Unlovable by Dan Yaccarino. Who doesn’t love pugs?! This book is so endearing especially for all those who might have felt at one point in their life unlovable or for kids who might be getting picked on at school. Alfred is a pug who believes he is unlovable after a mean cat mocks the way he looks. What happens on the following pages will tell of the true meaning of friendship and the importance of self esteem.
Super Dog, The Heart of a Hero by Caralyn Buehner. Dexter is a dachshund who like Alfred is picked on by a cat. He wants to prove that he is just as strong and capable as the other bigger dogs and sets off on a transformation. I read this book to some students when I was working as a substitute teacher and they all loved this story of the underdog coming out on top. The story is good humored and filled with heart.
Chowder by Peter Brown. I heart all dogs, but pugs and bull dogs make me melt. I guess it is something about those smooshed in faces. Chowder tells the story of this special bull dog who is anything like other dogs. He likes to dig bones as if he were a paleontologist, listen to records, surf the internet and even uses the toilet. His quirkiness might lead to him feeling isolated until he figures a way to make friends. The illustrations in the book are equally delightful, very straightforward with a bit of a retro feel, reminding me a little of the animation style from Up. If you have time visit Chowder's own website.
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban. This is more of a story book than picture book, but growing up I loved this story. I had it on record and would listen to it nonstop. Francis is a precocious badger and perhaps the Olivia of her time. These books came out in the 60’ and though almost 50 years old, I feel they are a must in every girl’s library, especially early readers who will enjoy the plot and moral of the stories.
Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French- I actually bought this book 7 -8 years ago, before I even started dating Ant and I just loved how effortless yet hilarious this book is. It basically maps out the daily routine of a wombat and though it appears to be something quite mundane, it transforms itself into a very engaging and playful story. The sequel, Diary of a Baby Wombat came out this year and I must say it is almost as endearing as the first.
While We Were Out by Ho Baek Lee. Lee is a Korean writer and there is something about Asian writers and illustrators that just amaze me. Their illustrations are among, if not, my favorite illustrations out there. They are true works of art. Whenever I go to Kinokunia in the city, I always hit up the children's section because I adore looking at Japanese children's books. Their illustrations are just heavenly. While We Were Out tells the effortless tale of what a little bunny does while his owners are out for the day. His adventures might go unnoticed by his owner, and perhaps even the reader ,if it were not for the small traces of evidence the rabbit leaves behind in each page. The illustrations are delicate, uncomplicated and sophisticated.
Augustine by Melanie Watt. This is a tender story of a little penguin named Augustine who has to moves from the South Pole to the North Pole to start a new life. It deals with the topic of moving to a new location with such grace and warmth and will speak to any child going through a difficult transitional phase in their life. The illustrations are colorful and Watt does a very god job of subtly introducing certain Great Masters of Art without seeming like a reference book. Just a delightful book.
Scaredy Squirrel- By Melanie Watt as well. This is a very amusing book about a squirrel that is pretty much afraid of everything and never comes out of his tree. Being slightly hypochondriac, I can totally relate with his neurosis. It is entertaining to see at what length he will go to protect himself and even more hilarious to see what happens when he comes face to face with one of his fears. Don’t be put off by the childlike, perhaps too simplistic illustrations; this story is both comical and heartfelt.
Edwina the Emu by Sheena Knowles. When Anthony got back from Australia he brought Emma a lot of books written by Australian authors and I must say I was not impressed with them. The illustrations were just not appealing to me. He forced me to read Edwina and I must say the story is quite charming and warmhearted. It tells the story of a two emus who find out they are going to have ten babies and the momma must go out and find a job. What follows are laughable encounters with the real world and humans as she goes from job to job trying to find the perfect fit. I am still not a fan of the illustrations which appear to be almost caricature-like, but the story was one that I relate to. Emma actually likes this book and laughs at the part where Edwina tries to be a ballet dancer