This week is National Children's Book Week so to celebrate I thought I would serve up a few of my favorite Godine children titles. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
DeZert Isle by Claude Ponti
A humorous love story about Jules the Zert from DeZert Isle. Life on DeZert Isle isn't always easy; there's the villainous SledgeHead who is out to nail anyone on the head who crosses his path. BigMouth is also someone to avoid as he swallows poor Zerts whole until he fills up and explodes. Despite these gnarly characters, we are also met with love at the sight of Romeotte and true friendship with dear Ned the nail. Charming illustrations fill this book with laughter and amusement as we journey through the mysterious DeZert Isle.
Recommended for Shakespeare-philes, adventurers, and those interested in the field of demolition
The Lonely Phone Booth by Peter Ackerman
The title says it all. With the advent of technological devices such as cell phones, is there a place for phone booths in this world? Apparently there is on West Avenue and West 100th Street in New York. The last existing phone booth in New York City is beloved by all in the community, until a new shiny object comes to replace it. What's an unused phone booth to do? The Lonely Phone Booth is a dazzling picture book about neglect and our quickly changing society. It is a heartwarming tale that clings on to a slightly simpler time and brings a community together.
Recommended for sentimentalists, cell phone users (all of us?), operators, and New Yorkers
Little Mook & Dwarf Longnose by Wilhelm Hauff, illustrated by Boris Pak
Little Mook, a resourceful orphan gnome, outwits the king and his court with magic slippers and a powerful walking stick. Mook overcomes abject poverty and becomes a man with great wealth. Each page has an ornate flourish that dazzles the eye and keeps readers entranced.
Recommended for wisenheimers, fairytale enthusiasts, and owners of magic slippers
Dwarf Longnose is a tale of vanity and sorcery. Jacob, an attractive and spritely boy, is transformed into a grotesque dwarf by an unseemly sorceress. This young boy who was once the face to his parents' businesses becomes unrecognizable to them. Thus living in anonymity, Dwarf Longnose goes to work for the duke thanks to his refined culinary skills, passed down from the sorceress. The story conveys the difficulties in overcoming hardship and the superficiality of conceit.
Recommended for those who have ever been charmed or cursed by good story-telling – hopefully the former
The Great Piratical Rumbustification & The Librarian and the Robbers
by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Quentin Blake
Quick! You and your wife are cordially invited to a fanciful dinner across town, but what to do with your three lads? Call the Mother Goose baby-sitting service, of course. The Great Piratical Rumbustification is a quirk some cautionary tale of what happens when you leave your children with a pirate babysitter.
Recommended for pirates (both current and former), buccaneers and mateys from lands far and wide, and for anyone who has used the Mother Goose baby-sitting service
Since I work in a library this second story struck a particular chord with me. A librarian is kidnapped by robbers and develops what appears to be Stockholm syndrome upon her return to the library. The Librarian and the Robbers is a highly implausible, yet, comical portrayal of reformed criminals and the librarian who saves them. The playful illustrations by none other than Quentin Blake of Roald Dahl book fame set the light tone of the book.
Recommended for bibliophiles, librarians, and followers of the Dewey Decimal System
The Old Man Mad About Drawing by François Place, translated by William Rodarmor
The Old Man Mad about Drawing tells the story of Japanese illustrator and printmaker Gakyorojin Hokusai and life in 19th century Japan. Rich with Japanese tradition, The Old Man Mad About Drawing is a magnificent display of the intricacies of printmaking – with truly extraordinary illustrations. Enter the book through the eyes of Tojiro, a child rice cake merchant. This enchanting story about one’s passions, mentorship and aspirations will surely excite readers of all ages.
Recommended for young, old, and those spurred by their dreams and passions