Show Me a Story: Why Picture Books Matter

I’ve loved picture books from a young age.  I still remember those ones that my parents read to me when I was little, especially books by Janet and Allen Ahlberg like Each Peach Pear Plum.  When I was at school the wonderful librarians at my local public library introduced me to more sophisticated picture books, like Gary Crew’s The Water Tower. Now, as a librarian I read lots of picture books every week, both for my own enjoyment and to share with children in the library.  In New Zealand we don’t have many book festivals or events where we can meet authors and illustrators and hear about their work, but I always find it fascinating to hear about their passion for what they do and their reasons for creating a particular story.  A fascinating new book from Candlewick Press collects interviews with the world’s best illustrators and takes us inside their incredible minds.

Show Me a Story: Why Picture Books Matter features interviews with 21 of the world’s best illustrators, including Eric Carle, Maurice Sendak, Helen Oxenbury, Mo Willems, and Quentin BlakeLeonard S. Marcus (the editor of the book and the interviewer) takes you inside the minds of these extremely talented artists to find out why they do what they do, what influences them, and the truth behind the fiction.  Inside this entertaining and enthralling book you’ll discover how Quentin Blake came to be Roald Dahl’s illustrator, which author introduced Eric Carle to the world of picture books, and what Mo Willems learned from Charles Schulz.  As well as the interviews there are also a series of beautiful full-colour plates, showing each illustrators artistic process from sketch to final product.  Whether you’re a teacher, librarian, bookseller, student, or a lover of children’s literature Show Me a Story is a wonderful book and useful resource that you’ll delve into again and again.

Bananas In My Ears – Poems by Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen is a cool poet and author who has been writing poems for years.  His poetry collections always have really funny titles like Lunch Boxes Don’t Fly and Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy.  His latest collection, Bananas In My Ears, is full of weird and wonderful poems.

In Bananas In My Ears there are poems about everyday life, like things that happen at breakfast time or when you go to the doctors, but there are also poems about silly things that could happen.  My favourite poems in the book are called ‘What if…’ and they’re about things like ‘What if a piece of toast turned into a ghost just as you were eating it?’ or ‘What if they made children-sized diggers?’  They’re really funny and things get completely out of control in them.  Each of the poems are illustrated by Quentin Blake, who you might recognize as the illustrator that did the covers and illustrations for all of Roald Dahl’s books.

Poems are great to read if you don’t have alot of time to read or just want something short and Bananas In My Ears is a collection of poems you’ll want to read again and again.