Sometimes a book's gorgeous illustrations pull me in and make me fall in love.
The book I'm reviewing for Perfect Picture Book Friday has perfect illustrations. But they aren't gorgeous. Sometimes spare lines are all a masterful storyteller needs.
Title: The HUEYS in IT WASN'T ME
Author/Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Publisher: Philomel Books, 2014
Intended age: 3-5
Themes: Interpersonal relationships (arguments), humor
Opening Line: "The thing about the Hueys . . .
. . . was that most of the time they got along."
Synopsis: A family of jelly bean-shaped multicolored creatures is in the throngs of a disagreement when their brother arrives and settles the problem in a laugh out loud moment that mirrors reality.
Why I liked this book: Kid appeal oozes off each page. These are characters that kids can easily draw imitations of. The use of white space focuses the reader on the characters and their emotions. (Do you recognize this style from The Day the Crayons Quit? Yes, same illustrator!) And the way the initial problem morphs into a blame-shifting "It wasn't me" free-for-all is funny and relatable. Although unintentional in this instance, what parent hasn't used the tactic of distraction to tame some terrible moments? (Or was I the only one?) And, honestly, I have liked all of Oliver Jeffers' books. I reviewed The Incredible Book-eating Boy last year. Although this title is the second in a series (I believe it's now at three!) featuring these characters, I hadn't heard about them and wanted to spread the word.
Resources: Temper tantrums are a fact of life. Learning to deal with emotions is a lifelong process. Behavioral advisor, "Dr. Mac" has a page on problem resolution specially for kids (I liked the tagline "Be a thinker, not a stinker"). Other sites that deal with conflict resolution are the Women's and Children's health network (with a conflict resolution quiz), the Kids Matter site describing win-lose (sharks!), win-some (compromise) and win-win strategies (creative problem-solving) for elementary school ages and older, and teaching-guide materials at goodcharacter.com.
A cute rap video about done by kids about conflict resolution:
(under 3 mins.)
This review is part of PPBF (perfect
picture book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. Along
with tons of writing wisdom, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect
Picture Books. #PPBF