Apologies for the long delay ("Did you miss me? Did you miss me? Did you miss me?" *leaps up and down like an excited puppy and licks readers all over their faces*). I was finishing writing my book again before the Summer holidays begin and my every waking moment becomes Full of Boys.
Anyways. Whilst I was writing, a few kind publishers have been sending me good things to read in pieces-of-cheese-from-the-fridge breaks and it's time I caught up and shoved a select few under your noses.
For someone writing a children's book blog, I'm not sure how picture book literate I actually am. I mean I LOVE picture books and will fight with swords for their importance and relevance and all that but if I'm honest, my head is probably more in a texty/wordy sort of space. I suppose I can recognise the cleverness of a nicely put together sentence and plot in a more considered way than I can analyse exactly what works and what doesn't about an illustration.
The husband is a cartoonist and occasionally people 'edit' his cartoons or reposition them on a page and it drives him totally INSANE. Then I drive him even more insane by looking at the two versions and saying I can't really see the difference. I'm shamefully a bit sort of 'I know what I like' about it all.
Which is all a long preamble to say I REALLY like 'Time for Bed, Fred!' by new writer/illustrator Yasmeen Ismail. Even my visually untrained eye can see that this is something rather special. A simple picture book that flows with perfectly controlled colour, movement and energy. Pretty, pretty, pretty.
Naughty dog Fred isn't ready for bed and is going to cause some chaos getting there. It's familiar stuff really but told in a light and funny way that will make toddlers giggle I'm sure. I took this book in for my Beanstalk year one kids to read and they loved it; an easy text that they could perform in a great 'teachery', exasperated, telling off voice. Everyone loves to pretend to be an authority figure after all.
But it is the glorious energy of watercolour zinging off the page that really bring Fred to life. He gallops through the pages with wonderful doggy expressions. You almost expect to get spattered with colour yourself when he shake his coat out. Beautifully observed.
With thanks to the publishers for our copy, our opinions are unsolicited and our own.
Incidently to read reviews by someone who really can analyse how pictures make a story work, check out the always thought provoking and rigorous blog at www.didyoueverstoptothink.wordpress.com. This post is a lovely example.