Thursday, October 13, 2011

Animal House!

The last few posts have been inspired by storms. Although there are still plenty of storms brewing in the world today, I am going to switch gears and focus on animals for a bit. Here are two quick ones:

“Colonel Purple Turtle's Purple Turtle Journal”
By Rocknoceros
Illustrated by Missy Sheldrake
For Ages 3 – 6
Colonel Purple Turtle keeps a journal where he shares stories about all his friends and neighbors in Soggy Bog. Rated 2.5, because the CD is enjoyable (animals, journal, CD)

Rocknoceros is a band from Virginia that makes original music for children. This is their first book. Inspired by songs from the CD, Colonel Purple Turtle, the book is an effort to catch the same spirit and humor that is captured in their music. While I enjoyed the songs on the CD, I was left a little flat by the book. The journal entries didn't really tell a story. The writing became captions for the illustrations.
The illustrations were a mixed bag as well. If the entire book had been illustrated in the line drawings that were sprinkled throughout it would have been very nice, with a touch of whimsy and character reminiscent of A.A. Milne. However, most of the full-color art appears overworked. That said, the Truman Coyote illustration did intrigue me. Rocknoceros could easily create more books, but they may want to consider hiring a writer to adapt their songs in the future.
What’s good: The songs are the CD are fun and entertaining for young kids.
What’s bad: A serious lack of story.

“Not Inside This House”

By Kevin Lewis
Illustrated by David Ercolini
For Ages 3 – 8
When Livingstone Columbus Magellan Crouse goes exploring he always brings home a treasure. Rated 4 (pet care, parental relationship, humor)

It begins with a bug, but his mother will have none of it. Not in her house. He doesn’t fuss or complain he just goes exploring. Each time he returns with a bigger potential pet – a mouse, a moose, even a whale. When all was said and done, and all the animals were back in the wild, Livingstone returned home with a little bug. His mother shrugged and hugged her son.

Lewis rants and rolls through the progressively more outrageous situations in this mild-mannered suburban household. Ercolini captures the ridiculousness with a flair that will have children giggling at each spread. It is a delight for story time and could start some interesting conversations about pets.
What’s good: Pets, adventure and charm.
What’s bad: Although the rhyme is not perfect it is fun.