In my first column for this blog, I posted my Best of 2012 picks. This time around, I have three picture books to talk about, ones that I have recently enjoyed:
I just read A IS FOR MUSK OX, written by Erin Cabatingan, illustrated by Matthew Myers. This book had the distinct disadvantage of being released just a few months after Z is for Moose, written by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. Extremely similar in content, each of these stories features a pushy animal (musk ox/moose) who wants to take over his alphabet book. Each of the stories even manages to feature a long suffering zebra! A is for Musk Ox is very funny, and should be a big hit to read aloud. Talk about bad timing, though--Z is for Moose is not an easy act to follow.
I also enjoyed HOUSE HELD UP BY TREES, by poet Ted Kooser, illustrated by Jon Klassen. This book was recently named a NY Times Best Illustrated Book of the year. It's got the feel of Virginia Lee Burton's Caldecott-winning The Little House, (as well as that of the award-winning animated film by Frederic Bach, Crac!) but the ending is more magical and surreal.
Another NY Times Best Illustrated Children's Book is STEPHEN AND THE BEETLE, written by Jorge Lujan, illustrated by Chiara Career. It's very stylized and not a traditional look for a children's book published in the US, but it's gorgeous and thought-provoking.