Review: The Bus Ride

The Bus Ride

Clara is excited to be taking the bus by herself for the very first time. Along the way to grandmother’s house she encounters a cast of interesting fellow passengers who turn a simple bus ride into a colourful adventure.

This picture book from Quebec author/illustrator Marianne Dubuc is simply stunning. The text itself is fairly simple and doesn’t really add all that much – in fact, the book would probably work just as well as a wordless picture book.

But the illustrations! I poured over each page, savoring tiny details on each spread, turning pages back and forth to catch each change and development. Dubuc’s colours are soft and muted, and the illustrations look as though they were drawn in pencil crayon, adding to their gentle charm.

This would be another fantastic picture book for using with a class –  the illustrations lend themselves beautifully to interpretation, and it would be delightful to see the different stories that children come up with to describe the images.

It’s always great to see exciting new picture books from Canadian authors and publishers, and I’m always thrilled to share more Canlit here on the blog!

Nonfiction Wednesday – January 20, 2016

 

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2016 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.

We’ve got another Canadian title on the blog this week!

catching

Title: It’s Catching – The Infectious World of Germs and Microbes
Author: Jennifer Gardy, PhD / Illustrator:  Josh Holinaty
Publisher: Owl Kids
Publication Date: 2014
Genre/Format: Nonfiction

My Two Cents: This week we’re upping the “so gross it’s awesome” factor with a book all about infectious diseases! It’s actually much more palatable than it might sound, thanks in no small part to Josh Holinaty’s cute illustrations and Dr. Jennifer Gardy’s humorous text. In It’s Catching, kids are introduced to the microscopic world of germs and microbes, learning a bit about the history and science of pathology and epidemiology, and getting up close and personal with several different diseases, from the common cold to the terrifying ebola virus.

germs

The book cleverly balances potentially frightening facts (“Measles is a big problem in the developing world, where it kills over 750,000 people every year”) with cartoon illustrations to create a text that is accurate and informative but still age-appropriate.

I also appreciate that the book starts with an introduction by the author, who happens to be a pretty cool woman. It’s always satisfying to be able to provide kids with real-world examples of women pursuing exciting, nontraditional careers, being successful, and challenging industry stereotypes (remember the “distractingly sexy” fiasco from a few months back?).

I do wish that the book included a bibliography or cited sources, both to give kids further sources for further research and to provide an example of properly cited work.

Still, that teeny-tiny critique aside, this Red Cedar Award-nominated ode to the weird and wonderful world of the microscopic makes for infectiously good reading.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday – December 9, 2015

nonfictionNonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2015 is a weekly celebration of imaginative children’s nonfiction materials hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.

rat

Title: The Rat
Author/Illustrator: Elise Gravel
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: 2014
Genre/Format: Nonfiction/Early Reader
Publisher’s SummaryOne in a series of humorous books about disgusting creatures, The Rat is a look at the black rat. It covers such topics as the rat’s long, agile tail (it’s good for balancing and picking noses), long teeth (they can chew through anything, including books) and disgusting taste in food (delicious electrical wires in tomato sauce, anyone?). Although silly and off-the-wall, The Rat contains real information that will tie in with curriculum.

My Two CentsI used Elise Gravel’s series Disgusting Critters with an Early Readers book club back in the summer, and it was a big hit! The children each picked a book from the series (which also includes such kid-pleasing titles as The Slug, The Fly, and The Worm) to read, and shared what they learned with the rest of the group.

This series works so well because it matches real biology with a zany sense of humour and wacky illustrations. The rat, a potentially frightening creature, becomes a cheeky little rascal, challenging any preconceived notions about this highly intelligent animal. Kids learn about the animal’s diet, anatomy, habitat, and behaviour in a way that doesn’t actually feel like learning (perfect for a summer program). The last thing an educational text should feel like is, well, an educational text! The entire series is kid-friendly from top to bottom, with a cute font that appears almost hand-written, and a balance of text and illustrations that makes each book an accessible nonfiction text for early readers. Highly recommended – and Canadian, too!

disgustingcritters

So, which nonfiction books have caught your eye this week?