Wild One by Jane Whittingham; illustrated by Noel Tuazon

Wild One by Jane Whittingham and illustrated by Noel Tuazon is just adorable.

See exhibit A:

Exhibit A

See also (exhibit B) the plot, as aptly described on the back cover:

This wild one can stretch like a cat, hang like a bat, and hop like a hare. At the end of a long day she’ll even snuggle like a bear in her cozy bed.

Which is, pretty much, it: a young girl plays at the park, imaginatively becoming a series of animals according to her activity. This imaginative engagement continues as her mum leads her home, through dinner and evening games all the way until her parents tuck her into bed.

And it’s in RHYME.

Rhyming stories are notoriously difficult to pull off well without seeming forced; most publishers won’t touch them. Here, they flow – and still manage to surprise.

Part of Wild One‘s ability to surprise, even for older readers who know that a) there’s an animal coming up, and b) it’s going to rhyme and fit within the line’s rhythm, is the clever use of page turns. On the right-hand page is the first line, which establishes what the girl is doing …

Exhibit C

… and the reader must turn the page to read the next line, which shows who (or what) our protagonist is being at that moment.

Exhibit D

It’s a structural device which serves the narrative well. Also, have you ever seen a cuter eel? Actually, have you ever seen an eel at all in a picturebook? (I like this eel.)

Whittingham’s smooth rhyme and consistent rhythm are beautifully matched with the illustrations. Tuazon catches the expressions of a child on adventure just so, and his animals make this reader smile with every page. (That whale!) The watercolours brighten the page while suggesting the blending of everyday and imagination – watercolours, like Let’s Pretend and other imaginative games, never truly stay within the lines.

The endpages are gorgeous.

Full disclosure: the author is a good friend; in fact, she’s our own Book Warrior and librarian extraordinaire Jane.

(Congratulations, Jane!)

Everybody has a favorite color. Some like blue balloons or brown buildings or mint green ice cream cones. Others prefer sunshine yellow, Maine morning gray, or Mexican pink. In this book, fifteen beloved children’s book artists draw their favorite colors and explain why they love them. This personal collection will undoubtedly inspire readers to create […]

The Legend of Lightning and Thunder by Paula Ikuutaq; illustrated by Jo Rioux

The Legend of Lightning and Thunder by Paula Ikuutaq; illustrated by Jo Rioux

Paula Ikuutaq’s retelling of the Inuit Legend of Lightning and Thunder opens with a celebration. It is spring, and Inuit people gather together in camps to sing, to dance, and to feast: to share their happiness with each other. Two orphaned siblings, however, are not so happy. A girl and her younger brother have traveled a long […]