Wednesday, May 15, 2013

That Is NOT a Good Idea!

Taking his inspiration from the silent film era, Mo Willems has crafted another winner. His latest picture book is set up to resemble a silent movie with the wolf cast in the role of villain. Playing the leading lady--make that leading bird--is a seemingly sweet, trusting goose. Spread by spread, the wolf tempts her nearer and nearer to his home in the woods. The journey is interrupted at regular intervals by a chorus of goslings who warn at increasingly higher and higher decibels that their hookup is not a good idea. But whom exactly are they warning?

As always, Willems knows how to pace a suspenseful tale, and his bold illustrations, especially those which highlight his character's expressive faces, add to the unfolding drama. Young readers might be savvy enough to see the twist that lies ahead--but this mature reader certainty didn't!

That Is NOT a Good Idea!
by Mo Willems
Balzer + Bray 48 pages
Published: May 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Books for Bike Month

National Bike Month is upon us! So if you haven't already, hop on a pair of wheels and go for a spin--and don't forget to bring the kids. When you're finished, rest your saddle-sore rear in a comfy chair and share some of the following books with the training-wheels set.

Chris Raschke's latest picture book breaks down the steps involved in mastering how to ride a bike. The young girl starts with training wheels, then raises them a "smidge" and finally they're off completely. A few spills and a lot of tries later and she's a bona fide rider. Yay!
Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bike
by Chris Raschke
Schwartz & Wade, 32 pages
Published: 2013

A boy takes his new bike to his friend's house, where it disappears. The mystery is soon solved with no hard feelings. Although skimpy on story, the appealing illustrations make this picture book.
New Red Bike!
by James E. Ransome
Holiday House, 32 pages
Published: 2011

When Sally Jean outgrows Flash, her bicycle, her family can't afford to buy her another right away. Ever resourceful, Sally Jean repairs the bike and eventually builds herself a new one from spare parts. And her beloved Flash is gifted to another rider who's outgrown his bike. A happy ending for all!
Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen
by Cari Best
illustrations by Christine Davenier
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 32 pages
Published: 2010

Visually stunning, this deceptively simple picture book features a cyclist as he pedals through town and country along a long road. Viva uses simple text and just five colors to create this contemporary masterpiece.
Along a Long Road
by Frank Viva
Little, Brown, 40 pages
Published: 2011

And if you would like more choices, check out my previous post, Animals Riding Bikes. Happy pedaling and happy reading!

UPDATE: Sunday's New York Times featured picture books about bikes (copy cats!). Here's the link.