I bet that you and your children are looking forward to another change in season. Warmer temperatures dispel viruses and lure us outdoors for more sunshine and fresh air! But until that time is here for good, consider this marvelous set of picture books by Rotraut Susanne Berner. The All Around Bustletown oversized board books take you through all four seasons – winter, spring, summer and fall – and let you follow recurring characters as they move about the city and countryside.
If your children like hidden pictures, Richard Scarry or Where’s Waldo?, this series is certain to please. I handed them out to my elementary-age children and watched them eagerly jump inside the busy world of Bustletown, seeking out their favorite characters and asking “What’s the blonde-haired lady doing on this page?” or “Where will the three nuns go next?”
They are fun to enjoy alone, or in a group. And the wordless pages will encourage even the youngest children to get lost in the artwork and engrossed in the lives of Busytown’s citizens. Vibrant colors, detailed cross-sections and people and animals of every size and stripe make for a wonderful literary experience.
Since this book is all about the details, my children quickly showed me a couple of things that piqued their curiosity, and that I would have preferred were left out, like the lady in bra and underwear peaking out from behind a dressing room curtain, or the visible cleavage displayed on many women throughout the books.
That’s really the only “critique” of the books, which really are delightful and colorful and have provided hours of enjoyment for my children, who’ve been inside a lot more lately (like millions of other American children). Each is 14 pages long and can be purchased on Amazon for less than $15.
That’s Good, That’s Bad by Joan M. Lexau, with newly created illustrations by the iconic Aliki, is a vintage children’s classic from the 60’s which employs the power of storytelling in true Scheherazade fashion. This time, the hero is a young boy who weaves an exciting tale to captivate the tiger who wishes to gobble him up.
Boy and Tiger embark on a back-and-forth story that’s really fun to read aloud.
“Rhino came back looking for me,” said Boy. “Oh, was he mad!”
“That’s bad,” said Tiger.
“I got down and picked up a stone and threw it at Rhino,” said Boy.
“Good,” said Tiger. “Good for you.”
“It didn’t hit him,” said Boy.
“That’s bad,” said Tiger.
Aliki’s folk artwork, featuring a limited color palette and highly expressive faces, pairs perfectly with Lexau’s cleverly told tale of the jungle. That’s Good, That’s Bad helps introduce young children to the story-within-a-story concept using appealing characters, bold illustrations, and a very unexpected ending.
Today’s book review sponsors are inviting my readers to try these newly released books for themselves by offering a giveaway! Details are below.
Giveaway: Prestel and Media Masters is giving away a set of these beautiful books to one lucky Zephyr Hill reader! Enter this promotion (open to US and Canada) using the entry form below. Good luck!