If I could have, I would have given the art in this book 5 stars. It is beautifully drawn, with the judicious use of bright colors complimenting the pIf I could have, I would have given the art in this book 5 stars. It is beautifully drawn, with the judicious use of bright colors complimenting the predominant grays and blacks. The art definitely serves the stories well, but, because I felt the writing didn't live up to the art, I'm only giving this book 3 stars. Many of the stories set up a creepy premise, but the resolutions, for the most part, are somewhat disappointing. It's still an enjoyable read though. In my opinion, the last two stories are the most satisfying. The final story, "The Nesting Place," is especially unsettling and disturbing. If you enjoy graphic novels filled with dark tales of monsters, ghosts and the supernatural, I'm sure you'll enjoy this book....more
I loved Chris Raschka's Caldecott Award winning, "A Ball for Daisy," so I was really looking forward to "Give and Take," his latest picture book. UnfoI loved Chris Raschka's Caldecott Award winning, "A Ball for Daisy," so I was really looking forward to "Give and Take," his latest picture book. Unfortunately, as far as the illustrations go, I have to admit I was disappointed. The design of the farmer, as well as the other characters, is so abstract and expressionistic in style, that at first glance it can be hard to make out what the characters are doing. In some of the illustrations, the characters are shoved to the margins and you have to hunt to find them amongst all of the dark line work. There are thick black, painterly outlines around most everything and the color palette Raschka has chosen is so muted and limited, that the illustrations come across as somewhat muddy. Rascha's expressionistic and painterly style worked in "A Ball for Daisy," where brighter colors were used and where each illustration had more room. Here the text takes up a lot of space, making each page look crowded and messy.
The story itself is a lesson in collaboration. A farmer and his dog meet two mischievous little elves, one named Give and the other Take. In turn, each little man promises the farmer that his life will be better if he would only listen to his advice. When the farmer follows their advice separately, it only leads to disappointment. It's not until he puts their advice together as Give AND Take, that things turn out happily. Raschka is a talented author/illustrator but I'm not sure how much appeal this book will have to the target audience of small children, due to the strange illustration style. ...more
Okay, I have to get this out front - I really dislike clowns. I’ve always found them creepy and not a bit funny. But with this sweet and touching pictOkay, I have to get this out front - I really dislike clowns. I’ve always found them creepy and not a bit funny. But with this sweet and touching picture book, author/illustrator Marla Frazee has just but a small dent in my opinion of clowns. The little clown in her wordless picture book, who gets separated from his family when he falls off of their circus train, is probably the cutest clown ever. His simple makeup consists of a plain white face, a relatively small red nose and a painted-on smile. When he’s found and taken home by a stern-looking farmer and washes off his make-up, we see underneath a worried and sad expression - the look of a lost child.
This book is all about finding a home, learning to feel at home, and the very essence of what home is. It could just as easily be the story of a refugee taken in by strangers, or about the adoption of a child. However you want to look at it, it’s a sweet and charming book. Considering that this is a wordless book, the author does a wonderful job of developing her characters. The farmer starts off seeming very stern and no-nonsense. Just from the expressions the author/illustrator has given him, we can see he is completely perplexed by this strange little person in a clown suit. But after the little clown washes off his make-up, we see from the farmer's facial expression that he is concerned about this lost child who he has brought into his home. Over the course of just a few pages, we see the farmer, while trying to make the sad child smile, loosen up and develop an affectionate bond with this little person. Along the way, each of the characters learns something new from the other. The farmer teaches the little clown how to milk a cow, while the little clown teaches the farmer how to juggle eggs. The farmer appears to be learning that all work and no play can make for a very dull existence. Marla Frazee conveys so much feeling and understanding in her illustrations with just changes in the body language of her characters and their facial expressions. This book is a great example of how to tell a complex story with no accompanying text.
I love how Frazee has used a limited color palette for her delightful illustrations. The farmer seems to exist in a world of soft sepia browns and charcoal grays. The little clown, dressed in reds and yellows brings color into the farmer’s drab existence. The clown’s suit really pops against the monochromatic backgrounds. More color is brought into the story when the circus train returns, bringing greens, blues, soft purples and oranges into the palette. At the end of this story, I had the feeling that the farmer had been changed forever by the little stranger who briefly became part of his life. And of course, without giving away the ending, the last illustration shows that the farmer’s adventures may not be quite over.
This book brought a smile to my face (the first time any clown has ever done that!) and I found it sweet and touching. I highly recommend this one!...more
The narrator of this funny and fast-paced story is six-year-old Dory (appropriately nicknamed Rascal) who has an active imagination and fills her daysThe narrator of this funny and fast-paced story is six-year-old Dory (appropriately nicknamed Rascal) who has an active imagination and fills her days attempting to get her older siblings to play with her, conspiring with her imaginary monster friends, and trying to figure out ways to vanquish the child-snatching Mrs Gobble Gracker (an imaginary being her older siblings invent to try and scare Dory into being good). This is a cute book and author/illustrator Abby Hanlon successfully gives the reader a glimpse into the mind of a 6-year-old, reminding us of what it was like when fantasy and reality were intertwined and play was an integral part of our lives. With its profuse black and white illustrations, the book at times reads like a graphic novel and in fact many of the charming drawings have integrated dialogue bubbles. The illustrations, by the way, are delightful, filled with expression, action and funny details. This is a fast read and one that I think will delight young children and anyone who wants to relive those special years of childhood when playtime was ruled by imagination....more
This slim graphic novel might serve as an introduction to the work of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas but it is really too short to do jThis slim graphic novel might serve as an introduction to the work of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas but it is really too short to do justice to the ground-breaking work these women accomplished. The book’s subtitle is “The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas,” but the book isn’t so much about the science as it is about the roads they took and the battles they fought to do their studies. On another note, I wasn’t crazy about the art. The human characters are drawn on the level of a cheap Saturday morning cartoon and the primates aren't much better. I especially didn’t like how the orangutans were drawn. In my opinion, there should have been more texture and coloration in their faces. I was also surprised how the author basically skipped over the fact that Dian Fossey was murdered. Although I don’t think her killing has ever been solved, it is believed by some that poachers were responsible for the crime. The author basically states that she made some enemies, her life was a tragedy and then shows a picture of her tombstone with no indication of how she died. I know that this book is geared for kids, but the fact that they included some rather blatant hints about Louis Leakey’s marital infidelities, makes me wonder why they couldn’t be more honest about Fossey’s death. Anyway, this book is a fast read, and it is interesting and entertaining, but if you want any kind of depth about these three remarkable women, I would suggest looking elsewhere....more
The oversize, horizontal format and the amazing illustrations by author/illustrator Beatrice Alemagna make this picture book a fun read. With a minimuThe oversize, horizontal format and the amazing illustrations by author/illustrator Beatrice Alemagna make this picture book a fun read. With a minimum of text, Alemagna tells the story of a lonely lion, feeling isolated in the big city of Paris and how he discovers a place where he belongs and feels at home. Without being preachy, Beatrice Alemagna subtly demonstrates how a smile can cut through the fears of a lonely heart. The stunning, slightly retro style illustrations, which appear to be mixtures of collaged elements along with pen and ink and colored pencil, will surely have readers returning to this book over and over to savor their visual delights....more
This beautifully written novel that follows a handful of characters just before, but mostly after, a global flu pandemic wipes out 99% of the world'sThis beautifully written novel that follows a handful of characters just before, but mostly after, a global flu pandemic wipes out 99% of the world's population will have you pondering on the fragility of our civilization. As I read this book I began thinking of all of the things in my life, like CDs and DVDs, that would be rendered useless in a world without electricity. But it also made me think about my relationships with other people, the importance of art and culture and the beauty of the natural world. This is one of those amazing books where a mere summary of its plot can never do it justice. ...more