Karen Beaumont, author; David Catrow, Illustrator. Harcourt, 2005
I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More is everything a picture book should be. It’s irresistible. I was once told the following formula for making a near sure-fire winner picture book: if you can sing it, it’s a keeper. My girls and I have found ourselves humming “I ain’t gonna paint no more no more, I ain’t gonna paint no more,” to the tune of, “It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More” all week. It’s very catchy. The concept of this picture book is simple and universal. A child’s paintbrush finds its way to the walls, ceiling, curtains . . . you get the picture. His mom gets mad (rightfully so) and puts the paints out of reach. But there ain’t no way that this child ain’t gonna paint no more, so he gets the paints down and continues creating–this time on his body. The rhyming text allows readers to guess where the child will paint next, culminating to an adorably clever ending. The lighthearted story is coupled with subtly hilarious illustrations (check out the dog!) that are bright and paint spattered in all the right places. I try to moderate my book-buying, but this is one picture book that I will be stocking in my home library very soon.
Rhyming Dust Bunnies (Jan Thomas; Beach Lane Books, 2009)
Dust bunnies Ed, Ned and Ted are rhyming enthusiasts. The fourth dust bunny, Bob, is much less exuberant, his facial expression and sagging ears are in stark opposition to those of the other dust bunnies. While Ed, Ned and Ted are practicing their rhymes, Bob tries to warn, in a non-rhyming fashion, that danger is imminent. Indeed, the well-known enemy of any dust bunny is approaching–a broom! The dust bunnies find cover under a dresser, but are only safe until … you guessed it, a vacuum cleaner whizzes towards them. This picture book is a silly and quick read that can be used to teach the fundamentals of rhyme to young children. My 3 year-old also enjoys Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny (Beach Lane Books, 2009) by the same author; she’s finding endless amusement in the grumpy grey dust bunny that stars in that picture book.
Boy Soup (Loris Lesynski, author. Michael Martchenko, illustrator. Annick Press, 2008)
Poor Giant is sick, sick, sick. Many of us can relate in this cold and flu season we are presently enduring. Giant’s medical guide recommends none other than Boy Soup to ease his symptoms. He promptly sets off to find the soup’s key ingredient, and easily finds five boys–and Kate. Thank goodness for Kate, as it is she who concocts a way to save them all from the bottom of the Giant’s soup pot (I love the quiet ‘girl power’ theme in this book). There are plenty of chuckles to be had as you study Giant’s facial expressions as well as the finer details of Martchenko’s illustrations. Lesynski’s rhyming text is scrumptious right to the last letter. My family discovered this picture book by chance at the library many months ago and my three year-old has asked to borrow it repeatedly since. This book would be worth permanently stocking on your bookshelf; it could be read all winter long, and then some.
Bear Snores On (Karma Wilson, author. Jane Chapman, illustrator. Scholastic, 2002)
As a writer I know it’s hard, make that really, really, hard, to create rhyming perfection. Bear Snores On has found it. This books repeating lines are fun for children to say. The lyrical writing causes the reader to unwittingly give each of the animals that pass the winter storm in the bear’s den its own unique voice. The animals light a cozy fire and prepare snacks while the bear snores on. Eventually the bear wakes up, and the ending suddenly appears to be tragic for the animals who were enjoying their party moments before. A story of friendship with an ending sure to leave a smile on the faces of adults and children, Bear Snores On is a fun and feel good picture book. Snuggle up this winter and enjoy.