Well, it’s been a turbulent week with a lot of emotions, so today’s Stack Overflow is a bit like the picture book equivalent of comfort food: books that teach my kids to hope and to laugh and to dream.
I’ll admit, I’m not always a fan of Todd Parr’s unpolished drawing style, but I always appreciate his simple, heartfelt sentiments. This book encourages kids (and adults) to be themselves, whatever that means. Be proud of where you’re from, be young or old, be energetic or peaceful—just be the best you you can be.
Bob Shea’s artwork is always fun to look at, and this book is filled with happy things: dancing cake, hugs, rainbows … and a frog. Hmm. The book isn’t too happy with the frog, who seems to be bringing the whole thing down—but then discovers that chasing the frog away may not be the best solution. (GeekMom Kelly Knox has a bit more about the book here.) The takeaway: sometimes not everyone seems like they fit in our plans for a perfect world, but maybe they serve an important purpose and you shouldn’t just kick them out.
In this follow-up to the hilarious Mother Bruce, Bruce the bear returns home from the south with his four adopted geese children only to find that some mice have moved into his house and turned it into a hotel. Everywhere he turns, there are animals he didn’t invite, and trying to speak to the management only makes things worse. And finally, Bruce has had enough—how will he get his home back? The illustrations and humor in the book are wonderful, and Bruce is a lovable curmudgeon.
Speaking of curmudgeons, this grandmother just wants a quiet place to sit down and knit sweaters for her grandchildren before the winter arrives, but she just can’t get any peace—not at home, not in the forest, not even on the moon. But she finally does find a quiet place to sit and get things done, and is ready to return. I think this book just speaks to me because I appreciate the grandmother’s need for space and alone time, and sometimes I wish I had her hiding spot. Vera Brosgol’s artwork is delightful, and the story goes in some unexpectedly silly directions.
Five years ago, Jon Klassen introduced us to a bear who just wanted his hat back. And then, a year later, we met a small, hat-stealing fish who thought he would never get caught. Now, we meet two turtles who have found one hat. It looks good on both of them, but is it fair for one of them to have the hat? I really love Klassen’s artwork, and the way that the turtles can communicate so much with just their eyes—and the ending of this one is surprisingly good-natured, considering all the shenanigans in the first two books.
Disclosure: I received review copies of these books.