Books We Love - pt. 1
... and Our Favorite Spreads
IlloGuild October Question:
What spread from a picture book do you love most?
How do you pick just one book you love?! …and from that one book, choose one spread?! That feels like an IMPOSSIBLE choice to me! I have loved books my whole life!! Picture books is where it all started for me as an artist and story teller. And I’m happy to say I’ve taught my kids to love books too! After much deliberation, I was able to whittle it down to 5 books for today and I might share more next week. I let my kids help me pick a few “oldies, but goodies” and a few new ones that we have recently been enjoying. Then we decided what our favorite spread was and why we love these pages. I hope you like the answers…
1.) Sam & Dave Dig A Hole by Mac Barnett and Illustrated by Jon Klassen
We love this book because it’s fun and strange. The kids love being in on the secret. The book characters are digging for something “spectacular” and the reader can clearly see they have just barely missed something that is pretty spectacular! Their pet dog seems to be in on the secret too. For me this page is brilliant because the diamond takes up so much real-estate. Almost the whole spread! You only see the eyes of the diggers looking down and a knowing pup glaring towards the jewel. The texture couldn’t be yummier and the colors are a nicely muted palette. The story ends with a bit of an unexpected twist you’ll have to check out for yourself! It keeps us chatting long after the book has ended.
2.) Would you Rather by John Burningham. This is one of the “oldies, but a goodie” books. I’ve had this in my possession for a loooong time. I can’t even tell you how long. Long enough that I think my sister read it to me before I could read and I’ve had to do surgery on the spine.
Most of the pages look like this one:
For the record I always choose “a bear to read to” on that page. What is brilliant is that you go through the book answering and chatting about which you’d choose. And then you get to this lovely spread in the middle of the book:
We love it because there is so much to see! So much happening. It’s chaos! Characters jumping across the page. So much movement! Even someone hanging from the ceiling light! What could possibly be next? It definitely asks some unexpected questions. It’s a great book to pour over. A discussion starter. I have read it so many times (and I know all my answers). Yet, we keep reading it over and over. There is something to it.
3.) Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna
This is a new book for us and I find that I’ve been protective of it. I try to keep it seperate from the others so it doesn’t get torn up so fast. That’s how much I like it. The kids love reading it. It’s a great way of talking about a subject that can be a difficult conversation sometimes, our fears. The illustrations are beautiful and cleverly done. In my favorite spread, the character of fear takes up most of the 2 pages just like the diamond above in Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. It's so clever the way fear has been depicted with the white of the page. It changes in size through out the book as the illustrator plays with negative space. Fear is keeping the other character from going outside and it is doing so by literally taken up the whole spread. Fear is made up of but a few strokes. Yet, is so effective at telling the story. The limited color palette is also brilliantly used. I highly recommend it.
4.) Bears in the Night by Stan and Jan Berenstain. There are about 300 Berenstain Bears books. Did you know that? That’s a lot of books! However, there is one that stands out in my mind. I have no shame saying I have read this book thousands of times. So many times the pages detached from the cover and saved it by spiral binding the pages together.
and “… up spook hill”. That’s the next page. See, I have it memorized. This is a book based on repetition and I was fascinated that these bears were sneaking out of their home and out the window, down the tree… so on and so forth. It’s a great read. It teaches kids positional language, not to sneak out to go up spook hill, and by the end you get to read it all really fast. What more do you want? I love this spread because it feels like a map, the colors are muted, and the pop of yellow leads you right into the next page.
5.) The Incredible Hotel written by Kate Davies and Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
We knew this book was going to be in the mix. The illustrations are full to the brim and just like dessert, you want to eat it all. The problem was picking one spread. We all agreed the beginning is so fun the way you can see the different characters interacting, their job for the hotel, and the progression through the morning. As a reader, you get a sneak peak into the hotel wall. It’s as if a layer has been stripped back. The details are just spectacular. The kids also liked a different spread that shows the final dessert and it is pretty great, but I picked a different spread as my favorite. I picked the scene just a few page before. I think there’s so much story telling here. You can see everyone arriving, their interaction, and the anticipation is building. And if you look closely you can see the main character, Stefan, arriving too through the window. And he has something that’s about to save the day. It’s a nice spread the leads the reader from left to right, but honestly…I could have picked every page in this book!
All of these books are in heavy rotation in my home. And we don’t seem to get tired of them! We look forward to any new book entering the line up and we don’t really let any of them go…
How could we? They are the books we love!
Which books do you love?
Visit the IlloGuild page to see how other IlloGuild members answered this question!
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