What makes a picture book special? For me, it's the way the book blends illustration and text. That's why I'll buy it instead of borrowing it. I recently read two of Jim Averbeck's books ~ Except If and OH NO, Little Dragon! ~ and loved the way he combined whimsical art and color with simple text and content to create picture books that preschoolers will adore.
In Except If, there is an egg. And, of course, from the egg a bird will hatch... Except if it's a snake egg... or a lizard... or... What makes this a perfect book for toddlers and preschoolers is the way it prompts children to question what they see. Kids must "think outside the egg" and are rewarded with a variety of possibilities.
The illustrations are adorable. Really. Single colored creatures, eggs, rocks and grass keep the child focused on the changing possibilities rather than intricate pictures.
This book is in my shopping cart ~ ready for my favorite toddler.
OH NO, Little Dragon! is also a charming and simple book for young audiences. In this story, a mischievous little dragon loses his spark and can longer breathe fire. He tries to relight it, but nothing works. Scared that his mama will stop loving him, Little Dragon tells her about his problem. When Mama assures her son that she will always love him, it warms Little Dragon's heart and his flame is restored.
Like some other great children's books, OH NO, Little Dragon! tackles the subject of a mother's eternal love. At some point in every child's life they worry that they will do something to make their mother stop loving them. OH NO, Little Dragon! helps put those fears to rest.
As in Except If, Averbeck draws simple characters to accompany the story. However, the illustrations in OH NO, Little Dragon! are more detailed. The main characters and their immediate surroundings are in color, but the background details are in a subtle, chalk-outlined gray. It is a charming way to focus children and bring color and detail to the story's action while still including the scenery.
My favorite toddler is getting this one too.
Blog you later!