Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Happiness is...a good book (Summer Reading edition #33)
Author and Illustrator: Stephen Savage
Age Range: 2+
Genre: Fiction/Picture Book
Cover Score: ****
Overall Score: ****
First Sentence: wordless!
A sneaky walrus takes advantage of naptime at the zoo to escape his small pool and venture out into the city. Using a variety of hats, the walrus is able to evade the zookeeper by blending into his surroundings. He starts out in a fountain, joins a line of businessmen eating at a lunch counter, shows off his curves in a department store window, helps build a wall and put out a fire and even tries his hand –er flippers—at can-can dancing and painting. When he does a marvelous dive at a swimming competition his swim cap slips off and his cover is blown. But the zookeeper knows just what to do to entice him back to the zoo.
This book is completely wordless with simple graphic illustrations in muted colors with very little detail. (For example, a crowd of people all wearing gray merge into a sea of floating heads, the skyline shows just the silhouettes of the buildings with no other delineation for depth, no windows, etc.)
Love it! It’s best with a small group since everyone has to see the pictures to tell themselves the story but I even used it in a recent school visit and panned the book across an audience of 100+ kids up to 5th grade and they all loved it. They cheered for every escape and laughed at the hapless zookeeper’s inability to identify something so out of place as a walrus (sort of the Superman/Clark Kent effect—really? How does no one else recognize him?)
The end-pages are teal with a patchwork of white line drawings of some of the locations around town the walrus visited, adding to the charm. (Why is it that publishers so often ignore the end pages? Have I convinced you to start noticing them yet? Did I tell you I’ve been known to buy books based solely on the decoration I’ve found on them? True story.) Highly recommended!!