Welcome to Critter Lit Book Reviews! One Thursday of every month Critter Lit will review two newly released, outstanding picture books.
So without further ado, Critter Lit's picks for November 2018:
Drum roll please....
Polar Bear Island written by Lindsay Bonilla, illustrated by Cinta Villalobos
Published by Sterling Children’s Books, October 2018
I adore Lindsay’s storytelling and have been so excited for the release of her new book, POLAR BEAR ISLAND, illustrated by Cinta Villalobos. A fellow Ohio author, I had the chance to meet Lindsay a few years ago at a local book festival and I’m so excited to share her book with you all today.
POLAR BEAR ISLAND is all about change, being open to new things, and meeting new people. Which let’s be honest, we all struggle with at times. Parker is the mayor of Polar Bear Island and he is set on keeping things just the way they are. Polar bears only. No others allowed. But then Kirby, an adventure-seeking penguin, visits the island and soon Kirby (and her family) introduce the polar bears to all sorts of new things, like Slipper Flippers and Sled Beds, much to Parker’s dismay.
This is a wonderful story about embracing change and our differences. The art is charming and fresh. An extremely relevant book in today’s world, POLAR BEAR ISLAND is a great read to share with your little ones.
To purchase a copy of Polar Bear Island ring up your local bookstore or click here. Or to learn more about Lindsay or Cinta’s work, visit them online at www.lindsaybonilla.com and www.plumpuddingillustration.com.
The Wall in the Middle of the Book by Jon Agee
Published by Dial Books, October 2018
One of my favorite places to look for new and inventive picture books is at art museum gift shops. Their buyers always seem to gravitate towards unusual, unique, and outside-the-box picture books. THE WALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BOOK by Jon Agee jumped out at me at the National Art Gallery in Washington D.C. I had been reading rave reviews but hadn’t actually flipped through the pages yet myself. And let me tell you, this book is fantastic!
I love any book that finds a way to incorporate the physical gutter of the book into the story, and THE WALL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BOOK is no exception. This book is wonderfully clever and creative and oh so fun to read with little ones.
As the story begins, we meet a small knight on the left side of the book. A brick wall resides down the gutter, physically dividing the book into two sides. Convinced that he must stay on his side of the wall, for fear of ogres and other scary creatures that will eat him, the knight proceeds to fortify the wall between the two sides of the book. Unbeknownst to him, trouble lurks in the background, threatening the knight, until reluctantly, he finally he crosses over to the other side of the wall, discovering that things are not as they seemed. Life is actually much less scary on the other side.
My three-year-old loved spotting the danger behind the knight as the climax of the book reached its peak. Agee allows readers in on the secret of what’s to come before the knight himself knows. Visually brilliant, funny, and inventive— this book is a must read and a perfect addition to any library!