Archive | July 2015

New Dr. Seuss Book Released!

Dr Seuss cover - What Pet Should I GetThis is exciting! Amazon just announced on Twitter that a never-before-seen picture book by Dr. Seuss has just been released! “Told in Dr. Seuss’s signature rhyming style, this is a must-have for Seuss fans and book collectors,” according to the book’s description at Amazon, “and a perfect choice for the holidays, birthdays, and happy occasions of all kinds.”

It’s called What Pet Should I Get?, and it’s just as fun and imaginative as all the other familiar Dr. Seuss classics, according to reviewers on Amazon. “The book seems a bit more fulfilling then a few other Dr. Seuss stories,” wrote one reader, “as it takes the reader through a full scale trip through the pet shop.” They pointed out that it’s illustrated in the same instantly-recognizable style as other Dr. Seuss books — and that it even uses the same two children from One Fish, Two Fish. (Although I thought it was amusing that instead of buying the Kindle edition, the reviewer rushed to their local Walmart so they’d have a hardcover edition!)

What’s interesting is the book has a warm message for children — this one about how hard it is to make a decision. “The tale captures a classic childhood moment — choosing a pet — and uses it to illuminate a life lesson,” according to the book’s description at Amazon. “[T]hat it is hard to make up your mind, but sometimes you just have to do it! ” And you can tell the publisher is excited about the release of a new Dr. Seuss book. They’re calling What Pet Should I Get? “the literary equivalent of buried treasure!”

There’s a true tale at the end of the book — about how this lost Dr. Seuss manuscript was finally recovered (including the illustrations). And it also discusses which pets were adopted by Dr. Seuss himself! There’s even a description of his creative process — which should be inspiring to future children’s book authors. But most of all, the book just looks like it’s a lot of fun.

“Wonderful rhymes and delightful creatures,” promises another reviewer on Amazon, “that are sure to entertain the little ones in your family.”

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

She’s the web cartoonist who draws “Hark, a Vagrant”, but last week she released her first picture book for children! The Princess and the Pony is both written and illustrated by Kate Beaton. (“We are all very excited!” the author wrote on her web site.) And the book’s wide, colorful pages give her a great new outlet for her simple yet imaginative drawing style.

The title page introduces us to Princess Pinecone, a smiling girl lying under a pea-green sky where the clouds form into white horses. The petals of her dandelion blow in the wind, and on the far side of a two-page spread are the fluttering flags of her castle. She comes from a kingdom of warriors, according to the book’s first page, although she is the smallest warrior. On the first page the princess is wearing a viking-style helmet with horns…though it’s too big for her head!

But she’s excited about her upcoming birthday, hoping this one turns out better than the others. Instead of warrior-style presents — like shields, amulets, and “things that make them feel like champions” — all this princess ever gets are lots of cozy sweaters. “Warriors do not need cozy sweaters,” Beaton writes. And we have our opening dilemma…

But this year Princess Pinecone had announced early that she wanted a horse. And there’s a delightful drawing of her parents in the castle — her father holding the girl in his arms, while her mother holds a hand over the princess’s eyes as they deliver their surprise… But the horse is small and round, with eyes pointing in different directions. Yet now the princess was stuck with her birthday present, which “ate things it shouldn’t have, and farted too much.”

This book’s drawing some rave reviews. (The School Library Journal called it “A highly recommended, charmingly illustrated tale of teamwork and tenderness.”) The book ends as the princess leads her pony into a comical and very unthreatening battle. There’s a warm message in the final pages about the unexpected, working together, and how life can surprise us with how valuable we really are.

But the real fun of this book is watching the story-telling veer around in its own wacky world.