I was scheduled to post last Tuesday but postponed it out of respect for Stephanie’s post about Maurice Sendak’s death. But there are two very special picture books I only recently discovered, and I wanted to share them with the rest of you.
The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill and Laura Huliska-Beith, according to one reviewer, is “a fresh and original twist on the common issue of bullying.” It’s also hilarious!
Officer Buckle and Gloria, by Peggy Rathmann, is a Caldecott Medal Winner from the mid-1990s. The Publisher’s Weekly review summarizes the action: “Office Buckle, a mustachioed policeman who wears a crossed-out-banana-peel patch on his sleeve, has a passion for teaching students about safety, but his audiences tend to doze off during his lectures. They awaken, however, when police dog Gloria joins Buckle onstage. As Buckle speaks, Gloria-behind Buckle's back-mimes each safety lesson (e.g., leaping sky-high for "Never leave a thumbtack where you might sit on it!" and making her fur stand on end to illustrate "Do not go swimming during electrical storms!"). School safety increases tenfold and Buckle and Gloria find themselves in great demand. But when he finally learns of his sidekick's secret sideshow, Buckle's feelings are terribly hurt. Rathmann's high-voltage cartoons, outlined in black ink for punchy contrast, capture her characters' every feeling, from Gloria's hammy glee and Buckle's surprised satisfaction to Gloria's shame at having tricked her partner. In a sound and sensitive conclusion, Gloria's disastrous attempt to go solo inspires Buckle's "best safety tip yet": "Always stick with your buddy!”
Both of these books demonstrate the power of picture books to make you laugh and also think. And both are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Not a bad start to Mother’s Day!