Review 1349: I Took the Moon for a Walk

Cover for I Took the Moon for a WalkI Took the Moon for a Walk is an adorable book with beautiful, retro illustrations for preschool children or early readers. A little boy takes the moon for a walk, helping it over church spires and so on, until it is time for bed.

I bought this book for my great nephew, because I was struck by the gorgeous illustrations, but the text is nice as well. A lovely book.

The last couple of pages, after the story is finished, include information about the moon, what it’s made of and its phases, and about animals that are out at night.

picture from the book
The moon got scared . . .

Day 1157: This Is a Poem That Heals Fish

Cover for This Is a Poem That Heals FishI read about This Is a Poem That Heals Fish on Brain Pickings and had to have it for my great nephew. It was difficult to find a copy (but no longer is).

Lolo at the bicycle shop

The book has a simple story. Arthur’s fish Leon is bored almost to death. When Arthur asks his mother what to do, she says, “Hurry, give him a poem!”

So, Arthur spends the rest of the book trying to find out what a poem is, getting advice from various people and animals in the neighborhood. For example, Lolo at the bicycle shop says “A poem, Arthur, is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth.” From everyone’s comments, Arthur makes his own poem at the end of the book.

This is a lovely book, with beautiful, modern illustrations and ideas that make you ponder. Although I am giving it to a four-year-old, I think it could be appreciated by any age.

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Day 847: Two Picture Books

Cover for Dinosaur BobI went book crazy a couple months ago. In addition to three board books, which I reviewed a few weeks ago, I bought my great-nephew two picture books. (He got them for his birthday.)

Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo by William Joyce

If you’ve been reading my reviews of children’s books, you’ll know I’m a fan of William Joyce, not so much for his famous franchise (Guardians of the Galaxy) but for his books for younger kids. But I haven’t read Dinosaur Bob. After the enthusiastic recommendation of my friend Caroline, I had to try him.

dinosaur-bobThis book is about an adventuresome family who meet Bob on their travels and bring him home. All is well until Bob runs afoul of the mayor’s wife, Mrs. DeGlumly.

The book is beautifully illustrated in a colorful 50’s style. The pictures are absolutely striking. The plot is simple but fun. I’m sure my nephew will love Dinosaur Bob.

Cover for The Full Moon at the Napping HouseThe Full Moon at the Napping House by Audrey and Don Wood

Well, I ask you? Who can resist buying a book named The Full Moon at the Napping House? This book is written like The House That Jack Built, starting with a short phrase and adding on to it and repeating. It’s about a boy, a grandmother, a cat, a dog, and none of them can go to sleep.

The pictures are lovely and funny. This is another beautiful picture book with its own distinct style of illustration.

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Day 510: Red Knit Cap Girl

Cover for Red Knit Cap GirlRed Knit Cap Girl is interested in all the plants and animals in the forest. But she is most interested in getting to know the moon.

She asks her animal friends how she can get close enough to talk to the moon. Apparently, Mr. Owl knows. Accompanied by her friend White Bunny, Red Knit Cap Girl goes to visit Mr. Owl and find out how to talk to the moon.

The illustrations for this picture book are simple and cute. The background makes them look as though they are drawn on wood.

Small children will probably enjoy this simple story. Perhaps it is not as interesting for their parents, but it is a nice, gentle tale.

picture from book
Trying to reach the moon

Day 500: Little Bird

Cover for Little BirdLittle Bird is a simple picture book about small things. A man drives a big red truck up to the edge of a cliff and lets out a flock of brightly colored birds.

“Some days are different,” the book tells us, and the man finds one small black bird still in the truck. He tries to get the little bird to fly away with the others.

The illustrations by Albertine are simply drawn and brilliantly colored. They are a joy to look at.

illustration from Little Bird
Getting the bird to fly

The text is sparse, perhaps less than 50 words in the entire book. “There are no greater treasures than the little things,” it says.

This book is a gem for small children, who will love the pictures and the charming story. Adults will enjoy reading it to them.

Day 443: The Mischievians

Cover for The MischieviansThe Mischievians is a charming little book. It doesn’t have much of a plot but is entertaining nonetheless.

Two children send up a balloon asking for help. Their homework keeps disappearing, so they are in trouble with their parents. Next, a hole opens up in the earth and they fall through into the laboratory of Dr. Zooper, who tells them all about the little monsters lurking in their house.

What do the monsters do? Steal just one sock, hide the remote control, create belly button lint, and of course steal homework, among other serious crimes.

The book is breezily written with just a bit of gross humor that kids like.

Picture from the book
Sending up a message for help

As usual with Joyce, the illustrations are beautiful. The pictures featuring the children are charmingly retro, and the little monsters are cheerfully grotesque. Letters in the text are occasionally tweaked out of place by a mysterious hand. The cover is designed to look like an old, worn out book.

This book is for a little older kids than The Leaf Men, probably suitable for six- to eight-year-olds, although smaller kids will enjoy it, too.

Day 427: The Leaf Men

Cover for The Leaf MenEven when I was a small child, I looked for beautiful pictures in children’s books (or bunnies–bunnies were good, especially fluffy ones). I had some books that had belonged to my mother, and I used to spend hours looking at Arthur Rackham’s illustrations of fairies and twisted trees full of goblins. As a young adult, I collected children’s books that combined good stories with illustrations by artists such as Rackham, Kay Nielsen, or Mercer Mayer.

A few weeks ago I saw a feature on William Joyce and decided to buy some of his books for my young nieces and nephews. The first one that arrived was The Leaf Men, which I had to order used in hardcover, as it is older. It is written for a young child and is a simple story about the brave bugs who climb to the top of a tree to summon the leaf men in an attempt to save a dying garden and an old woman. (I have seen some editions of this book called just The Leaf Men but the one I purchased was called The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs.)

The pictures are beautifully retro, with a 30’s or 40’s appearance. One of the things that attracted me to the book was the huge man in the moon on the cover, which was one of my favorite childhood images.

Good Bugs
The Brave Good Bugs

This is a lovely book. I think it is readily available new in paperback, but it is easy to find good used copies of the hardcover edition online. (I always think paperbacks are going to be totally destroyed, so I prefer to buy hardcover children’s books.)

People who have older kids are probably familiar with Joyce’s work, perhaps through the Guardians of Childhood series (several of which I have also bought for my older nephew). An animated movie called Rise of the Guardians was made from this series in 2012.