Saturday, October 1, 2011

What's Basbusa reading?

Without at all planning to, we've somehow stumbled over a whole trove of wonderful wordless picture books recently. "Wordless" doesn't mean "baby", though - I think Basbusa wouldn't have been able to follow almost any of these until quite recently, because the plots are quite complex. It's fantastic for both of us to have such good books for non-readers, because she can "read" without having to depend on me for help, and I can enjoy a few minutes of extra time here and there while she's absorbed in a book!

In the town, all year 'round has been one of our favorites for over a year. It just shows what's happening in a town during the course of a year, with a section for each season, but the same cast of characters shows up throughout the book, and there are a million mini-plots to discover as you read (and re-read and re-read and re-read). We have read this book more times than I can even imagine, and still, just the other day, we were reading it upside-down (don't ask), and I noticed yet another sub-plot that had not caught my eye before.

The Adventures of Polo is like a comic book without words, about an adventurous little dog who explores his way through all kinds of places (e.g. the north pole, a desert island with volcanoes, under the sea, outer space) before ending up back home again. The plot, to my taste, gets just a little bit old somewhere around the fifty-second or fifty-third re-reading - you could basically sum it up as "Oh no!! ... Whew!! ... Oh no!!! ... Whew!!! etc - but Basbusa doesn't seem to have any problem with it, and she re-reads it to herself all the time. There are several other Polo books in the series, if your child really likes it.

Clown by Quentin Blake is a charming story of a toy clown, thrown out with a bunch of other old toys, who has managed to jump out of the trash can himself, and is desperately trying to find a child who will come and help him rescue his friends. Eventually, he finds a girl who has all kinds of troubles too, and they help each other to a happy ending. The story itself is both sweet and interesting, but Basbusa really had to use her brain to figure out the plot from the pictures (an older child would have had no trouble). For me, another reason to like this book was Quentin Blake's illustrations - he illustrated all of Roald Dahl's books, so his pictures evoked all kinds of fond childhood memories :)

Fox and Hen Together - well, this one was a huge favorite with Basbusa, but I think a few words of warning might be in order regarding the back-story! In this book, which is part two of a three-part series, Fox and Hen (now happily married and expecting a... well... expecting something in an egg) find there's no food left in the fridge. So Hen gives the egg to Fox to look after, and goes fishing. Adventures ensue; she ends up catching a sea-monster, and they barbeque it on the beach, snuggling their newly-hatched fox-chick. No problems so far, right? (A slightly odd moment when Hen walks in after fishing, sees an empty eggshell and a frying pan on the table, and thinks for a moment that Fox has eaten the baby, but Basbusa seemed to take it in stride.) But just so you know, the first book in this series (The Chicken Thief), the story of how Fox and Hen ended up together isn't quite so PG-rated! Basbusa was oblivious, thank goodness, despite all her millions of re-readings, but I was somewhat alarmed when I realized what was actually happening in the story.... Hmmm...

I've said before how much we love Shirley Hughes, and this book was no exception! It's about a little girl who learns how to fly. Basbusa enjoyed following her adventures as she surprised her parents and classmates, and eluded an annoyed neighbor who was chasing her in his hot-air balloon. I think Basbusa was envisioning herself as the little girl who suddenly found herself able to soar skywards, because that theme suddenly cropped up in a whole bunch of her pretend games over the next few days :)

Deep in the Forest is Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but backwards (a baby bear comes into Goldilocks' house and causes havoc). Its's sweet and Basbusa enjoyed it. I guess this one's a classic, but somehow I'd never heard of it?

 And lastly, The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher. I myself thought this one was a little strange, both in terms of plot (an old lady trying to make it home with her bag of strawberries, pursued every step of the way by a very odd-looking thief) and of illustrations (I would describe them as "interesting" rather than attractive). I wouldn't have included this one here except that Basbusa really liked it, and that it's a Caldecott Honor Book, so I guess Basbusa can't be the only one! The old lady does make it home safely, and the thief ends up finding a blackberry bush instead.

Linking up with What My Child is Reading and Read-Aloud Thursday.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you shared some amazing books! The first 2 were familiar to us (the first one is in its original German), but the rest are new. Thanks for joining WMCIR and sharing your picks!