Nothing brings a smile to my face quite like opening a box of samples to find a finished copy of a book that I fell in love with as soon as I saw the mock-up. And it is always a particularly happy day for me when that book happens to be the latest book by the wonderful Emily Gravett. I have been a huge fan of her work since her first book Wolves and now have a growing collection of her books in my home library. Her new book Dogs has finally arrived in our warehouse, and I just have to share!
Gravett tends to alternate between more sophisticated picture books (Wolves, Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears, Spells, Meerkat Mail) and those that are brilliant in their simplicity (Orange, Pear, Apple Bear, Monkey & Me, The Odd Egg). Dogs falls on the simple-yet-brilliant side. Using lovely pencil and watercolour illustrations the book showcases the wide variety of dogs that the narrator loves. From big and small, scruffy and smart, to good and bad, hairy and bald, the narrator loves them all! Many breeds of dogs are featured (and named on the endpapers) and the characteristics that make each unique breed are conveyed through the illustrations. It's both a clever book of opposites and an homage to dogs in general. The twist comes in the final spread, when the identity of the narrator is revealed, along with the type of dog he/she (I'm not telling) loves best.
To get a peek at the delightful illustrations inside Dogs, check out the book spreads on the official Emily Gravett website. Also, if you click on the activities tab on the site, you'll find a fun downloadable game that you can use for activity time (rather like a do-it-yourself Concentration/Memory game using cards made with the dogs featured in the book).
Also on the Activities page, you'll find a downloadable colour-by-numbers page featuring Duck and his beautiful egg from The Odd Egg.
Perfect for springtime Storytime, this book features a variety of animals who are waiting for their eggs to hatch. Duck, the only bird who didn't lay an egg himself , adopts a giant green and white speckled egg as his own. The other birds think it is odd, but Duck thinks it is the most beautiful egg in the world. Even after all of the other eggs hatch, Duck waits patiently. The hatching is illustrated with clever die-cut pages that show each baby and parent joyfully greeting each other for the first time as the pages turn. When Duck's egg finally does hatch, it is to reveal a surprise inside, one that may remind readers of the (also great) book Guji Guji. The detail in this book is delightful, from the various books Owl reads throughout the story, to the Parrot's gift of a mirror to its new son, to the scarf and booties Duck knits to pass the time and are worn by his new baby on the endpapers as the duo stroll away.