Thursday, March 21, 2013


BLACK RABBIT by Philippa Leathers (Candlewick)

A little rabbit feels accosted by the sudden presence of an oversized, looming black nemesis who seems to follow him wherever he goes.  Is it friend or foe? When rabbit hides in the dark forest where a hungry wolf lives, he gets a most safe and satisfying answer.The last picture of the little hero hand-in-hand with his own shadow is a heart-melter.

Besides being a terrific and unexpected primary science tie-in, the illustrations capture all the vulnerability and good humor of the vintage RABBIT AND SKUNK series by Carla's been a long wait for something that good, but worth it. 

Also of interest, from the PlanetEsme archives:

BIG BAD BUNNY by Franny Billingsley, illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Atheneum) Baby Boo-Boo is clearly misunderstood. This is not a little mousie baby. Oh nooooo. She is a scratchity-clawed, pointy-toothed, growling, stomping, chomping roaring bunny! GRRRR! STOMP! ROAR! But when this Big Bad Bunny takes a wrong turn and gets lost, will she appreciate the coddling efforts of a well-meaning mommy? With the culminating intensity of Jez Alborough's WATCH OUT! BIG BRO'S COMING!, this book mounts to a satisfying conclusion. Children will certainly identify with Big Bad Bunny's desire to get her "props," and having a little girl be so loud and grouchy was refreshing (in a book, anyway). Super cute illustrations are perfect for spring storytimes; share by alternating your little sweetie squeaky voice with your growly-howly monster voice for best effect, and you'll find that your meekest mice will hop right on the bunny bandwagon. (4 and up)

Links are provided for informational use.  Don't forget to
support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at

Sunday, March 17, 2013


JEMMY BUTTON by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali (Templar)

The true story of a boy from Tierra del Fuego transported to Victorian England for a price of a mother-of-pearl button, in the colonialist hopes that he could be "civilized" and return to his own land to spread this influence. It didn't work. What does work is the artwork, making this title among The Most Beautiful Books in the Whole Wide World, truly, cover-your-mouth-and-gasp beauty, the likes of which I don't think has been seen since The Provensons. The jungle! The sea! The cold, concrete cityscape!

With minimal text and maximum punch, double-page spreads with Europeans represented as faceless silhouettes to represent the disconnection plucks a deep chord about belonging, and what it really means to be civilized.  Are some cultures "better" than others, or does each have something unique to offer?  What an important conversation to have with children now.   Some books make you think of the awards they will win, and other books have already won by existing. A must-have. (6 and up) 

Links are provided for informational use.  Don't forget to
support your local bookseller.
More Esmé stuff at


Related Posts with Thumbnails