Three picture books worthy of purchase are “A Cat Named Swan” by Holly Hobbie, “A Greyhound, A Groundhog” by Emily Jenkins, and “Pig the Winner” by Aaron Blabey.
“A Cat Named Swan” is written and illustrated by Holly Hobbie, and the illustrations, in watercolor, pencil and ink, are magnificent. What is unusual about the story line is that unless the reader begins by really examining the title page with the illustration of the mama cat and several kittens cuddled in a box that is lined with a striped shirt, the first page of text doesn’t make sense. It’s an illustration of a tiny kitten in front of the same box, alone.
“Then he was alone. Where was his mother? What had happened to his brothers and sisters? They were gone.”
Life is tough for a kitten without a home and without a mama to show him how to survive. This unlucky/lucky kitten is soon swept up, taken away from the dangers of the street and to a place where he is given food and time to get used to his new surroundings. Then the kitten is adopted, and he is given a name, Swan. He is loved, he is safe, and he is part of a family. Now, life is perfect.
The publisher sums this book up perfectly: “This story tugs the heartstrings and is a testament to the importance of pet adoption and the powerful ways that pets connect with their people.” (Published by Random House Books for Young Readers)
“Pig the Winner” by Aaron Blabey is the story of a spoiled, selfish and silly pug named Pig who just has to win. He has won by cheating and throwing tantrums, and when he’s won (fairly or not) he’s rubbed it in. But one day, something happens that changes Pig’s obsession with winning. He becomes a different Pig, at least for a bit. The moral of the story? Kids will have fun discussing this one! Is it that like the fable of the scorpion and the frog, nature will out? Or is it that dogs (people) can change, but not perfectly? ((Scholastic Press)
“A Greyhound, A Groundhog” by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Appelhans is a picture book for young listeners and young readers who enjoy word play and animals.
The words and the soft, joyful illustrations whirl and work together in a beautiful partnership. The greyhound and the groundhog dance, they marvel at a butterfly, they play together. Even the dust jacket is beautifully rendered with the illustrations of the greyhound and the groundhog shiny and smooth and the title — “a greyhound, A GROUNDHOG” in different fonts, colors and script. This is a picture book that will be read over and over again and then passed down as a childhood favorite. It’s really fun to read, and kids will quickly learn to read along. (Schwartz & Wade Books)
Please note: These reviews are based on the final, hardcover books provided by the publishers for review purposes.