I am starting to see a pattern... when we find a book that we like... we like other books from that author! Go figure. This is my ode to Author/Illustrator, Keith Baker.
Mr. Baker wrote and illustrated, Little Green, about a hummingbird flitting among the flowers of a young man's yard. Some books that rhyme are babyish, and lack longevity once the child is beyond babbling. Some use words that are too plain, so they are boring. Some have one or two lines where the rhyme is awkward, and it spoils it.
It is a magical thing to read a rhythmical, rhyming picture book that is SWEET! Little Green is just such a book. The delicate and joyful way a humming bird moves between flowers and stops to take in its viewer is perfectly captured.
At times, the action and personality of animals in picture books have nothing to do with the actual animal, but rather the animal was randomly chosen for cuteness to tell the story. Little Green is true to hummingbirds, without being "educational". The reader delights in following the hummingbird, just as in real life when you catch sight of one. The hummingbird isn't personified, but rather it has plenty of 'personality' just being itself. I think this is a must have for little ones or adults who love hummingbirds!
Mr. Baker also wrote and illustrated Just How Long Can a Long String Be? I thought a book about a long string would be a bit abstract for Anderson, but alas, he keeps asking to read it.
I've noticed that I often find picture book illustrations to be 'too much' - with too much action, or the art work is too abstract, or the colors are harsh. In this book, his colors are beautiful, and there is just enough to look at so that you can shift your focus on the different readings. Anderson enjoys finding the little ant on each page. Again, this book rhymes, but it doesn't feel like the author is trying too hard for the rhyme.
We're working on being creative with simple toys - such as buckeyes and sticks lately. This book is about one of the simplest objects, a string - playfully reviewing its many uses. Again, string, bird, nor ant are personified, and the book succeeds in being sweetly entertaining.
And I just love his illustrations...