Scroll through a social media platform on a Friday (especially Instagram) and no doubt you’ll see streams of #bookfacefriday images. Libraries get involved, and so can the entire family. It’s something that we look forward to. If the kids spot a cover or illustration that suits, reading time is on pause until we’ve taken a photo.
Below are bookfaces that we’ve shared over the past few months.
THE LION INSIDE
Rachel Bright and Jim Field
My lion loving boy couldn’t wait to read and ROAR for this book, The Lion Inside, by Rachel Bright and Jim Field.
I’m sure you all know how cute and ridiculously funny Field’s illustrations are. The exaggerate expressions and body proportions encourage titters and giggles. The landscape scenes in this book are stunning. Bright’s story is equally so. Rhythmical. Rhyming. Reflective. Roaring fun!! “In a dusty place where the sand sparkled gold, Stood a mighty flat rock—all craggy and old.” This rock formation looks like a huge lion, and it’s the home of two animals. Lion sleeps at the head, while Mouse’s tiny house is squeezed between rocks at the foot. Lion has a mighty ROAR! and is very popular amongst the other animals. Mouse is so small he’s never seen, is often sat on and stood on. Mouse doesn’t like this, and comes up with a plan. “What I need is a ROAR!” But he’s afraid to approach Lion for advice, as he might end up as the beast’s feast.
The Lion Inside is entertaining. Shows us that we are all of worth, we all can be brave, we all may get scared. “We all have a mouse and a lion inside.”
I WANT MY HAT BACK
Lots of uncontrollable laughter while reading this book, mostly coming from me.
A bear has lost his hat, and wants it back. He goes in search of it, asking many animals if they’ve seen it. Fox hasn’t. Neither has Frog. A rabbit wearing a red, pointy hat, swears that he hasn’t seen it, going quite overboard in his defence. “No. Why are you asking me. I haven’t seen it. I haven’t seen any hats anywhere. I would not steal a hat. Don’t ask me any more questions.”
At this point, readers don’t know what Bear’s hat looks like, but are very suspicious of Rabbit, and the giggling start. Outburst of loud, infectious laughter come when we discover that Bear’s hat is indeed the exact hat Rabbit wears, and when Bear realises that he’s seen it. Bear is very polite throughout the story, so the twisted ending is such a surprise that you’re sure to laugh again, perhaps out of shock.
Klassen’s artwork and text work beautifully together. This is the Best Book EVER!!
THIS IS NOT A BOOK
Sun was beaming, so our adventure for the day was a trip to the beach, of course. A cool swim, followed by fish and chips to warm us up. A very happy #bookfacefriday!! Photo shared is the first spread from, This is Not a Book, by Jean Jullien. “This Is Not A Book is a toy with many pages! Playfulness is something that I hold very dear as it encourages us to experiment and challenge our surroundings.” —Jean Jullien.
One of the many beauties of books, is that they unlock imagination. Although we’re not talking about a book here. Lol. This is Not a Book does just that. It encourages children to get inventive, to think outside the ‘rectangle’. Empowers creativity to spread its wings. This is Not a Book is a piano, a theatre, a tennis match, a butterfly, a tent, a tightrope high up in the sky.
Each turn of the page brings a surprise. The illustrations are fun, mischievous, and bright. You can’t help but play along. Interact. My kids were ROARING, laughing, turning the ‘book’ this way and that, opening it, closing it, writing their own stories, making breakfast. The title and cover image are intriguing. The internal pages, so much fun. And the last spread of hands clapping is a superb ending. I applaud Jean Jullien, while my kids call for an encore!! “Let’s do it again! Go to the toolbox. I want to make a robot.”
THE BEAR WHO STARED
Quiet, curious types might want to read this book. Gave my Harry the #bookfacefriday pic, because he’s a bit of a stareoholic. That’s not always a bad thing. Bear doesn’t stare to make the ladybird family uncomfortable, he didn’t mean to bother mumma bird and her chicks, or interrupt badger while he was brushing his teeth. Bear was simply curious yet shy. Quite often these traits are intertwined. Goggly-eyed frog is there to help. He teaches Bear that, “Sometimes a smile is all you need.”
There’s more to manners than pleases and thank yous. No one likes being stared at, so smile and start a conversation. You never know, like Bear, new friendships could be made.
Limited palette. Bold, collage-like illustrations. Those funny disembodied eyebrows. The Bear Who Stared is an endearing story, with cute characters—except for angry Mr Badger. He needs to learn that it’s not nice to bite bears on the nose. Perhaps the tale continues.
THE LION AND THE MOUSE
The Lion and the Mouse, by Jerry Pinkney, a wordless adaption of Aesop’s adored fable. Particularly love the close up illustrations, the Serengeti setting, and the Author’s Note.
More on this one to come…
I have wanted to read this ever since first seeing it. The illustrations are—to die for. Still gathering our thoughts in regards to the dastardly twist of fate. Not one for sensitive kids, animal lovers, or grandma lovers. But if you like a laugh and enjoy stories about girls with spunk, you’ll love it!
I AM DOODLE CAT (and Oskar loves…)
Kat Patrick and Lauren Marriott
“I Am Doodle Cat and I love running away from my mummy when she’s trying to take a photo of me. I love collecting sticks in our backyard and the wind in my hair.” That’s my translation of her giggles as she takes off for the swing. I love this cheeky, fun, curious, adorable stage of childhood.
Doodle Cat and Oskar are kindred spirits. They’re both bold, loveable characters and both have an attitude of gratitude. These stories are two peas in a pod.
We’re given a glimpse into each character’s world and what they adore. Doodle Cat loves noise, lentils and fractals, while Oskar loves soft green grass, sweet red cherries, and the silence of snow. And at the close of both stories, it’s asked, “What do you love?” The attention is turned to the reader. I love this. But even before we get there kids will speak out and say, “I love that too…That’s one of my favourite things.” The world is uncharted territory for our youngsters. While there’s many things that can get us down, it’s important to highlight all the glorious things we can sometimes take for granted. It’s also exciting for them to discover what brings them joy. Rather than piggybacking off a friend’s or another family member’s interests, it’s important for kids to know themselves, to know what they love. Although these two stories follow a similar pattern, they’re unique from each other, just as we’re all unique.
Each book is beautifully designed. I Am Doodle Cat varies its scenes. We visit Doodle Cat in the home, out and about. There’s illustrations isolated by white, others rich in colour, even a fantastic flat lay (the “I love maths” page shown here), and other characters join in. Britta’s illustrations in Oskar Loves… are textured and natural in tone. “Oskar loves walking in the moonlight,” is a standout.
Haz loves, “Diving under the waves.” Iz loves, “Climbing up to the highest branch of a tree.” And, I love my baby’s pink ‘just woken up’ cheeks. What do you love?
Bold text in simple rhyme, an easy to read storyline akin to Diterlizzi’s Some Pets and Some Bugs, and striking illustrations. Spink’s birds are stars in this delightful read. Black outlines, abstract patterns and bright colours instead of feathers. My mind wandered to dream of Kandinsky, beautiful mosaics, rose windows in gothic churches, then on to moments of waiting and doodling from my childhood. My kids were eager to illustrate their own bird—one flying free. This is an excellent beyond the book activity. For younger kids, draw the black outlines and patterns yourself and get your kids to colour in the bird’s mosaic feathers.
The use of negative space for bird eyes and amongst patterns makes the illustrations appear somewhat translucent. Spink plays with scale, opposition, encourages the reader to imagine what’s going on beyond the borders of the page, and amuses with lively rhyme and a little humour. While birds aren’t named, many of them are recognisable—an eagle, woodpecker, and our favourite—penguins.
THE POLAR BEAR
Reminiscent of The Blue Whale, Desmond’s The Polar Bear is a nonfiction picture book that captivates with the range of information shared, how it imparts this knowledge, and remarkable illustrations. “Once upon a time, a child took a book from the shelf and started to read…” This child is crowned, surrounded by cuddly friends, and dressed warm for an engaging wintery read, so engaging that she joins the Polar Bear as it walks for miles over solid expanses of ice in search of food, shakes water and ice from its fur just like dogs, and swims between ice floes. This child reads a book, gains understanding, becomes aware and can in turn make a difference.
The Author’s Note introduces the story, highlighting that the polar bear is a “vulnerable and threatened species,” and that the “biggest threat to their environment is climate change.” I asked the kids how they can help. They said, “we always recycle and use our own drink bottle instead of those plastic ones you buy…I turn off switches…we ride our bikes to school…when I’m brushing my teeth I turn off the tap.”