Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I have been reading a lot of young adult literature recently and thought I would take a break and review some picture books.  My favorite picture books have great illustrations, tell an amazing story through both pictures and words, and have a great message.  I picked up two recent award winners and I am happy to report, both are very deserving of the awards they won!  Here they are!

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
Ages 7 - 11
Award: Coretta Scott King Book Award, 2010

A very different story than the following award winner, Bad News for Outlaws tells the story of an unsung hero back in the old west.  Bass Reeves started his life as a slave and when freedom was granted, became a U.S. Marshall.  He became so famous for always getting his man, that some of the most notorious, badass, criminals started turning themselves in when they heard he was on their case.  Nelson brings to life the story of this man who, up until now, has been lost in the pages of history.  With action-packed illustrations, this story is sure to engage all different readers.  I love that it appeals to boys, tells a story not often heard in African American history, and encourages everyone to fight for what they believe in.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead
Ages 5-8
Award: Caldecott Award, 2011

Amos McGee wakes up every morning and gets dressed and ready to go to work.  Amos McGee works at the zoo.  But he doesn't just clean up and feed the animals.  He plays chess with Elephant, he helps Rhino blow his nose, he sits and ponders with shy Penguin.  One day, Amos McGee is too sick to go to the work.  Lonely without him, the entourage takes the bus to Amos's house and take care of him.  Stead's illustrations are created with woodblock and pencil and create a classic feel to this story of love.