It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? was initiated by Sheila at Book Journey, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus – perfect for a children’s librarian like me. This weekly roundup is a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share recommended (or not so recommended….) titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.
Title: Red & Yellow’s Noisy Night
Author: Josh Selig Illustrator: Little Airplane Productions
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Publication Date: 2012
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Publisher’s Summary: “I believe that The Olive Branch can help make a real difference in our world.”–Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Red and Yellow live together in the branches of an olive tree–but these two friends are as different as can be, and sometimes have trouble co-existing peacefully. Red wants to play loudly on his strummy, while Yellow longs for sleep. This adorable bedtime story about tolerance and conflict resolution is based on an animated TV show that currently airs on over 100 channels around the world.
My Two Cents: I really didn’t expect to like this book. It’s an adaptation of a cartoon show that I’ve never heard of, and it’s all about “tolerance and conflict resolution”, which sounds either gag-inducing or snooze-worthy (I prefer picture books that impart their messages with a subtle hand, and don’t hit children over the head with overt morals).
I actually found this book downright adorable. The illustrations aren’t too slick or computer-generated, and actually have a bit of hand-drawn charm. Red and Yellow are utterly charming, and have a bit of an Elephant and Piggie, or even Laurel and Hardy vibe, with a zany little character (Red), and a larger, more deadpan character (Yellow). I’ll admit it, I found Red’s “strummy” too cute for words – from now on, I’ll be referring to my ukulele as a strummy.
The two characters come to a mutually-beneficial compromise in which Red gets to play his strummy, and Yellow gets to sleep. Despite the creators’ rather intense-sounding mission to “create original media that helps children around the world learn about conflict resolution and mutual respect, “Red & Yellow’s Noisy Night” is nowhere near as preachy or saccharine as I had feared it would be. Instead, it’s a simple, quite charming little story about two friends finding a way to get along.
Title: Those Magnificent Sheep in Their Flying Machines
Author: Peter Bently / Illustrator: David Roberts
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd.
Publication Date: 2014
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Publisher’s Summary: The sheep on the hillside were munching away, much as they always did, day after day, when suddenly something went ZOOM overhead! “Let’s go and see what it is!” they all said. And so begins a ripping, round-the-world adventure as the magnificent sheep take to skies in their spiffing, yellow flying machine…
My Two Cents: Love it!! This ridiculous picture book about a group of sheep who go on a joyride in an airplane is a joyous adventure with a distinctly British flavour. The title, setting and style of the illustrations are a cheeky take on the 1965 British comedy film Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines; Or, How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 Hours 11 Minutes.
The motley collection of sheep embark on an adventure around the world in their purloined plane, escaping all sorts of dangers, like hungry crocodiles and a mutton curry-loving Maharaja, before realizing that home is where they really want to be.
Some of the humour in this picture book will likely fly over the heads of most little readers (pun somewhat intended), but adults will likely have a chuckle, and the zaniness of the premise is likely to appeal to kids (there’s nothing quite like animals committing crimes – think Moo!)
Now, tell me, what have you been reading this week?