Picture books are an obsession I’ve been indulging for well over a decade before I became a grandma. For the past five years I just have a more socially acceptable explanation for those lacking the imagination to share my delight. Jennie’s is, of course, a great place to indulge…
The Odd Egg, (written & illustrated by Emily Gravett) is a droll retake of the ugly ducking story that ditches the beauty myth and retains the attachment theme. Somebody on the back cover thought it was a good book for the two-year-old crowd, I would revise that up to “all ages”.
Staying with the egg motif, On My Way to Buy Eggs (written & illustrated by Chih-Yuan Chen) tells a simple tale of a young girl’s errand to the store. Reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats’ classic Whistle for Willie, it enchantingly portrays her urban neighbourhood.
Although a city landscape is not as difficult to find for the preschooler crowd as it was 30 years ago, it is a refreshing relief from the overdone grandma and grandpa’s farm scene. A bonus feature is that she’s going on the errand for her father who then cooks the eggs. A plus for urban agriculture is that there are chickens (seemingly free-range!) on the street on her way home.
Set in South Africa, Gift of the Sun, (written Dianne Stewart, illustrated Jude Daly) is a classic rural trading tale where each trade by the hapless husband results in a new disaster. Unlike many folktales of the genre however, the marital conflict is resolved in mutual good humour. The lovely spare illustrations nonetheless give a wealth of delightful detail of the African setting.
More picture books another time.