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F&G Goodness: 2013 Edition January 3, 2013

Posted by ccbooks in Book Reviews.

A fantastic early Christmas present was waiting for me a few weeks ago at the store–a big box of F&Gs! That’s ‘folds and gathers’  in bookstore-speak–the advance copies of picture books that have the finished text and illustrations but are not bound in a book. Sometimes there is only a cover, with a summary inside or a sample of the text, but it’s usually enough to give a good taste of what the finished book will be like. Here are four new books; a combination of classic stories and authors along with new talent, that I’m excited to see later in the year.

Amelia BedeliaAmelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish, illustrated by Fritz Siebel (50th Anniversary Edition)

Amelia, the maid who takes all directions way too literally has been spruced up in this anniversary edition. For people like me, who mostly remember reading Amelia’s stories in flimsy  small paperbacks, this full size version, with large color pictures has an amazing vintage feel. I always remembered particular mistakes of Amelia’s more than the illustrations, but now I can see that the rich colors and the subtle patterns in the wallpaper and clothing are really lovely as well. I’m looking forward to laughing at Amelia’s antics all over again.

A Special Gift for GrannyA Special Gift for Granny by Jean Craighead George, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

We lost a great author when George passed away in 2012. This was one of her last projects, a gentle story about a boy who brings his grandmother a pile of stones. Slowly, neighbors and friends use the stones for various projects, but when it comes to the last handful, Grandma has a lovely idea for how to keep them close to her. The collage and acrylic illustrations make this a great one for grandparents and grandchildren to share with each other.

Giant Dance PartyGiant Dance Party by Betsy Bird, illustrated by Brandon Dorman

I can’t wait to read this to my creative drama class of three year olds and see them act out the furry blue giants who want to learn to dance. The protagonist, pigtailed Lexy has a problem: she loves to dance but is scared of recitals. So she decides to become a dance teacher and with the addition of those giants, high energy fun ensues. The colorful illustrations perfectly match Lexy’s optimism and can-do spirit and the last page hints at possibilities for an equally funny sequel. Betsy Bird is one of my favorite book bloggers and I’m excited to see more people discover her talents as an author as well.

That is NOT a good idea!That is NOT a Good Idea! by Mo Willems

Animal instincts come to the forefront in this fantastic new adventure from Mr. Willems. Structured like a silent movie, with the dialogue presented in frames on black pages, a fox invites a goose for a walk and then to dinner. Is this a good idea? Not according to the little goslings, who comment loudly on every move made. I think I can guarantee that once you have read this to a child, they will begin to mimic the goslings any time they see something even slightly dangerous. This is another one that I am sure I will act out  with my drama class, to thunderous applause.


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