Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

You’re busy.
I get that.
Holidays approach.
10-word teasers to tempt you towards books I adore!
Guaranteed to make your day better.

Fort-building Time, written by Megan Wagner Lloyd, illustrated by Abigail Halpin
published in 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf

Orange Marmalade gold! Charming forts, outdoor fun, every season. Jubilant!

City Moon, written by Rachael Cole, illustrated by Blanca Gómez
published in 2017 by Schwartz & Wade Books

Gorgeous jaunt to spy peek-a-boo moon. Sweet togetherness. Preschool brilliance.

On a Magical Do-Nothing Day, written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna
originally published in France, 2016; first U.S. edition 2017 by Harper

Explore outdoors! Ditch electronic games. Doing “nothing” can be spectacular!

No One Else Like You, written by Siska Goeminne, illustrated by Merel Eyckerman
originally published in Belgium, 2016; first U.S. edition 2017 by Westminster John Knox Press

Diverse people make a captivating world. You make it lovely.

The Little Red Cat Who Ran Away and Learned His ABC’s (the Hard Way), written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
published in 2017 by Little, Brown and Company

Clever, funny, surprising, hair-raising alphabetical adventures!  Jolly, surefire pleaser!

Hilda and the Runaway Baby, written and illustrated by Daisy Hirst
first U.S. edition 2017 by Candlewick Press

Rapscallion baby rescued by indefatigable, racing pig! Sweet, happy friendship. 

Wee Sister Strange, written by Holly Grant, illustrated by K.G. Campbell
published in 2017 by Schwartz & Wade Books

Enchanted nighttime woodsy ramble…searching for what? Lush, hushed, magical.

But I Don’t Eat Ants, written by Dan Marvin, illustrated by Kelly Fry
published in 2017 by POW!

Loquacious anteater gourmand, plainly peeved at ant-eating expectations! Wowzer!

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse, written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
published in 2017 by Candlewick Press

Quackily-quirky! Howlingly-ingenuous! Home is where the wolf is?!

Terrific, written and illustrated by Jon Agee
published in 2017 by Dial Books for Young Readers

Curmudgeonly Eugene + plucky parrot = crack Caribbean sailing team! So droll!


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Looking for some great reads for those little shavers, say 15 months and up? Bold, jolly books, short in length but long in painstakingly-crafted ideas and artwork, coming right up!

Truck, Truck, Goose, written by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Zoe Waring
published in 2017 by Harper

One oblivious duck goes on a picnic. How much trouble could that cause?

Plenty and more! Jazzy bright color, gobs of jolly trucks, great humor, and a sweet ending. Fabulous.

Goodnight World, written and illustrated by Debi Gliori
published in 2016 by Bloomsbury

Debi Gliori’s chalky, curving, comforting images spill across the pages in this lovely book…

… simply saying goodnight to all kinds of good things in the world. A creamy dreamy treat that’ll end your day with a warm glow.

Round — written by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
published in 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

An impeccably gorgeous book with a deceptively simple premise — exploring the round bits in our world.

One of my favorite books of the year. Warm, full of wonder, and beautiful.

Which Way? written by Marthe Jocelyn, illustrated by Tom Slaughter
published in 2010 by Tundra Books

Slaughter’s bold-as-brass graphic design and bright primary colors will arrest a child’s attention as you ponder together all the ways to get around and reach your destination.

Simple. Classy. Intelligent. This same team has several other cool titles for toddlers as well.

Stack the Cats, written and illustrated by Susie Ghahremani
published in 2017 by Abrams Appleseed

So stylish.

Beginning with one cat sleeping, we count up by cats. When enough of them arrive, we can stack ’em. But too many cats in a stack teeters and totters. Add a few more, and we can stack cats in a couple of equal, smaller stacks. Effortlessly mind-stretching number awareness on tap here with a side of wit.

I Know Numbers! written and illustrated by Taro Gomi
published in Japan in 1985; first U.S. edition 2017 by Chronicle Books

Taro Gomi’s genius explores the numerous places numbers show up in our world from thermometers to bus stops, team jerseys to dice…

… all delivered with aplomb and massive child-appeal.

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I just received my copy of The Lost Words and it is much larger, just as handsome, and quite as magical as I suspected it would be.

The Lost Words: A Spell Book, written by Robert Macfarlane, illustrated by Jackie Morris
published in 2017 by Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Books

To fully appreciate the book, a bit of background is required.

I do love British literature and find myself very often recommending British children’s books here on Orange Marmalade.

my well-worn Pooh Bear

From my tattered, stained, childhood volume of Winnie the Pooh through the entire 12-volume Swallows and Amazons series which we read aloud with our children, often around the campfire during our annual summer camping trips…

Barklems knowledge of natural history is on display throughout this charming series.

…to the loveliness of Jill Barklem’s Brambly Hedge series, and Beatrix Potter’s thoroughly unsentimental tales… I could go on and on.

One of the differences I’ve noticed over the years between British and American literature — for children and adults — is the propensity of the Brits to properly name the flora and fauna in a story’s setting. Thus gorsebushes, hawthorns, and cowslips, thrushes, starlings, and coots, all appear even in stories for very young children, rather than merely birds, ducks, flowers, and trees.

A gorse bush, such as ambushed Pooh Bear on occasion.

To conjure up a picture of a woodland “filled with spring flowers” or to conjure an image of a woodland “drifted in trillium” for example, is quite a different thing. If you know what trillium is.

Trillium bloomed like snow in the woods near my in-laws home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

To speak of a barn swallow’s nest to children who have seen one mudded into an out-of-the-way corner, nestled in the porch rafters perhaps, creates a vivid picture quite different from simply “a bird’s nest” which could look dozens of different ways.

However, British researchers have substantiated the sad reality that yes, even in Britain, these richly-precise words once commonly used by children to talk about the natural world have begun to fade away. No longer do children talk of brambles or ferns, kingfishers or wrens. Their study results, published in Science, mourned the fact that presently children seem “more inspired by synthetic subjects” such as Pokemon characters, than by “living creatures.” Part of the tragedy, beyond the richness of life and experience which is lost when children are nature-deprived, is that since “we love what we know,” fewer children can be brought to care about the extinction of a species, for example, the loss of habitat, the despoiling of a vibrant, vital natural world.

Children’s language and writings on the whole began not to employ this more precise vocabulary. Thus we arrive at the “lost words” that Robert Macfarlane began to ponder as a result of his reading and reflecting on this research.

If the act of naming something lends credence to it, acknowledges it, vivifies it, the disappearance of that name correspondingly blurs its reality, perhaps even disappears that thing — wren-ness, bluebell-ness — from our conscious knowledge of its existence, our ability to experience its reality, to see it. This idea set author Macfarlane to musing about the almost magical power of naming in old fantasies and eventually brought him to the concept of this profound, gorgeous book. You can read Macfarlane’s article relaying in much fuller and more cogent detail his thoughts — the article that initially cued me into this title — at the link here. It’s absolutely fascinating.

So, the book. Twenty living things — from dandelions to weasels — are conjured once again in The Lost Words, brought back from a sort of banishment into their old vigor and resplendence via the “spells” spoken by us, the readers. These spells consist entirely of naming the creature. The way it works is this:

On a double-page spread, a tangle of letters meanders atop a natural setting in which it feels, somehow, that something is missing. Here, for example, is a glade of trees with a sense of barren vacancy.

If we pick out the letters in blue (contrasting with the other, golden letters), we find the name of what is missing. “Bluebell.” Say that name aloud, and turn the page…

Voila! A bluebell appears, and an anacrostic poem describing a bluebell-filled wood, with “billows blue so deep, sea deep, each step is taken in an ocean.” Macfarlane wrote these poems, and each one is finely-crafted, dignified, wonderfully respectful of children’s minds.

Turn the page once again and Jackie Morris’s stunning painting spreads a revitalized scene before us. Our “spell” — our naming of bluebell — has worked! The wood is transformed with the reappearance of this splendor of nature.

The size of the book — coffee-table worthy — means we feel ushered right into these lush scenes, magically whisked feather-close to the cerulean line-up of kingfishers perched just over the pond or up into icy alpine world of the raven.

Elegant. Artful. Inspiring wonder. Bidding us to attend to the natural world more closely, know it, name it. This highly unusual book knits together science, poetry, and art, magnificently. I hope it coaxes many into the great outdoors to exult and see and name and know and care for the treasures of nature around us.

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Looking for a new gem for your stack of bedtime reading? Check out these titles that have risen to the tiptop of a towering stack of books I’ve read recently. (And that takes some doing!)

Want something wildly imaginative, slightly off-kilter, with adventure spilling over the rim?

The Only Fish in the Sea, written by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
published in 2017, a Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press

Oh, my dear Sadie, you are back!! That indefatigable gal from Special Delivery is here with a new challenge: Rescuing a birthday-present-goldfish that’s been cold-heartedly pitched into the sea by snooty Little Amy Scott!

Sadie and her pal Sherman won’t let the odds of finding such a small fella in such a large ocean daunt them. Just collect one boat, twenty-one pink balloons, and plenty of hot tea, and they’re ready for anything.

Sadie’s nonchalant narration is offset by the jazzy illustration work of Matthew Cordell. Non-stop, hyper-energized, careening fun. His intrepid band of monkeys alone would ordinarily steal the show except for Sadie’s sheer splendidness. Do I love this book? Yes, I do. Ages 4 and up.

Want something racy, happy, and generous?

Mama Lion Wins the Race, written and illustrated by Jon J Muth
published in 2017 by Scholastic Press

Drawing inspiration from Italian motorcar races and loved-to-the-nubbins stuffed animals, this brilliant tale of speed, strategy, and a massive dose of warmhearted friendship is one to read over and over again with ages 2 or 3 and up.

Goes well with a cup of cocoa.

Want something beautiful, nature-adorned, and clever?

Plume, written and illustrated by Isabelle Simler
first published in France; published in the U.S. in 2017 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Stunning illustrations of birds and their whisper-soft, dazzling feathers dominate the pages of this quiet book. The only text until the last two pages consists of the name of each bird.

from the French edition

Look closely, though. There’s someone occupying each page besides the main attraction. What is that black cat up to? A lovely beacon to observation; inspirational for those drawing from nature. Ages 4 and up. 

Want something fairy-tale dark, tingly with suspense and warm with neighborliness at the same time?

When a Wolf is Hungry, written by Christine Naumann-Villemin, illustrated by Kris DiGiacomo
originally published in France in 2011; first U.S. edition 2017 by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

When a toothy wolf is hungry, and a “grain-fed, silky-haired rabbit with just a hint of sweetness” is living, obliviously, on the 5th floor — well, that’s a recipe for “hare-raising” adventure, right?!

And we’ve got that, dished up with theatrical aplomb in this highly-satisfying story. Sharp knife?  Check. Weber grill?!  Check. Chainsaw?!! Check, check, check. Only thing is, Mr. Wolf has a modicum of politeness and a load of neighbors who keep inadvertently foiling his plans. What can they be up to? Brave children ages 4 and up will love this.

Want something friendly, welcoming, and quiet?

That Neighbor Kid, a wordless book by Daniel Miyares
published in 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

And I don’t mean quiet just because there are no words. Miyares’ mood, artwork, and storyline all unreel with a lovely unrushed, yesteryear flavor that draws us in the way a whisper does in a cacophony of noise. Hush. Be still. Watch.

Gray-scale ink and watercolor illustrations wash the story’s opening with tranquility, hesitancy, even loneliness. The new kid on the block barely has the courage to peep out her window at her new neighbor. As the story unfolds, walls are literally torn down between them and collaboration begins, a prime tree house emerges from their joint efforts, and a sunny wash seeps its way into the spreads.

Warm-hearted as a cup of cocoa and just the note of welcome and friendship we sorely need in these divisive days. Ages 3 and up.

Want something nautical, classic, and gripping?

Mighty Moby, written by Barbara Da Costa, illustrated by Ed Young
published in 2017 by Little, Brown and Company

Snippets and sea chanteys from Herman Melville’s classic whale-of-a-tale narrate this heart-pounding adventure that with one swish sails itself into a calm harbor just right for pillows and peace.

Astoundingly inventive collaboration for brave young skippers ages 3 and up. Bound to win some illustration prizes.

Want something full of happy-birthday anticipation?

When’s My Birthday? written by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Christian Robinson
published in 2017, a Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press

Julie Fogliano captures the anticipation of waiting, waiting, waiting for a birthday to come in her ambling, poetic text.

How many days until my birthday, this child asks again and again. There’s wishing for presents, dreaming of lots of chocolate and “tiny sandwiches with soup,” inviting one and all…and waiting, waiting, waiting until finally, the glorious day is here.

Christian Robinson can do no wrong, can he? His naive cut-paper collages, smiley kids and bunting, excellently-huge chocolate cake, and warm diversity are the perfect accompaniment. Happy and utterly relatable, for ages 2 and up.

Want something elegant, historical, gorgeous, and  slightly haunting?

Town is by the Sea, written by Joanne Schwartz, illustrated by Sydney Smith
published in 2017 by Groundwood Books

What an unusual picture book, this account of a young boy living in a mining town on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

The vast, sparkling sea spreads out before him. Lupines line sunny roadsides. A baloney sandwich and tall glass of milk are what’s for lunch. Ordinary as Opie Taylor. Yet punctuating his narrative, interrupting the light, are thoughts of his dad, at work deep under the sea, digging for coal.

It’s a gripping juxtaposition, emphasized by Sydney Smith’s fabulous illustrations, sepia and sea-blues giving way to body-buckling darkness, tons of coal hulking over hunched miners. Wow.

An Author’s Note tells how from the late 1800s up to the 1950s when this story takes place, young boys grew up knowing they would follow in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers who spent twelve-hour days in “the harsh, dangerous, dark reality underground.” A stunning slice of life for ages 5 to 100.

Want something rich with grandfatherly hope?

Sing, Don’t Cry, written and illustrated by Angela Dominguez
published in 2017 by Henry Holt and Company

There are only a few people in your life who can tell you to sing when you’re feeling low, and you don’t want mainly to punch them.

But a grandfather like Angela Dominguez’s abuelo is one of them. That’s because his long life has been streaked with troubles, sorrows, difficulties, and he offers what has been a balm for his soul during those hard times — the gift of music. “Sing, don’t cry, because singing gladdens the heart,” he says, his warm eyes smiling into ours.

This affectionate tribute to Dominguez’s real abuelo — a mariachi musician from Mexico City —  is clearly a work of love. It’s a brief, hope-filled offering that, again, arrives with timeliness just now. Ages 2 and up.

Want something vintage and fresh?

If Apples Had Teeth, by Milton and Shirley Glaser
first published in 1960; reprinted in 2017 by Enchanted Lion Books

Take one of the most celebrated graphic designers in America, pair him up with a series of quirky, clever, imaginative, if-then statements and here’s what you get:

Pure, brain-fizzing delight.

Shirley Glaser’s brilliant text is wonderful fodder for minds that refuse to be hemmed in by the ordinary. A book to make you smile and see possibilities! Ages 2 and up.

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Rain has perhaps a tarnished reputation of late with the devastating hurricanes and floods across the globe.  Images of rainfall have been connected with misery. 

Today’s rain-soaked books are saturated with jubilation, imagination, humor, tenderness.  I think they’ll put a smile on your face and buoy your spirits. Take a look:

This Beautiful Day, written by Richard Jackson, illustrated by Suzy Lee
published in 2017 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster

Simplicity, imagination, liveliness, contentment, love.

Richard Jackson and Suzy Lee tap into the truly good things in life in this joyful shimmy through a day with three siblings, their mom, and a sprinkling of neighborhood friends.

It’s full on rain to begin with, but a swizzle of music, the sheer happiness within their hearts, and the downright juiciness of life means a little weather can’t keep these guys down. Out they go to revel in rain. Their exuberance is catchy. Friends come a-running. Soon enough, clouds drift away and a radiant sun splashes their world with warmth and light. It’s a beautiful day, all right.

Jackson’s text pops with joy and movement. Lee’s playful line dances, swishes, stomps, leaps merrily. Her brilliant use of color starts us out with calm, graphite sketchiness, adds spritzes of energizing raindrop-blue, diffuses warm summer-green as the day and action heat up. I adore this book. The outdoor play. The magic of imagination. The relaxed affection.  The sheer gleefulness. Picture book perfection for ages 2 and up. Don’t miss it!

Rain, written and illustrated by Sam Usher
first U.S. edition 2017 by Templar Books, Candlewick Press

Previously Sam Usher has introduced us to this boy and his granddad in a world blanketed by a mighty snowfall. (Find that review here.)

Today, it’s raining, and once again, this little fellow cannot wait to get out and play in it. To “catch raindrops, splash in puddles, and look at everything upside down.” And once again, Granddad says they’ve got to wait.

Waiting is hard business, and when an epic rainstorm is flooding the world outside your window, forming puddles big as seas, creating watery worlds enchanted as Venice — well, it is very trying. But he is one patient kid.

When Granddad is finally ready to venture out, it’s clear the waiting did not wither our boy’s imagination one bit! What an adventure the two of them have on a simple walk to the postbox! Another blast of imagination and intergenerational companionship from Sam Usher. Vibrant illustrations to linger over and even textured raindrops on the book cover! Ages 2 and up.

The Cow Said Meow, written and illustrated by John Himmelman
published in 2016 by Henry Holt and Company

One shrewd cow observes that with merely a “meow” a marmalade cat is welcomed out of the rain and into the snug dry house. Hmm.

Standing there in the driving rain, clearly not amused, the cow gives it a try. “Meow,” says the cow. Bingo! The old lady, whose thick glasses clearly are not helping her see straight, opens the door and ushers Ms. Cow inside, as quick as that.

Next, an alert pig gives it a try. Then an eagle-eyed chicken. How many animals does it take before the cat decides things are out of control? Zany fun for ages 2 and up.

A Rainbow of My Own, written and illustrated by Don Freeman
first published in 1966; published by Puffin Books in 1978

Don Freeman’s work has nurtured generations of young children. This one is a gem. I love the vintage feel of not only the images, but also its quiet tone and the independence of the child exploring completely on his own with freedom. There is not a single other human in the story. No supervision and no need for companions, even. This is not something we see very often in more contemporary children’s stories and I miss it.

One little boy is off in pursuit of the rainbow he sees, intent on capturing it. It proves elusive, of course, but a surprise awaits him back in his own room, when sunlight beams through a fishbowl and dazzles him with a rainbow of his own.

Authentic, childlike perspectives, straightforward text, splashes of imagination, and Freeman’s iconic illustrations all make this a winner for ages 2 and older.

Home in the Rain, written and illustrated by Bob Graham
published in Australia 2016; first U.S. edition 2017 by Candlewick Press

Quintessential Bob Graham here, with this unusual story witnessing a small miracle on a sodden day. As with any Graham story, it is nearly impossible to encapsulate in a short review. His ability to capture the glory of the ordinary, the rich kernels of human experience,  consistently leaves me speechless. 

Francie and her mom are driving home from Grandma’s house, their small red car dwarfed by semis, smothered by dark rain clouds, battered by rain.

All around them, unbeknownst to them, living their quiet/loud/still/busy lives, others are experiencing the rain as well, but Francie and Mom are cocooned in their own world in the cab of the car. Francie’s baby sister is there, too, tucked safe inside of mama, waiting to be born. As they chat and munch a packed lunch, Francie wonders what the baby’s name might be. When will she have a name? she asks. Might it be Alice? Or Isabel?

The juxtaposition of a stormy rainswept countryside, the busy push and go surrounding them on the highways and at the gas station, with the private, childlike wonderings and maternal introspection; the flicker of inspiration in this pregnant woman’s heart — it’s so breathtaking and real and ordinary and tender and lovely. If you blink, you’ll miss it. Just like in real life. Another gem to enjoy with ages 5 and older that will speak at least as deeply to adults who read it.

What are your favorite books about rain?

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I love imported picture books. I’m drawn to them like a moth to a lantern.

from The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler

Stylistically they are often marked by a je ne sais quoi air, something artistically, something conceptually, that is clearly not American…but what is it? Like that elusive spice I can taste but not name, that quality of sound I can’t articulate that distinguishes one voice from another.

from The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy by Beatrice Alemagna

Sometimes I find picture book imports have a tone or idea that I’m unsure will resonate well with most American children. A vague resolution or melancholy quality that puts them just beyond the radar. Often, in these cases, the artwork is achingly gorgeous, the text subtle and thought-provoking. I wish I’d saved up those titles for a post full of picture books for adults because many of you would find them deeply satisfying. Alas, I plopped them back in the library return for you to find yourselves.

from Why Am I Here; illustration by Akin Duzakin

Today, though, I’ve got some lovely new imports to share with you. They may not work for kids who need superhero action and belly laughs. For more patient, curious listeners, check out these gems.

My Dog Mouse, written and illustrated by Eva Lindström
originally published in Sweden; English language edition published in 2017 by Gecko Press

This dear girl loves a dog named Mouse. Despite his old, slowpokey, waddlesome ways, she adores him. Loves taking him to the park for a picnic and a good sniff around. Loves tucking a couple of meatballs in her pocket for a mid-stroll treat.

What we readers don’t discover until the end of this gentle, ambling narrative, is that Mouse doesn’t belong to her. He’s the dog next door. “I wish Mouse were mine,” she tells us in the end. The last, wordless image makes me believe Mouse feels the same way about her.

Bittersweet and tender, a vulnerable peek inside a small person’s mind and heart. Ages 3 and up.

A Walk in the Forest, written and illustrated by Maria Dek
originally published in France; English edition published in 2017 by Princeton Architectural Press

This one hits all the right Orange Marmalade buttons with its lauding of free, inquisitive time spent out of doors, the quiet, unrushed elegance of the text, and the sumptuous color and line of the illustrations.

Maria Dek exactly captures the wonders of a forest ramble.

Magnificent and alluring for ages 2 to adult.

Professional Crocodile, a wordless book by Giovanna Zoboli and Mariachiara di Giorgio
originally published in Italy; first U.S. edition published by Chronicle Books in 2017

Gorgeous illustrations tell this imaginative story in panels and full-page spreads that’ll knock your socks off.

Enter a curious world populated by people and animals going about their daily affairs with nonchalance. Cheetahs ride the subway right along with every Tom, Dick, and Harry. No big deal.

One crocodile wakes to his alarm and begins the day. Teeth brushing. Tie choosing. Long commuting. We follow his every move. Where is he going? What is his profession? You will be most surprised, and along the way mesmerized by the brimful, colorful city he calls home. Fabulous fantasy for ages 3 and up.

The 5 Misfits, written and illustrated by Beatrice Alemagna
published originally in Italy; first U.S. edition published in 2017 by Frances Lincoln Books

Every time a new Beatrice Alemagna title becomes available to us in the States, I get a little shiver of pleasure. Her unique artistry and unusual storylines always make me wonder what’s about to unfold.

This time, it’s a tale of five frankly-weird misfits. One fellow has four gaping holes aerating his entire midsection. One is folded in half. One, resembling an overripe bean pod, dozes off mainly. Another goes about upside down. And the last, a guy big as a Macy’s parade balloon, purple-black like a licorice jelly bean — well, he is so odd he’s “a catastrophe.”

And yet, they all manage to live together, with a splash of good humor to boot. Until Mr. Perfect in all his pompous glory and flowing magenta locks comes to tell them what’s what, take them down a notch.

a page from the French edition

The misfits’ response to his brazen criticism will surprise you and very much cheer you. A marvelous paeon to imperfection and the grace to accept one another’s flaws. Illustrated in iconic Alemagna style. Adults will love it; try it with kids ages 5 and up and see where the conversation goes.

Mr. Benjamin’s Suitcase of Secrets, written and illustrated by Pei-Yu Chang
originally published in Switzerland; English edition published in 2017 by NorthSouth Books

Here we have a fictionalized account of Walter Benjamin, who attempted to flee Europe for the United States during WWII with one mysterious suitcase.

Benjamin was a philosopher, threatened by the Nazis in occupied France. Mrs. Fittko, a member of the resistance, offers to take him along with a small group she’s guiding out of France into Spain. A perilous trip. Nothing extraneous can be brought. But here comes Walter with his suitcase.

What on earth can be inside of it?

This account, like Walter Benjamin’s life, ends mysteriously. No one knows for certain what happened to Walter or what was in his suitcase. But you will be treated to a lot of conjecture about its contents, and you will indubitably have your own wild guesses! Brilliant artwork and restrained text give this remarkable story just the right tone. An afterword tells us more about the impressive work of Mrs. Fittko. Ages 4 and up.

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Today’s reviews are in the form of anacrostics! Tiny peeks into cool books.

All three of these strikingly-illustrated nonfiction reads are well-worth checking out for slightly older-than-usual picture book readers. 

The Egg, written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup
published in 2017 by Prestel

Heaps of


a few pages from the German edition

(recommended for ages 5 through adult)

The Strongest Man in the World: The Legend of Louis Cyr, written by Lucie Papineau, illustrated by Caroline Hamel, translated from the French by MaryChris Bradley
published in 2016 by Auzou

Talk about

Seventeen children.
Tiny Quebecois village.
Outdoor chores




Records by

(recommended for ages 5 and up)

The Quest for Z: The True Story of Explorer Percy Fawcett and a Lost City in the Amazon, written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
published in 2017 by Viking/Penguin

Trekking through

Quests for
Tales of

Rare degrees of


(recommended for ages 9 and older)

Hope you find your way to one or more of these brilliant nonfiction titles!

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