Monday, August 13, 2012

Happiness is...a good book (Summer Reading edition #36)

Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always
Author and Illustrator: Tao Nyeu
Published: 2012
Pages: 32
Age Range: 4-8
Genre: fiction
Cover Score: ****
Overall Score: ***
Rating: G
First Sentence:One chilly day, Squid knit eight beautiful socks.

In the vein of Frog and Toad, Henry and Mudge and a million other buddy books, comes a new duo to delight and entertain. These two sea creatures are introduced in a picture book with 4 short and silly stories involving socks and mittens, tea parties, super powers, fortune cookies and more.

In my favorite of the four Octopus finds a cowboy boot which he mistakes for a hat. As he travels throughout the ocean each animal he meets marvels that he is using the item for something it wasn’t intended. Someone tells him it’s a doorstop, a soup bowl, a flower pot and so on and he readjusts how he’s using it with each encounter. In the end Squid shows up at his door wearing the mate as a hat and we are reminded why the two are such good friends!

I love the supporting cast of characters who show up occassionally in the storyline but most often just add their comments and asides as speech bubbles in the illustrations. The stories themselves are decent, kids will enjoy them but not really anything super memorable. However the illustrations are superb. They are silk screened using ink and colored pencil (no idea how that process works but it has a lovely result) and the soft blue/orange/green color pallette adds to the dreamy underwater atmosphere. Nyeu's style is instantly recognizable and is carried out to the endp pages which are light blue with white wave and sea creature designs swirled across them. Her debut book focused on a magical bear who makes a return appearance in many of the illustrations.

Very highly recommended if you are at all interested in the art of the picture book. And still recommended if you are in the market for a new set of friends to read about. Kids will enjoy the silliness and will love poring over all the humorous details throughout the pictures.

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