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3 Cracking good picture books

Three new picture books from well known and critically acclaimed writers – Anthony Browne, Quentin Blake and Jeannie Baker. All of these are essential purchases for school libraries and indeed for homes with or without  children. They are fantastic!

Me and You by Anthony Browne. Pub. Doubleday, 2010.

Anthony Browne takes the story of Goldilocks and the three bears and puts it into an urban environment in which an under privileged Goldilocks encounters a very middle class, three bears. Indeed Anthony Browne dedicates this book “For all the underdogs,” but then again doesn’t he always.

He opens with the three bears yellow detached home on the fringe of the urban area where the weather is bright and all is lovely. They of course live at number 3.

Then we have Goldilocks in a hoody, leaving her gloomy terraced house with her mother. The pictures are in black and white.

The middleclassness of the three bears is established with their dress and their manner throughout the rest of the story as the written and picture text work brilliantly together.

Goldilocks is always seen in black and white except for her shock a brilliant golden hair. After chasing a balloon Goldilocks is separated from her mother, finds the three bears house and goes through the porridge, chairs and bed routine and is found by the bears who do the same.

As she runs from the bears house the weather turns from rain and gloom to bright sunshine as she is reunited with her mother.  aaah ain’t that just luverly.

I can say no more it is just brilliant. Great for the study of alternative fairy tales.

Angelica Sprocket’s Pockets by Quentin Blake. Pub. Jonathon Cape Books, 2010.

I just love the simpleness and hugely expressive illustrations that are uniquely Quentin Blake’s, and his written text that is simple, rhyming and minimalistic, yet says so much.

Take the first page where Angelica Sprocket resplendent in long red coat full of pockets, stands holding the hand of a white boy and a black girl. Underneath in large print we have the text – “Angelica Sprocket Lives next door. Her overcoat has pockets galore.”

What adventures and imagination the children have have in store. From each pocket Angelica pulls out surprise after surprise and all the time keeping the fun going with simple rhyming language. Kids will want you to read it to them over and over again.

A truly classy picture book from a truly classy writer. Great for imagination and language development in children.

Mirror by Jeannie Baker. Pub. Walker Books, 2010.

Two interconnected wordless stories sitting side by side in the one picture book. The pages open outwards reflecting the two different cultures presented. The left half is Australian, is introduced in English and opens to the left, the second is Moroccan introduced in Arabic and opens to the right and is read from right to left.

Both stories show a family rising, having breakfast and going about their business. In both cultures the wife stays home with the young baby while the father and son journey to market to do their business. The link between the two is a carpet produced in Morocco and ending up in the Australian home.

The illustrations are in Jeannie Baker’s specialist style of Collage and they are just stunning. You will linger long over these images as they portray landscape and way of life of the respective cultures. The city images of Sydney and the desert and market images of Morocco are magical.

Great for comparative lifestyles and cultural differences. Just wonderful.

The front and back covers showing the two landscapes under the same moon are inspiring.

Categories: Picture book
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