You’re Mean, Lily Jean

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You’re Mean, Lily Jean (Frieda Wishinsky, author. Kady MacDonald Denton, illustrator. North Winds Press, 2009)

You're mean Lily Jean

This is a gem of a picture book from a well-known Canadian author. The girls and I finally borrowed it from the library again after reading it for the first time a few years ago. Our second sign-out did not disappoint and I’ve taken better notice of its humour and the engaging illustrations. Snooty Lily Jean moves to the neighbourhood and immediately breaks up a sister playmate duo. Carly, the youngest sister, is intentionally left out, so agrees to anything that Lily Jean suggests so that she can play with the older girls. Carly is delegated to the role of the baby that crawls, the cow that moos and eats grass and the dog that sits under the table and says ‘bow-wow’. But dogs are smart, and so is Carly. Dogs also like to dig in the sand; so does Carly. She plays Lily Jean’s game and wins. Look for the fantastic one-liners in the final pages of this picture book. The topics of bullying, standing up for yourself and forgiveness are touched on in a light, kid-friendly manner, making this picture book thoroughly enjoyable for my girls (and their mom).

My Blue is Happy

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My Blue is HappyMy Blue is Happy (Jessica Young and Catia Chein, Candlewick Press, 2013)

My blue is also happy, but that is not the reason why I put My Blue is Happy down and said “wow” after the first time I read it.  I promptly sought out the author’s website and learned that this book has won some awards and had many other nods from the children’s literary world – indeed, it is not only my newest favourite picture book. The colour pallet of the illustrations cleverly match the colour being discussed on a given page.  The green and the black two-page spreads  are mesmerizing, while the brown and pink pages have plenty of kid appeal. A final page turn that leaves readers feeling warm and satisfied is the (blue) icing on the cake. I feel happy just writing about this book.