A couple of days off and now we're back again, ready to read some more fantastic picture books!
Here's what we read tonight...
1) Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles - Steve Antony (Author & Illustrator)
I really don't think I'm likely to find a concept that I like more than this all year: a war between green lizards and red rectangles. Why are they warring? How are they warring? Steve Antony, please write the deep and dark history that this topic clearly deserves!
That aside, I really do love when someone creates a story with a premise as madcap as this. Of course it's mad, but it feels perfectly natural in a picture book. 'What are we fighting for?' yells one green lizard before he's squished by a red rectangle. We don't care, of course, we just want to see the absurdly daft idea of green lizards fighting self aware red rectangles. Honestly, just how DO red triangles even fight?! Well, you'll have to read it to have any idea...
In terms of illustrations, there's really only two colours in this book, which helps identify the two sides very well indeed (lizards and rectangles not being obvious enough for me, apparently), but they're delightful as you'd expect, and I really can't emphasise just how much I love seeing these red rectangles trying to fight.
Lovely truce and solution to their war at the end, too! Wonderful stuff!
Chris says: Utterly random and fantastic for it. I desperately wish I had this sort of insane creativity!
Josh says: I like the red rectangles.
Xander says: I like the green lizards.
2) Roo the Roaring Dinosaur - David Bedford (Author) & Mandy Stanley (Illustrator)
Well this is an utterly heartwarming tale of giving up something precious for a friend who needs it more! Little Roo goes everywhere with his blanket, Moomie, but when his new friend Wooly needs to patch up his hot air balloon to return home, there's only one solution, leading Roo to make the difficult decision to give up the thing that goes everywhere with him...
I mean, you just can't help feeling good after reading something touching like that, can you? Especially when Mandy Stanley has drawn such darn cute characters to go along with David Bedfiord's words! Josh gave me a huge smile when we'd finished reading it, and I think it had triggered happy memories of playing with his friends and the fact that they always seem to be lending each other their favourite toys with no demands on when they need to be returned (seriously, ask any of the parents around here - our kids are always coming back with toys that aren't theirs!).
A lovely little tale about friendship that will cheer up any fractious bedtime!
Chris says: Any story that encourages the selflessness of true friendship is a winner for me! I didn't cry, but I did have a bit of an emotional wave at one point...
Josh says: I like that he gave his blanket to his friend.
Xander says: I like the mammoth.
3) Are You Sitting Comfortably? - Leigh Hodgkinson (Author & Illustrator)
There's a wonderful poetic quirkiness about Are You Sitting Comfortably?. It's sort of a book about a quest, with the quest being the perfect place to sit and read a book, but at the same time it's not really that, but more a comment on just how wonderful reading is altogether and that the perfect place is wherever you happen to be at that moment, particularly if there are friends around to share the story with. A fine message if ever there was one!
What I thought was great about the illustrations was that for ever place the boy in this story went to, he picked up a new follower that joined him on each subsequent spread, so that by the end of the book he had a whole group of new friends who were excited about being read to. It's little details like that in a book that often elevates it for me, so it was great to notice this and be able to tell the kids to look out for it as well!
I don't think Josh and Xander really care where we read either, as long as we're reading some fantastic stories. This is another such fantastic story to add to our collection!
Chris says: Books like this one fire up a child's imagination so well because they get them thinking about all the strange and wonderful places they could read, before pointing out that they've just been on this wonderful trip in their own minds while being sat right there in (most likely) an ordinary or usual place, like the living room or bedroom. You definitely don't need to go anywhere special to read a book; you just need an author or illustrator crafting the way for you!
Josh says: I like reading anywhere.
Xander says: I like the cat.
So, to summarise Day 86:
We loved the utter randomness of green lizards fighting red rectangles in Steve Antony's book on the same subject, the lovely friendship in Roo the Roaring Dinosaur, and the wonderful message about reading wherever you want to from Are You Sitting Comfortably?
Basically, we loved our evening of reading as we have done so often during the Picture Book Challenge! So many times we've read books that I've extolled the virtues of the next day in work to numerous people, and I think all three of these have got people that I know would love them.
I'm so pleased that we're undertaking this challenge - what immense fun!