Have you ever wondered how an artistic collaboration works? This is a picture book that lets you in on some of the secrets. Claymation figures of writer Mac and illustrator Adam work together on the story of Chloe – a spunky cartoon figure on a 3-D stage. But when there is a disagreement – Mac wants a lion, Adam thinks a dragon is cooler – the focus shifts from Chloe to the creators and it all goes wrong, until finally Chloe intervenes and saves the day. Packed full of jokes, some of which may go over the heads of young readers, this is a delightful and smart reflection on the creative process.
Cock-a-doodle-doo, Creak, Pop-pop, Moo (2012) by Jim Aylesworth; illustrated by Brad Sneed.
The best readalouds often have a joining in element, and this one lets kids get in the thick of it for some noisy fun. Inspired by Jim Aylesworth’s family farm, it’s full of retro charm and nostalgia for the days when farming was not done on an industrial scale. As the large family goes through its day, from the rooster crowing to the owl hooting, the simple rhyming text is chock full of sounds to join in with. As well as the animals making their expected noises, breezes swish, the rocking chair creaks and cowbells dink. Nothing unexpected or surprising happens, but younger readers (or listeners) will find great pleasure in its familiarity and rhythms.
Here Come the Girl Scouts! (2012) by Shana Corey; illustrated by Hadley Hooper
Girls of today would find it unthinkable if they were expected to be “dainty and delicate”! Now they are free to have as much adventure and excitement as boys and thanks for that, in part, should go to Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low who founded the Girl Scouts. This inspiring picture book biography shows how Daisy found her purpose in life, when, 100 years ago, she decided to take the ideas of the British Girl Guides and start a troop in Savannah. With quotes from the original Girl Scout handbook and lots of jolly illustrations, this is a great girl power book.
Green (2012) by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
How many glorious shades of green are there? Seeger explores this question with gorgeous illustrations with thickly textured oil paint on canvas inviting you to stroke them. And when you do, you’ll find the cleverly concealed cutouts: The caterpillar on one page which becomes a picture hook on the next, the leaves on one page which become fish overleaf. The simple rhyming text, leading up to a final stanza “All green, never green, no green, forever green” can be taken at face value or interpreted with a 2lst century understanding of the word ‘green’. This wonderful combination of thought-provoking words and tactile paintings is what the best picture books are all about.
Seeing Symmetry (2012) by Loreen Leedy
I thought I knew about symmetry and then I read this book – turns out there’s a lot more to it than I thought! Carefully chosen, age-appropriate pictures help explain the different ideas from line symmetry to rotational symmetry. Brief text accompanies these illustrations giving more information, and for those who get really into the topic there are some further notes at the end. There’s even instructions for making a ‘symme-tree’. A fun and lively introduction to a key math and science concept.