Pick A Story
Sarah Coyle and Adam Walker-Parker
Involving younger readers in the decision making in stories is a great way to get them interested in reading and to keep that interest, but whereas there are plenty of interactive choose your own adventure stories for the over eights, there are relatively few pick a path picture books. The creators of this Pirate + Alien + Jungle adventure put the reader firmly in the navigator’s seat in their picture book starring Vincent and his dog, appropriately named Trouble.
It all begins in the park where the two are enjoying a stroll when all of a sudden Trouble disappears; where has she gone? Now Vincent needs the help of the reader to help him find his pooch: there are three possibilities in the first instance. The first will lead Tom to a stinky pirate galleon; the second will send him to the depths of the jungle and if he chooses the third option, he’ll find himself on board an alien spaceship. The problem is none of these actually help in the search for the missing Trouble.
With judging a talent show,
exploding asteroids, sea monsters and whirlpools to contend with, not to mention a dozen pirates brandishing swords and the possibility of a pursuing zombie,
Vincent has a tough time of it, but will he find the trophy and more importantly will he and the elusive Trouble ever be reunited?
Sarah Coyle plunges her protagonist and the reader headlong into an adventure with an abundance of possibilities shown in Adam Walker-Parker’s energetic, comic illustrations with their plethora of funny characters and decisions to be made on every spread.
The Book that Kibo Wrote
Mariana Ruiz Johnson
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
This book contains the story of a story that begins one evening under the setting sun of a warm savannah with Kibo a rhino who wants to capture the beauty of his surroundings. Before he knows it, Rhino has written a whole book under the watchful eye of Naki the crane who has read every word. She uses her beak to sew the written pages between two strong covers making a sturdy book.
Next morning, bidding farewell to Kibo, off she flies over land and sea, eventually dropping the book in a city.
There it’s discovered by Camilo the lion and reading the book gives him a strong nostalgic longing for his savannah birthplace. Camilo passes the yellow book on to a friend and it passes from friend to friend until Kibo’s story of the African savanna has travelled all the way to the Arctic and into the paws of a resident polar bear.
As night descends on the North Pole, polar bear Nanuk feels warmed by the savannah heat as he completes his reading of the book from a distant land.
The open-ended nature of the narrative encourages readers to become participants in the story and I love the use of patterning in the vivid illustrations, which creates a folklorish feeling about the tale. (translated by Lawrence Schimel).