Tuesday, December 6, 2016



McDonnell has created an amusing book that looks like an ipad.  The theme of the book isn't hard to guess once you look closely at the cover illustration.  Tek, a young 'cave' boy with a beard (his father hasn't invented shaving cream yet), is obsessed with his video games, tablet, and phone.  In fact, he is so focused on his technology that he refuses to even leave his cave.  Despite the efforts of his parents and his best friend, Larry (a crocodile?), Tek misses out on the evolving world, including the Ice Age, and the appearance of dinosaurs.  It isn't until the local volcano erupts and disrupts Tek's entire world that he starts to see the world around him and the wonders it contains.  The design of this book is fabulous.  The first half of the book looks just like an ipad screen, even including a number pad page.  Once Tek starts seeing and experiencing the world around him, the design of the book changes.  Tek's beard also adds humor as do the parents comments and the fact that Larry carries around a basketball, wishing Tek would come play with him.


A young boy comes across a ship's captain who is heartbroken because his ship is in such poor shape.  The peg-legged boy decides to help his friend gather the supplies he needs to fix up his ship by swapping or bargaining for what they need.  They start one one red button off the sailor's coat, which they trade for two teacups.  The two teacups are traded for three coils of rope.  Two coils of rope are then traded for six oars and so on and so forth until the boy and the sailor (and a monkey) have visited a bunch of islands and gathered all the supplies they need.  The fun incorporation of math (it would be fun to have children see if they can figure out just what supplies the two still have once they are done trading) and the detailed illustrations make for a delightful read.  The judicious use of color also has an important role in leading the reader's eyes to certain aspects of the story.  It would be lots of fun though to see what young readers/listeners notice once they look beyond the obvious.  There is so much to see and do with this book that it's a real winner in my book.  Beyond the obvious connections to economics and math are connections to creativity and friendship and determination.  And the fantastically detailed illustrations make it a real possibility for the Caldecott as well.


A young boy, his little sister, and his parents are off on a trip.  As readers we follow along as the suitcases get packed (including monkey), the taxi is loaded, the airport is navigated, and the plane takes off and arrives.  Each aspect of the journey is documented in the detailed and adorable illustrations.  I think the part of the book I enjoyed the most was looking at all the details in the illustrations.  It's fun to follow sock monkey's journey, as well as a strange shaped fragile package, and several other travelers that appear throughout the book.  Even the cover under the book jacket gives additional details about the travelers.  This book makes for a delightful look at traveling but also a great way to prepare children for traveling by airplane.  With no shortage of fun things to look at and discuss this book makes for a great sharing experience.  While the details of the book are great for one-on-one reading, story times are likely to be a bit more difficult because of all the details.


While this book is not one of my favorites for 2016, it is a cute book and it has appeared on several best of lists, so it is definitely in the running for the ALA Awards.  This story revolves around a duckling who opens a book only to discover that the book doesn't have any pictures, it's all text.  At first this makes him mad and he throws the book.  But afterwords he feels bad and picks it back up and starts to read it.  When a bookworm shows up and asks him if he can read it, he isn't sure at first, but he keeps at it and eventually finds himself creating his own pictures to go with the words.  By the time he is finished, he is thoroughly in love with the book.  Interestingly, the words on the front end papers are in jibberish with a few recognizable words mixed in.  But the back end papers are completely readable.  An interesting symbol of the theme of the book:  that learning to read pure text can be challenging, but worth it in the end.  While the illustrations here aren't my favorite, I can't deny that they are still cute and appealing, and the message is a powerful one.

1 comment:

  1. So wonderful to have an updated airplane travel book!


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