Waiting

 

Title: Waiting
Author/Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
Published: HarperCollins, 2015

 

I fell like we spend a lot of our time waiting. I know that when I was a kid, it was always “wait until you’re such-and-such years old and you’ll be able to do that thing you want to do.” When I was a teenager, it was waiting to drive. Then waiting to finish school. Then, when I was an adult, waiting to have a career, to move out. Then waiting to meet someone. Then waiting to get married…have kids…fulfil your destiny and achieve your dreams and…yeah. A lot of waiting, really.

I guess the most important thing is to spend all that time with people you love, doing things you enjoy, living the best life you can while you wait. Because time is going to pass – it’s inevitable. But how we use it? Up to us.

Anyway, waiting!

That’s what the five friends (toys on a windowsill, to be specific) in Kevin Henkes’ Waiting are doing. They’re waiting for different things. The owl, for instance, is waiting for the moon. The pig is waiting for the rain (she has an umbrella, not to worry), the bear with the kite is waiting for the wind. The puppy with the sled is waiting for the snow…and the rabbit isn’t waiting for anything, really. He just enjoys gazing out the window.

As the book progresses, we see each of the friends get the thing they were waiting for – and they’re delighted.

We then follow the friends through their days. It’s a gentle journey through seasons and weather and exciting events. They even had a visitor who stayed a little while…and then sadly had to leave and never return (he seems to have shattered on the floor).

One day, a new friend comes to join them. She’s a cat who doesn’t seem to be waiting for anything at all…except…she’s a matryoshka doll! When all of the little cats inside of her burst out, the friend group is complete. The book ends with all ten friends  at the window, waiting happily together.

I love this book – I love the art in particular (so did the Caldecott Award selection committee – this one got an honour). The pictures are so simple, so sweet, so pastel-hued and relaxing. I wish I could draw 1/100th as well as Kevin Henkes, for real.

The story is more of a series of events than an actual ‘solving-a-problem’ kind of book. But it works – it all works so well together.

I wasn’t sure what Lily would think of the book. She’s a huge sucker for humour, and this one wasn’t really ‘funny,’ per say.

But…she loved it. I think the addition of the cat figure really helped to seal the deal (our Lily is a bit crazy for cats).

If you’re looking for a really calming, gentle bedtime book (and, honestly, who isn’t?), this is the story for you.

Mama’s Review: Kevin Henkes is just an honest-to-goodness genius, is all.

Lily’s Review: 5 matryoshka cats/5

 

Pig the Stinker

 

 

Title: Pig the Stinker
Author/Illustrator: Aaron Blabey
Published: Scholastic, 2019

 

Lily is a funny kid. She’s funny as in a little weird (like her mama), but she’s also got a great sense of humour for a four-year-old. One thing that totally appeals to her is gross-out humour…specifically, poop.

Yup. She’s that kid.

Vivi never was into that kind of thing/isn’t to this day. She finds gross things gross. (I completely agree. I think Lily takes after Karl.)

Lily’s love of grossness is why she’s a big fan of Pig the Pug.

We got Pig the Stinker from a Scholastic book order. I wasn’t familiar with Pig the character, but when I saw that it was written by Aaron Blabey, I knew we had to grab a copy of the book. We’re big Aaron Blabey fans in this house. (Thelma the Unicorn is our personal favourite, but Pig is a very close second.)

In this particular book, Pig the Pug’s personal hygiene is discussed in depth. He’s sorta, kinda, really disgusting. He doesn’t like taking baths/getting clean (much to the dismay of his long-suffering house-mate, Trevor the wiener dog). So Pig comes up with an ingenious plan: he avoids bath time by stopping up the bathtub with a small toy. Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t exactly have the effect he was looking for and…well…the bathroom explodes.

Three things Lily loves especially about this book:

  1. Pig is a total jerk. He crows and laughs at everyone when he stops up the pipe. He’s incorrigible!
  2. The bathroom explodes. That is hilarious in every situation except real-life. Real life bathroom explosions are never, ever funny.
  3. Trevor’s facial expressions. OK, so maybe that’s me. I really love Trevor and can completely sympathize with him. I love the droopy-snout expression he has on the very last page. We’ve all felt like that, Trevor. You’re not alone, my Dachshund friend.

Lily has asked for this book every single night for the past two weeks. So…she really enjoys it. We’ve ordered several more and are waiting with bated breath for the next few to arrive via the beloved Scholastic book order.

If you’ve got a kid who enjoys a bit of off-colour humour, you’re in luck! Pig will fit the bill perfectly.

Mama’s review: 5 Trevors/5

Lily’s review: “Pig is so gross…but so funny!”

More Bears!

 

Title: More Bears!
Author: Kenn Nesbitt
Illustrator: Troy Cummings
Published: Sourcebooks – jabberwocky, 2010

 

Lily and I were at the library today. We were supposed to pick up three books I’d put on hold. Simple, quick in-and-out kinda visit.

Long story short, we left with seventeen books.

Fourteen more than we had intended. But whatever! The extras were all from the children’s section and they’re all pretty darn terrific (okay, some more than others…but we’ll get to them all in good time). Today’s review is of a book I chose based purely on two things:

  1. The cover art.
  2. The fact that it’s about bears.

Yes, I literally judged this book’s worthiness by its cover. But I was right! It’s a good one!

If you’ve done any kind of reading of children’s stories, you know that bears are *pretty* popular characters. They’re funny and goofy and lumbering and just kind of fun to draw.

In this specific story, the author is just trying to write a book that includes exactly zero bears. None. Nada. Zilch. No bears required, thankyouverymuch.

And that seems to be a solid plan, except…some kids keep yelling “MORE BEARS!” over and over and, well, eventually the author caves and adds just one bear (give the audience what they want, right?).

But…the kids STILL want “MORE BEARS!” so the author adds one more. And then another…and another…and…well, a lot of bears, really.

The thing is, the bears get grumpy because the book is over-crowded. And that makes the author rather displeased. And what do authors do when they’re upset? Rewrite, peeps. Rewrite all night.

So, away go the bears! Ah, everything is perfect.

Until, of course, the kids decide that maybe the story just needs more chickens.

I read this book aloud to the entire family, so I have reviews from all four of us! Here’s what we thought:

Vivi: I really like the art. It’s colourful and fun to look at. Also, the story is hilarious. All books are better with the addition of bears!

Lily: I like the part where the kids yell “MORE CHICKENS!” at the end. Maybe that will be the next book the author writes!

Daddy: It’s kind of a one-joke book, but it’s done really well.

Mama: I like the fact that the author is a character in the book. The rewrite part was accurate. Also, bears. So many bears. Have I mentioned that I have a soft spot for bear books? This book is also a lot of fun to read aloud. Bonus points for that!

Read this book – it’s un-bear-ably funny! (Sorry, I had to.)

 

Overall grade: 5/5 bears…plus a couple of chickens for good luck.

 

September was…insanely busy.

Hello, blog readers! I have been a bit absent lately…but I have three good reasons.

  1. The kids went back to school. You’d think that would mean MORE time to write, but not exactly. It’s a bit dicey at the beginning of the year, what with all the forms and books and stuff to keep track of.

Oh, and the constant, non-stop sickness. That too.

  1. Lily was just diagnosed with celiac disease. We were worried about her tummy earlier this summer, and I had a VERY strong suspicion as to what was going on, but a blood test confirmed it. Trying to completely revamp the way we eat/eliminate AP flour (my beloved baking flour) and learning a totally new diet has been…challenging. One of the hardest things is the fact that I have a ton of allergies myself, most of which are fatal (we’re talking nuts, seeds, seafood…honey…stuff like that). So finding substitutions for Lily that are also not deadly for me has been a bit of work.
  2. I’m working on a few new stories/writing some scripts (those ones are for actual money!) and trying to figure out how the heck I’m going to write a graphic novel, seeing as I can’t draw half-decently.

BUT!

All that said, I’m going to get back to reviewing amazing kidlit ASAP. I’m dedicating two days a week to kid lit blogging, so please stay tuned. I have an extensive list of books I’m going to borrow from the library and they look pretty darn awesome.

Soooo…I shall see you very soon, dear reader. 🙂