Holiday books: Picture books for children – Minneapolis Star Tribune

December 12, 2021 by No Comments

Grandmother’s Pigeon
By Louise Erdrich, illustrated by Jim LaMarche. (University of Minnesota Press, ages 5-9, $17.95.)

What a magical story this is! Grandmother, a “far more mysterious woman” than her family realized, sails away to Greenland on the back of a porpoise. A year later, in Grandmother’s cluttered room — filled with art and exotic collections — strange pigeon eggs begin to hatch. Out pop three fledgling passenger pigeons — a species that has long been extinct. Should the family turn them over to science? Or set them free? Erdrich’s captivating story, first published in 1996, is about the mystery and resilience of nature — and humans’ responsibility to help. LaMarche’s realistic illustrations keep the story grounded, even as they glow with an unearthly light.

If You Want to Knit Some Mittens
By Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Angela Matteson. (Boyds Mill Press, ages 4-8, $17.99.)

If you want to knit some mittens, writes Salas in her amusing new picture book, you have to start with a sheep. That’s step one. The fact that “knit your mittens” is step 18 gives you an idea of how thorough (and funny) this step-by-step book is. Matteson’s acrylic, gouache and colored pencil illustrations include clever details (the pig on the handcart is my favorite) with occasional hints of Grandma Moses.

Jayden’s Impossible Garden
By Mélina Mangal, illustrated by Ken Daley. (Free Spirit, ages 4-9, $16.99.)

“There’s no nature here in the middle of the city,” Jayden’s mother tells him, but a friendship with a neighbor teaches him otherwise. Together, the two plant a garden inside milk jugs and coffee cans. The blooms attract hummingbirds and other creatures, delighting the children of the neighborhood. Mangal’s story is simple and sweet, with instructions on how to make one’s own urban garden. Daley’s cheerful paintings highlight color and natural beauty in a gritty landscape.

See the Dog: Three Stories About a Cat
By David LaRochelle, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. (Candlewick, ages 4-8, $8.99.)

The sequel to the Geisel Award-winning “See the Cat” has the cat filling in for the under-the-weather dog, gamely trying its best to dig a hole, swim and herd sheep, all most unnatural actions for a cat. “Help! Help! Save me! I am drowning!” it finally screams, paws over its eyes. The dog comes prancing back to take over, but the cat (of course) gets the last laugh. LaRochelle’s few but hilarious words and Wohnoutka’s cheery illustrations are a winning combination.

<p id="…….



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *