It’s been awhile since I last reviewed a book. The last time was when I shared some books about penguins, as part of a larger home learning theme. The last proper book review that I did was here. Coincidentally, it was also around the time when my grandmummy passed on. As you may have noticed, I have refrained from doing any product or book reviews of any kind during this mourning period. While I still miss her very much, I’m sure she would want me to continue doing what I like, sharing books that we enjoy reading.
So today, I’ll be sharing two books: The Midnight Library and I Am An Artist.
The Midnight Library
The Midnight Library is a little library that opens only at night, looked after by a little librarian and her three trusty owl assistants, helping each and every animal to find the perfect book. The usually quiet and peaceful library, however, keeps them busy one night when some animals stir up trouble, from a noisy squirrel band, an upset wolf and a slow-reading tortoise.
This is a very beautifully illustrated book about the joy of reading. It also tells little minds aged between 2 to 4 about the importance of libraries, so much so that even animals take time to visit theirs. It can be quite an educational read too, imparting basic library etiquette of keeping quiet and being considerate towards others while at the library. It also tells them that is ok to read slow, as long as they read.
I like it that the author Kazuno Kohara is able to bring to life these adorable and emotive illustrations just using two base colours - orange and black. This is testament to just how good she is at her art. After reading this, I'm really keen to check out her other books, including Ghosts in the House, which was a New York Times Best Illustrated Book.
I Am An Artist
I Am An Artist, for ages 2 to 4, is a very humorous look at a child's creativity, from a child's point of view. To the boy, it's all about art, even if it's messy art. Everything around him inspires him: nature, animals, shapes, colours, and even his fridge. His mother, however, is not so enthusiastic, and the boy had a great plan to bring a smile to his mum's place, with his finest creation yet.
Reading this story, I can't help but be able to totally understand the boy's mother's exasperation at the 'art' he created. It shouts 'mess' and means lots of cleaning up. I'm also reminded too of the fact that what's mess to me is art to my kids. My kids' art may not seem a big deal sometimes, but to them, they've put their entire effort in creating it. It reminds me that I cannot always think from a mummy's perspective, but must always look at things from the kids' point of view too. It also reminds us that art is not just about painting on a piece of paper. Art is and can be everywhere, and this is shared in I Am An Artist in a very funny and silly way.
I think both stories are very appealing to young kids. The illustration style of each is vastly different, but that also gives the opportunity to explore the versatility of creativity and magic of storytelling together with the kids. It’s great to help them understand that despite the difference, the illustration in both books work perfectly with the text to create stories that captivate.
Both The Midnight Library and I Am An Artist are available at major bookstores, at a recommended retail price of $16.73 (without GST)