Tag Archives: David LaRochelle

Isle of You

Isle of You
David LaRochelle and Jaime Kim
Walker Books

The unseen narrator invites a sad-looking child to leave all worries behind and take a journey (a sailing boat awaits) to a very special place – the Isle of You. This fantastical land is one bathed in soft llght and on shore are a host of welcoming animals and small humans ready to indulge their visitor.

Choices abound: there’s a waterfall in which to swim, a stallion to ride, mountains to climb or perhaps a ride on the back of an eagle, or a restful stretch in a hammock is preferable.

‘Take your time. The choice is yours.’ That’s the assurance.

There’s entertainment laid on courtesy of dancing polar bears

and a delicious-looking feast to partake of before perhaps, a moonlit stroll on the beach before it’s time to depart, safe in the knowledge that ‘Someone loves you very, very, very much.’

This reads like a guided visualisation in picture book form – mindfulness for little ones after a bad day.

David LaRochelle’s gentle whimsical story is a sweet one (perhaps some will find it overly so) and Jaime Kim’s glowing pastel shades of yellow, pinks, blues and purples help bring feelings of comfort and an otherworldy atmosphere to a fantasy that will help youngster listeners, (safe in the knowledge that it’s sometimes okay to feel sad), to set aside the day’s trials and worries and undertake a mindful journey to a magical place, that’s closer than they think, the ISLE OF YOU.

This is Not a Cat! / Later, Gator!

%0a

This is NOT a Cat!
David Larochelle and Mike Wohnoutka
Sterling Children’s Books
Using only the words from the title, Larochelle has created a book that is absolutely perfect for beginning readers and it’s lots of fun.
We join three little mice as they arrive at school; three little mice each with a chunk of cheese for lunch. Their first lesson is already displayed as they sit down already looking more than a tad bored …

%0a

Now this is an old fashioned school with transmission style teaching – desks facing front so one can perhaps excuse the lack of a security system (but that’s getting ahead of the action). One pupil at least is paying attention as the teacher continues: “This is not a cat.” the assumption being he’s writing notes on the lesson; the other two are already distracted and playing around. No one notices what’s already appearing outside the window, not even the grinning goldfish.
This is not a cat.” … “This is not a cat.” continues the teacher oblivious to the fact that a certain intruder is on the verge of entering …

dscn9315

Suddenly the whole atmosphere in the room changes as the presence of the visitor is noticed, first by the teacher and then as realisation dawns …

dscn9316

The pupils flee leaving the intruder to enjoy the spoils left behind, but just who IS that greedy guzzler.
Clever as the text is and it’s undoubtedly so, without the illustrations the book wouldn’t be anything like as funny as it is. Wohnoutka’s cartoon style scenes are full of comic detail: the changing expressions of the goldfish, the antics of the pupils – note the cleverly aimed paper aeroplane, the cheesy shapes chart to mention a few; and of course, there’s the grand finale.
Also fun for those in the early stages of reading is:

%0a

Later, Gator!
Erik Brooks
Sterling Children’s Books
It’s hard moving to a new home especially having to say farewell to all your friends. That’s just what young Gator discovers having moved to a distant neighbourhood with his parents where there isn’t a soul he knows. He decides to write to his old friends telling them how he misses them and eventually back come some letters. Yes, his pals are missing him too but their communications are also encouraging …

%0a

And made him feel a little bit bolder, bold enough to start making a whole new set of friends …

dscn9320

The text is minimal but the amusing illustrations speak volumes.

A Moose on the Loose & Some Monsters

DSCN6961 (800x600)

There’s a Moose on the Loose
Lucy Feather and Stephan Lomp
Nosy Crow
When Moose leaves his rural residence and heads for the big city, it’s not long before everyone therein knows there’s a MOOSE ON THE LOOSE. First port of call is the fire station through which he dashes, catching a fireman’s bucket on his antler as he goes. From there he visits a department store full of shoppers where he adds a wellie boot to the bucket on his antler and a shop assistant joins the fireman in the chase.
Imagine the mayhem a loose moose in a busy library can cause, especially when there are several book-filled floors but our moose isn’t hanging about here, particularly as he’s somehow managed to add a dictionary to the items attached to his antlers and now the librarian too is in hot pursuit. There’s no stopping our moose though as he dashes on, galloping madly through the museum, speeding through the supermarket, hurtling through the hospital, careering through the castle, sploshing through the swimming pool …

DSCN6963 (800x600)

sprinting through the school collecting all manner of objects upon those antlers and increasing the number of pursuers at each location. Then, he goes bounding through an apartment block …

DSCN6967 (800x600)

and up onto its roof where it seems his presence, though not that of all his pursuers, is awaited. Oh NO! Now it looks as if our rampaging moose has forgotten something; he certainly doesn’t seem full of the party spirit …

DSCN6965 (800x600)

Uh-oh – there he goes again …

DSCN6966 (800x600)

My readers were immediately sucked in to the action and eagerly dashed through the book following the footsteps of moose and then immediately turned back to the beginning and spent a considerable time exploring each detailed, action-packed spread. It’s absolutely full of comic scenarios such as the elephant having a hair do, the music lover in the library …

DSCN6962 (800x600)

and the impending trolley disaster on the supermarket ramp and if you are looking for a book that generates interactive talk between young children, then this one is definitely a good bet.
It has all kinds of potential in the classroom; for mapping, counting, positional vocabulary and more but most important, it’s enormously entertaining. I had to beg my copy back out of the hands of a group of enthusiastic children, and that surely speaks for itself.

DSCN6889 (800x600)

Monster & Son
David Larochelle and Joey Chou
Chronicle Books
We share in fun and games monster style as all manner of dads and their offspring engage in such activities as throw and catch …

DSCN6890 (800x600)

chase and tag, tickling, fishing, making music …

DSCN6892 (800x600)

building a hideout, telling jokes, piggy back riding and occasionally pausing for a snack.
These are the daytime activities of the mock-scary creatures –ghosts, ghouls, yetis, werewolves, dragons and the like – that inhabit this book. When the night comes and the moon shines bright, it’s no surprise to discover that their bedtime rituals are pretty much the same as those of humans – filled with love and gentleness – ahhhh!
In addition to the innocent-sounding rhyming narrative running through the book, there are stories aplenty to be found in Joey Chou’s digital illustrations rendered in suitably subdued hues. Indeed, it’s the mismatch between what is said and what is seen that is key here: The dragon laughter is such that it sets a castle blazing; the snack being gorged on is a car, the occupants of which look on helplessly …

DSCN6893 (800x600)

and the sea serpents’ ball game is causing boats to founder and capsize.

Use your local bookshop      localbookshops_NameImage-2