Sunday, January 17, 2010

Emily Gravett: Picture Book Author/Illustrator Worth Checking Out

In the four years since Emily Gravett's first book Wolves came out, she has written and illustrated eight noteworthy children's picture books. Each one of them is unique, clever and ends up sneaking up on you. I found myself finishing up one, and then turning back to page one and re-reading it right away. She is an author we will hear much from in the coming years.

Written and Illustrated by: Emily Gravett
Recommended Ages: 4-8

This clever story stars a rabbit that goes to the West Bucks Public Burrowing Library and checks out a book about wolves. As the story unfolds, we see the rabbit-with nose in book-devouring factual information about wolves (ie. an adult wolf has 42 teeth), while at the same time being stalked by a wolf. As the book goes on, the rabbit becomes smaller and smaller, while the wolf becomes larger and more threatening. Eventually the rabbit realizes the trouble he is in, and the result is a partially eaten book and no rabbit. But never fear, on the next page the author points out that the book is a work of fiction and "no rabbits were eaten during the making of this book." She then goes on to provide an ending for "sensitive readers," that's very tongue in cheek and quite funny. If your child is quite sensitive, you might skip this book. But if your child has a good sense of humor, likes learning facts about wolves and appreciates looking at the subtle details in pictures, then this book is a good choice.

Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears (Kate Greenaway Medal (Awards))

Written and Illustrated by: Emily Gravett
Recommended Ages: 4-8

This is a beautiful picture book using mixed-media images that will delight children and adults alike. At the heart of the story is a little mouse that uses a journal to illustrate his fears. Pencil in hand, the little mouse draws his reactions to phobias like Clinophobia (the fear of going to bed) and Teratophobia (fear of monsters) by drawing a bed with seven pairs of scary eyes under it. There are lots of fold outs, torn pages and flap lifts for kids to spend time on and parents to marvel at. As you go through the pages, and learn about real fears such as chronomentrophobia (fear of clocks) and the slightly made-up fear of whereamiophobia (fear of getting lost), you begin to wonder how she will end the book. Well, most perfectly, if I do say so myself. The last three pages contain the lines: "I'm afraid of nearly everything I see. But even though I'm very small...she's afraid of me." And there on the page is the little mouse looking up at a pair of giant feet standing on a chair. It's a reassuring book about facing ones' fears.

Orange Pear Apple Bear

Written and Illustrated by: Emily Gravett
Recommended Ages: 1-3

For the youngest readers, Emily Gravett introduces us to Orange Pear Apple Bear. It has just five words in it, and yet she playfully arranges them to tell a tale of a bear playing and interacting with fruit. It's visually appealing to look at, and parents can point out colors and shapes to their eager toddlers. Will not disappoint.

BookNosher Tidbits: Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears won the Kate Greenaway medal. Wolves was the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Award for Illustration. Orange Pear Apple Bear was a Quills Award finalist and on the shortlist for the Kate Greenaway Medal, was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year and a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year.

BookNosher Activities: Definitely check out Emily Gravett's website. She has activities and games that go along with her books. It's a very well-designed, interactive site.


Pippi said...

I love the illustrations of Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears. Thanks for sharing.

a. fortis said...

These sound really cool! I don't know Emily Gravett--I confess I'm more on the MG/YA spectrum when it comes to my kidlit reading--but I'll have to look for these.

Helena Harper said...

Thank you for introducing me to this author. She obviously combines imagination with humour and that is a great combination!

Helena Harper

Robin Gaphni said...

I hope you all like her as much as I do. And do check out her fabulous website!

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Maren said...

I just happened upon your blog and just wanted to say that I enjoy your list of picture books. I also have a blog of fun picture book discoveries, and have reviewed some of these as well...I just love children's books! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

Caroline said...

Thanks for highlighting these books - I love sharing them with families when they come to the library!

Kim Kasch said...

Love the sound of the Wolves book. Great fun!

Sandra Stiles said...

Emily Gravett is an author I am not familiar with. However I believe my granddaughter and I will become very familiar with her very soon. Thanks for the heads up. The books look very interesting.

Anonymous said...

My two favorite animals rabbits/wolves must read that one! I also think I've read Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears or at least it sounds familiar I should pick that one up as well. Great reads!

Callista said...

Emily Gravett sounds like a good author. Thanks for telling me about her, I'll have to go look up some her books at my library.