This is Alan – he’s an alligator – notorious for his BIG, scary teeth. He loves nothing more than sneaking into the jungle and scaring all of the jungle animals. But, Alan has a secret… his BIG, scary teeth are not his own. Every day, Alan has a warm, mud bath. While bathing in his muddy pool, Alan likes to remove his BIG, scary (false) teeth. To Alan’s horror, his teeth go missing. What will he do now? Will he be able to frighten the animals without them?
Children will delight in this surreal story and its silliness.
From acclaimed artist Charlotte Voake comes a perfectly paced, wickedly dark, laugh-out-loud picture book about very unsuitable pets!
There are certain animals that make suitable pets, like a cat, a dog or a guinea pig. Then there are other animals that definitely make unsuitable pets, like an octopus, a warthog or an elephant. They are much too large, too messy and, well, just a tad free-spirited. They also have a tendency to break things … like floors, ceilings and tables. But can you guess what makes the most unsuitable pet ever? Here’s a clue … he has a long, scaly green tail and very sharp teeth.
I found this book at the South Bank Book Market. I’m drawn to this market like a moth to a flame. Often I walk away empty handed, but every now and then I find a gem. I have a large collection of faded Penguin paperback classics on a shelf somewhere.
At some point this year I stumbled across this book by William Bee. I had seen it on a blog somewhere before, so I picked it up and flicked my way through it. I found the illustrations charming and funny. The text is beautiful and made me smile. I bought it immediately.
It’s one of those picture books I pull off the shelf regularly and it makes me smile each and every time. I’ve read it to children at school and it is always received well.
Apart from a slightly faded patch on the front cover, I found it in almost perfect condition. I think I like it more because of this as it comes with a memory attached to it, rather than a knock on the door followed by an impatient delivery man wedging it through it a small space while I attempt to reach the door. (Waving fist in the air)
It’s fun to watch the road being built in this noisy, action-packed picture book!
Move the earth. Move the earth. Dig and cut and push. Clear a pathway for the road. Screech! Boom! Whoosh! Tip the stones. Tip the stones. Lift and slide and dump. Lay the groundwork for the road. Crash! Roar! Thump! Full of shout-aloud noise words, rhythm and rhyme, this boisterous book follows the process of building a road from beginning to end. Children will love recognizing familiar sights, from diggers to road signs, in the bright, bold art.
This is Katie May Green’s first picture book. It is filled with dark, nightmare-inspired undertones. The characters are worthy of classic horror films. During the day, the walls of a stately country home imprison the ghosts of children from the recent past in picture frames, two of them identical twin girls. A black cat seems to watch guard for them, as the children’s eyes move from side to side. When the sun goes down, the children climb out of their frames and cause havoc within the walls of this forgotten home.
Albert enters Sidney in a ‘Best Pet Monster Competition’. He is very optimistic, he thinks Sidney is a most excellent monster. However, the judges have a different idea about what makes a good monster. Sidney doesn’t quite cut it.
He’s not got any warts, he doesn’t have any parasites (just a couple of holiday makers, stopping by), he can’t fly and his farts just don’t smell that bad.
Albert finds this all very embarrassing. Until he realises that Sidney has many talents, they’re just not very monster like.
President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath – Mac Barnett & Chris Van Dusen
George Washington crossed the Delaware in the dead of night. Abraham Lincoln saved the Union. And President William Howard Taft got stuck in a bathtub, and then got unstuck. This is his story.
– Mac Barnett
“Although there’s considerably more naked flesh on display then in the average picture book, there’s no denying the riveting spectacle of Taft’s struggle.”
Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World – Mac Barnett & Dan Santat
Santat and Barnett collaborate seamlessly on this slapstick adventure about a pigtailed, bespectacled science fair entrant trying unsuccessfully to control her prize-winning robot… Barnett’s telegraphic text packs wicked humor into economical, comic book-style lines, while Santat’s skylines pay homage to old monster movies… Blueprints for the robot and the genetically altered toad she deploys to defeat it are included on the endpapers, but, kids, don’t try this at home!” — Publishers Weekly
Chloe & the Lion – Mac Barnett & Adam Rex
“[Combines] twisty plotting, irreverent dialogue, visual hilarity, and sophisticated book design into an arch package. But beneath the silly surface, children will find a meaningful exposition of just what goes into a successful picture book, and how author, illustrator, and character must collaborate and compromise.” — Booklist
Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem – Mac Barnett & Adam Rex
A headlong plunge into surrealism ensues when Billy Twitters’s parents punish him by giving him a blue whale. The cleverness is in the idea’s literal-mindedness — Billy thinking “I feel like something’s watching me” as he eats his cereal, one very large eye visible behind him, and then hauling the whale to school on his bicycle. It’s not supposed to make sense, and, amusingly, it doesn’t.” —The New York Times
Guess Again! – Mac Barnett & Adam Rex
“A funny, absurdist take on guessing books….Twisted good fun.” — Publishers Weekly
Count the Monkeys – Mac Barnett & Kevin Cornell
Cornell (who previously teamed up with Barnett for Mustache!) is an artist in the modern-day Disney animation tradition, effortlessly juggling funny chaos, irreverent characterizations, and visual winks and nudges. Barnett’s narrator may be increasingly frustrated (“We’re never going to count the monkeys!”) but he also has expert comic timing…. This spot-on spoof of counting books is the perfect reward for anyone who’s put in a hard day’s work with numbers, big or small.” —Publishers Weekly
Battle Bunny – Mac Barnett, Jon Scieszka & Matthew Myers
An honest reflection of the ways kids interact with books—in a way that’s accessible to kids themselves—as well as a complexly layered work of comic genius….This is an example of exactly how kids are told not to interact with their books—and that’s what makes it so effective. Alex’s gleeful disregard for the inanity of Birthday Bunny belies a deep engagement with the words in the book, an active participation with the structures of literacy that acts as a rebellious model for kids just starting to read on their own. And who can’t help but giggle at a cry of “Time to get it on, carrot breath!”? This is, then, sure to be an early reader that’s also endlessly entertaining and that will stand up to multiple readings as viewers find more of Alex’s hidden gems.”
—The Bulletin for the Center of the Children’s Book
Extra Yarn – Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
“Understated illustrations and prose seamlessly construct an enchanting and mysterious tale.” — Publishers Weekly
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole – Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
When Sam and Dave dig a hole, readers get “something spectacular.” The boys, on the other hand, do not. Their quest to find the spectacular brings them painfully and humorously close to buried jewels as they spade their way into the ground, accompanied by an intrepid canine companion. Readers occupy a superior position as cross-section illustrations reveal those jewels buried just out of the shovels’ reach. Each time they near one, the increasingly grubby boys maddeningly change course. On they dig, tunneling in different directions, and each effort reveals (to readers) yet larger jewels evading them. Exhausted, they fall asleep, but the dog digs after a bone it senses below. In an unexpected turn, the ground gives way to nothingness, and the trio falls through empty space “until they landed in the soft dirt.” At first glance, it seems they’ve ended up where they began: A small tree stands on the recto, and a house with a porch is on the verso, as before. But careful readers will notice that the tree here bears pears, while the tree at the story’s start had apples.
If you follow my blog you’ll know I’m a huge fan of both Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen. Both are incredible talents who have made outstanding contributions to the picture book form.
Jon Klassen has written & illustrated bestselling and award-winning picture books such as the brilliant I Want My hat Back & the 2013 Caldecott medal winning This Is Not My Hat.
Mac Barnett, a writer not an illustrator is the author of brilliant picture books, such as; Chloe & the Lion, President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath, Battle Bunny, Count the Monkeys, Billy Twitters & the Blue Whale Problem & many more.
Together they made the wonderful picture book Extra Yarn, which won a Boston Globe-Horn Book award and a Caldecott Honor.
I saw the cover art for their latest picture book Sam & Dave Dig a Hole some time ago on twitter and I have been eagerly awaiting it ever since.
Mac & Jon are clearly good friends, who create magic when they put their heads together. They complement each other like Milk & Cookies.
Here’s what they had to say about their working relationship taken from a transcript to Walker Books.
This is the second picture book you’ve collaborated on. What do you enjoy about working together? Why do you think you make a good team?
Mac: I’ll let you go first and say something nice about me.
Mac: And if you decide not to say something nice about me, will be able to deal with that in my response.
Jon: No no, I will do it.
Mac: I think you mean “Okay!”
Jon: On my end, you seem to enjoy premises for these books that are as much visually driven as they are text driven, and so the story ends up happening in both areas. I think even though we are both left to do the things we like to do on a book we make together, the ideas we come up with in conversation at the beginning are never either purely visual or verbal.
Mac: Yeah, even though I can’t draw I think that writing a picture book is a visual act, and one of my main jobs is to provide a space for illustrators to do their own storytelling.
Jon: You for sure can’t draw.
Mac: Aw man, and I was just typing something nice about you: There’s nobody I like talking about books with more than Jon, and working together gives us a chance to talk about books and try out ideas that feel exciting to us both. I guess that we talk about books a lot anyway though. This is a way to do it that feels more immediately productive. We also talk a lot about TV shows. And lunch.
Jon: I just had soup.
Mac: I just had two handfuls of cereal.
Their new book Sam & Dave Dig A Hole is full of visual humour. The two boys are determined to find something spectacular. They embark on their plan to dig a hole, a hole they plan to keep digging until they find that something spectacular, which they eventually find, in a much unexpected way.