Today, five books just begging to be read with the little shavers in your households.
All peachy keen for ages 2 and up.
I Really Want to See You, Grandma, written and illustrated by Taro Gomi
originally published in Japan in 1979; first U.S. edition in 2018 by Chronicle Books
Yumi lives in a house with a pink roof on a hill, while far across the way, on that mountain over there, lives her Grandma in the house with an orange roof.
Yumi wakes up one morning longing to see Grandma. So off she pops to the bus stop. (Even though Yumi is just a wee gal, she gets to take the bus All By Herself to visit Grandma! Sweet.)
Meanwhile, Grandma wakes up that same morning with a fierce desire to see her Yumi. So she hops aboard the train. And of course, they pass one another like ships in the night.
How will Yumi and Grandma ever find one another?! Well — it takes many modes of transportation and several missed attempts before they finally do! What a testament to Taro Gomi’s skill that this book reads as freshly today as it did when he first created it almost 40 years ago! Delightful.
The Rain Puddle, written by Adelaide Hall, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
originally published in 1965; reissued by the Bodleian Library in 2017
Here’s another vintage charmer that’s been brought back for our reading pleasure.
A barnyard full of animals are having a terribly worrisome day. It all begins with that little red hen who happens upon a large rain puddle. Staring down into the shining water, she sees…another hen! “Dear me!” she cried. “A plump little hen has fallen into the water!”
As one after another of her compatriots join her, they discover a whole passel of animals in that dangerous puddle! Lo and behold, though, when the sun comes out and dries up the water, things sort themselves out quickly.
Duvoisin’s masterful compositions, bold line, and boisterous color are the stars of this classic, silly story young children love.
When I Am Big, written and illustrated by Maria Dek
first published in France in 2016; English edition 2018 by Princeton Architectural Press
I fell in love with this eclectic, handsome counting book full of charm, quirk, and the sunny, fluttering thoughts of a child from Polish artist Maria Dek.
Dek’s lovely, autumnal palette, her naive shapes and thick brush strokes, childlike simplicity and uncomplicated innocence, come together in an endearing, quiet package. From bicycles with two horns for tooting, to a set of swell hats for adventuring, and all the way up to a grand passel of pillows for pillow fights and a bedtime of “25 o’clock,” Dek speaks to the unbounded ideas and dreams of young children.
A gem from the author/illustrator of another of my favorites, A Walk in the Forest, reviewed here.
Are You a Monkey?: A Tale of Animal Charades, written and illustrated by Marine Rivoal, English text freely adapted by Maria Tunney
first published in France; English edition 2017 by Phaidon Press
A group of animals has gathered by the waterside where one mightily flamboyant Parrot is fluffing her feathers, spreading her wings, calling out to the others — “Guess who I am!”
The Toucan thinks…maybe a pineapple? But no, she’s trying to look like a lion!
One after another, each of the animals plays the game, striking a pose for the others to wildly guess at, and you can try to guess, too! Ridiculous Toucan always guesses some kind of food. Apparently he has got a serious case of the munchies!
Rivoal’s fabulous, tropical-bright prints lend a vibrant, festive air to this jungle guessing game. Maybe it’ll spur some more charades among your children.
Who’s Hiding?, written and illustrated by Satoru Onishi
first published in Japan in 1983; English language edition 2008 by Gecko Press
Open up this book and meet eighteen animals in vivid color and contemporary, simplified shapes. Now you know how they look usually.
Each subsequent page features the same 18, but with one or more animals slightly altered. Can you pick out the ones who are sleeping? backwards? angry?
More fun awaits on the camouflage pages. When you’re an blue animal on a blue background, most of you disappears! Who’s hiding on this page?
Thirteen zesty little puzzlers for clever children.