Friday, November 2, 2012

Picture Books -- Day 2

Today I read No Bears written by Meg McKinlay and illustrated by Leila Rudge.  Ella, the narrator, is tired of bears, but she is in charge of this book, and so, there will be no bears in it.  Instead, Ella wants pretty things, funny things, exciting things, and scary things in her book.  She creates a book about a princess, a monster, and a fairy godmother and NO BEARS.  But (mostly) outside the frame of her book, watching the story -- and participating in it -- is a bear.

After reading this with my very literal-minded kindergartner, I asked, "Was there a bear?"  She was quick to respond, "No, she said there were no bears."  But my preschooler pointed out the bear in the book, and we looked back through the pages to get the real story.

The stylized illustrations are playful, and even the monster isn't really scary.  There are plenty of details to look at in Ella's book-within-a-book, including fairy-tale elements throughout (Red Riding Hood, a wolf, a gingerbread man), but the real fun is outside the main picture frames.  Rudge bends frames, makes creative use of the gutter, and sends her characters off the pages.  You have to stop and look at the illustrations to understand the story -- the key points being played out in the margins.  But just in case you miss it, the bear wordlessly retells it on the last page.

No Bears
by Meg McKinlay
illustrated by Leila Rudge
published by Candlewick Press
March 2012 (US edition)

1 comment:

  1. I love a book with many things to look at and severals stories! Sounds fantastic!!