Sunday, November 05, 2006

Not My Regular Sections

Vögelein: Clockwork Faerie, by Jane Irwin with Jeff Berndt. I found this and also the next listed book in the Young Adult section of library, under Graphic Novels. This is my first experience with Graphic Novels, and these two are very different, so it's probably a good start. Vögelein is dawn darkly, with lots of black, shading, and a few creepily drawn characters, although the story is not necessarily dark. It's not exactly happy, but it isn't scary or depressing, either.
All of the characters speak either in a dialect, reflected by how their lines are spelled, or there are lots of dashes and ellipses where they stutter and break off. It certainly isn't the best model for young readers, but reading anything is better than reading nothing at all.

Sandwalk Adventures, by Jay Hosler. The characters in this story were drawn much more cartoonish than in Vögelein. This was bizarre in that the story is of Charles Darwin trying to explain his life's work to a mite that lives on one of his hair follicles. It is an interesting teaching approach, at least; instead of a boring historical recounting or list of facts and dates, readers can easily identify with the characters who, even if cartoon-y, are more real than textbooks tend to make them.

How Are You Peeling?: Foods with Moods, by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers. I decided to take a better look at the picture book section at the library; the only books I remember being read were Panda Cake (which is awesome) and a few Dr. Seuss books. I passed over such favorites as Everybody Poops and anything with an animal sound in the name. The pictures in How Are You Peeling? are awesome: they were made entirely with vegetables and an exacto knife. It's a fun book to look at, but it is also good to read to children, because it lists various emotions and with which emotions one might react to a variety of situations.

The Tale of Custard the Dragon, by Ogden Nash; illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. The back cover says the child is supposed to learn about bravery from Custard the Dragon, and that may or may not happen. The pictures weren't anything special. I liked the rhymes.

D is for Dragon Dance, by Ying Change Compestine; illustrated by Yongsheng Xuan. This lists an item or action for each letter of the alphabet; the items are all related to the Chinese New Year, which is new, interesting, and informative. The drawings are good, with alot of detail and background activity. There was one inconsistency: after some [letter] is for [item], there are sentences explaining the item's use; however, it is not after every letter or in any pattern (after every other letter, for example). Regular use of these little explanations would have added more continuity to the story; as it is, they feel inserted, like an afterthought, instead of necessarily belonging there.

What About Me?, by Ed Young. I picked this one because the pictures all look like they are made from cut outs of a wall paper catalogue or some such. How much do kids learn from picture books? This one is fun to look at.

Nouns and Verbs have a Field Day, by Robin Pulver; illustrated by Lynn Row Reed. It seems to me that children old enough to be learning about parts of speech and sentence construction are too old for picture books. The pictures are painted like a child's artwork, with random colors and incorrect proportions.

Mom and Dad are Palindromes: A Dilemma for Words... and Backwards, by Mark Shulman and Adam McCauley. Again, anyone old enough to be learaning about this kind of thing is probablyold enough for chapter books. There was nothing remarkable about this book or its artwork. I am disappointed.

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