paris
by Mary Tavener Holmes and John Harris, illustrated by Jon Cannell 
9780761455950, $17.99, published in April 2010

This picturebook tells the re-imagined true story about a very famous giraffe. In 1827, the pasha of Egypt gave the king of France a gift: Belle, a giraffe. Belle traveled from Alexandria, Egypt to Paris, France, riding on a boat with a hole cut out for her neck, and then walking 500 miles in 41 days, parading through France from Marseilles to Paris. Jon Cannell’s quirky cartoon-esque illustrations encompass artifacts and paintings from the 1800s, as we follow Belle’s life story.

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