As my son gets older, I am trying to discover more and more children’s books to read to him and to have him read to me. It’s a tough job, because the number of children’s books on the market is mind-boggling. Some are really great, and some leave you scratching your head wondering why they were even published.
However, I have learned one universal truth with books for kids … if the pictures aren’t good, you’ll lose their interest. It doesn’t matter if the story is amazing, uplifting, or funny … bad pictures equals bad book! Recently, I discovered some books illustrated by Roger Duvoisin, a Swiss-born Caldecott Medal winner who has an illustration style that I consider timeless and captivating.
The House of Four Seasons is written and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin, and tells us the story of a family of four who bought a new house. It was an older house in need of some work and a fresh coat of paint, so they had to decide what color to paint the house. Each member of the family wanted a different arrangement of colors, one wanted a spring-colored house, one summer, one autumn, and one winter. Eight different colors with no overlap sounds like a horrible looking house, but the family agrees to paint each side of the house different, so that each member of the family is happy.
However, when they go to the paint store, they are missing most of the colors the family wanted. The father decides to buy red, blue, and yellow and teach his family how to make other colors from the three primary colors. After making purple, orange, green, and brown, he goes on to show them how white is all colors, and that is the color they decide to paint their house. Not only is this book educational, it’s also delightful to read and see.
The Frog in the Well is a lovely children’s book written by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin. In this story, we meet a frog who lives in a well, and that well is his entire world. It is full of water, bugs, and serves as a fine home and mirror, because he can look in it whenever he wants and see how handsome he is. (Shallow much?) One day the well dries up, and he decides it’s time to leave the well, and see the end of the world.
On his journey, he meets a cow and inquires if he has reached the end of the world. The cow informs them that this was a meadow, but if they want to find the end of the world to keep heading towards a marsh. Within the marsh, he runs into a swarm of black birds, who again inform him that this is not the end of the world. A deer in the woods gives him the same message. Then, the frog stops, listens, and hears millions of others frogs.
He is now faced with a decision. Does he live like the other animals he met, go back to his well, and decide to live in his small little world? Or does he join the millions of frogs and see how big the world really can be? Ultimately, he chooses the latter and the better choice. Excellent message that is charmingly illustrated. Highly recommended!
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Copyright 2019 Stuart Dunn
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