Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


Two Classic Picture Books

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!


Mark said...

I have no idea how those white boxes happened! Sorry!!

David LaRochelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David LaRochelle said...

Officer Buckle and Gloria is one of my all time favorites as well, Mark.

I happened to meet Peggy Rathmann at the first national SCBWI conference in LA that I ever attended, and she is one of the warmest, most genuine, down-to-earth authors you'll ever meet.

She told the inspiration for this book. Her family was looking at a home movie they had taken at Christmas with all the folks sitting on the couch smiling. There in the background was the family dog, licking the deviled eggs on the table, unbeknownst to anyone else. Later in the movie, the family is at the table commenting on how good the deviled eggs are.

Lauren said...

I love the deviled egg story David! I met Peggy Rathman when she presented at The Red Balloon several years ago. She was genuine and friendly~ she even made a little drawing for Cooper which we still have on his wall. I love Officer Buckle and Gloria, but I think my favorite by her is "Goodnight Gorilla" -- my kids could not get enough of reading that book!
Mark, I am happy to read about a funny book about bullying. Humor is such a great way to learn and we have a lot to learn about this subject. I look forward to reading this book. Thanks.

Stephanie said...

Loved the deviled eggs story!! And Mark, I love Officer Buckle. I will have to look up the other one.

Christy said...

Mark, I agree with Lauren that humor is definitely a way to make a message stick. And Lauren, we were Goodnight Gorilla fans at our house too.

David, that deviled egg story is hysterical! Just imagine all the things our pets do behind our backs.

Edie Hemingway said...

I'm happy to see you mentioned The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill. Alexis is a friend of mine and also an SCBWI Regional Advisor in mid-coast California. I'll make sure she reads your post!