I am a big fan of cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, creator of the comic strip Mutts. I was thrilled when one of our publishers, Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers, announced back in 2005 that they were going to be publishing his picture books. Each book that we've published since has been unique and now holds a place of honour on my bookcase of favourite children's books: The Gift of Nothing, Art (a Dewey Diva pick back in Spring 2006), Hug Time, and Just Like Heaven. I love the simplicity of the artwork but also appreciate the thoughtful themes that McDonnell includes in each new book- be it finding the true spirit of giving during the holidays or a gentle reminder to help the endangered animals of the world.
His latest release South is an absolutely charming, wordless picture book.
Mooch the cat comes across a little yellow bird who has become separated from it's flock. Offering his paw to the bird, Mooch takes his new friend across the city, countryside and forest, persisting through snow and in spite of fatigue. Eventually the two locate the flock and have to say goodbye. It's a simple story of being a good Samaritan/good friend that makes you feel warm & fuzzy inside. The book's wordless format will encourage creative young minds to tell the story their own way.
Little Brown has created Mutts Storytime kits, complete with activities and a fantastic cardboard standee (pictured below). Quantities are limited, but while supplies last I'd be happy to send one out to libraries (Canada only) upon request! As always, please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to request and be sure to provide the full mailing address of your library/school library.