Really fantastic selection of nonfiction picture books this week!
[To rehash the concept :: post what you read last week, what you're reading now, and what you plan to read this week. If you have a review of the book(s), great! If you have a picture of the book(s), wonderful! If you have a book giveaway, fantastic! If you just list the title(s) of the book(s), not a problem! Make it as simple or as complex as you need it to be. At least, that's the message I got. This version of the meme is hosted by Jen and Kellee of Teach Mentor Text, which, in turn, was inspired by Sheila over at Book Journey, who hosts the original It's Monday! What Are You Reading?]
WHAT I READ LAST WEEK:
At the Same Moment, Around the World by Clotilde Perrin
A few observations (i.e., not necessarily good or bad, just something I noticed):
- On the page featuring what's happening in Paris, there's a man smoking a cigarette, walking down the street. Do you often see images of smokers in American picture books? Also, on the San Francisco page, Sharon and Peter (I'm assuming they're adults) are kissing. Again, are there a lot of images of kissing with lips touching in American picture books? The book was originally published in France, and there must be some European sensibilities that differ from American ones.
- The picture for Australia features Ayers Rock. That's the name I learned growing up, but for the last 15-20 years, I've called it Uluru, which is the Aboriginal name of this sacred place. Officially, it has the dual name of Uluru/Ayers Rock, but it seems that even in Australia, Uluru is a more commonly used name. So, why did the author (or Chronicle Books) choose to use the Western name?
- Another thing I'm always curious about is translated works. For novels, the translator's name is often prominently printed on the cover and/or the title page. But, for picture books, I've recently noticed that you have to check the fine print on the copyright page, and what you often find is something akin to, "Translation, and text on pages xx-xx, copyright © 2014 by [name of American publisher]." So, who does the actual translating? Why don't they get credit? And what about reliability of the translation?
The Emperor of Absurdia by Chris Riddell
A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
I love this book rather a lot, so I plan to write a separate post about it.
Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns, photography by Ellen Harasimowicz
I Didn't Do My Homework Because... by Davide Cali, illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy
What an amazingly illustrated nonfiction picture book about the Great Whites that feed off of the Farallon Islands near San Francisco! The information is top-notch too, and is presented in a really easy to understand way. I particularly liked how Roy illustrated "the perfect body" of a shark like an airplane. (In that case, however, the word choice of "torpedo-shaped bodies" doesn't match up with the illustration.) And the blood! There are some pretty dramatic illustrations of the shark feeding on a seal. The one thing I was confused about is why the subtitle uses the term "Great White," but in the text of the book, she calls them "white sharks."
I'm often drawn to macabre and odd images, and this book satisfied me greatly. My one complaint is that I rather wished there was information about how Walter Potter taxidermied (is that a word?) the animals to fit his tableaus. I showed my animal-loving daughter the book and she was not amused. I was told, "Oh, nooooooooooooooo!" and "Here's your creepy book back!" and she refused to even look at the cover while I was reading it.
Young Miss Holmes, Casebook 1-2 by Kaoru Shintani