PICTURE BOOK REVIEWS: The power of stories and storytelling


Surf's up! Not yet, Dude! Books are boring! Not this one! Bro and Dude have very different ideas about how to spend the day at the beach. But as Bro continues to gasp and cheer as he reads his book (Moby Dick), Dude can't help but get curious. Before you can shout 'Surf's up!' both frogs are sharing the same adventure, that is, until they get to the beach. Newbery Medal Winner, Kwame Alexander, and Daniel Miyares have joined forces to give little listeners a wild ride.


Alexander has created a fun homage to the power of the written word.  As a young frog seeks his brother's company at the beach, he gets pulled into the book his brother is reading.  His imagination gets the better of him and they crash, but the youngster's enthusiasm can be felt throughout the book and the older brother gives in at the end wanting to know the whole story of Moby Dick.  The language of this book makes it a great read-a-loud and an enthusiastic reinforcement of the power of a good book. Miyares illustrations are fun and bright and very appealing.  The illustrations pull both the older brother frog and the reader right into the story of the big white whale.  A fun story to share with young readers.


“One day. . . I went to school. I came home. The end,” says our storyteller—a girl with a busy imagination and a thirst for adventure. The art tells a fuller tale of calamity on the way to school and an unpredictably happy ending. The genius of this picture book is that each illustration captures multiple, unexpected, and funny storylines as the narrator tells her shorter-than-ever stories, ending with “One day. . . I wanted to write a book.” An original and incredibly deep combination of text and art invites readers to make up stories of their own.


One of the things I love the most about picture books is the way they blend the words and the pictures.  But sometimes it's hard to help children see how each contributes to the enjoyment of the story.  One Day, The End demonstrates so delightfully, just how powerful the pictures are in a picture book.  Each of the 'short' stories in this book is literally just two short sentences, which would seem rather dull and boring if it wasn't for the delightfully amusing illustrations.  I had a fun time reading this book with first graders and talking about how the illustrations took the basic information in the text and truly turned it into a story.  This book is not only a fun read-a-loud but a great way to encourage children to write and illustrate their own stories.


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