Families and friends make everything easier, don’t they?
Horace and Morris Say Cheese
by James Howe
ISBN: 978 0 689 83940 5
Audience: ages 3 – 8
Horace, Morris, and Dolores are the best of friends, and have been for a few books now, despite a few ups and downs that they’ve had to work through. (This is a great series for learning to navigate those bumps in the road, might I add.) This latest story addresses allergies and how tough it can be to live with even a simple allergy if it’s a food everyone seems to eat. Typical of this series, though, there’s no earnest discussion, and a clever solution to living with something you can’t change, instead.
The three of them together love nothing more than eating cheese, which leaves Dolores in a bit of a quandry when she discovers that the sneezing and hives she’s been suffering lately are in fact from that favourite acitivity! How is she going to avoid cheese when it’s all her friends eat? Turns out, her mom has some ideas that work for a while, her friends are awesome, and she’s got a great creative solution that makes even the Everything Cheese Festival liveable. Phew!
I have been a big fan of Horace, Morris, and Dolores, and really love the emphasis on strong friendship with a little room for independence. I also love the artwork, which is quirky, but not so determinedly quirky as to stray off into weird. It’s all bold colours and funny little touches that only add to the story.
The Great Big Book of Families
by Mary Asquith
ISBN: 978 0 8037 3516 3
Audience: ages 3 – 8
This book looks at families and all huge variety among them. It’s noon-fiction in a picture book form, perfect for browsing. The detailed drawings bring to mind Richard Scarry books, with lots going on to look at on each page.
Divided into topical spreads, it talks about size and makeup of families, what they eat, where they live, how they celebrate, and much more. Each topic is addressed very simply, yet the book is incredibly inclusive without becoming preachy or pointed. Instead, the tone is simply conversational, and the pictures add a lot of extra dimensions without drawing attention to them, allowing most any child to find someone like their family members in these pages.
The illustrations also hide some great humourous touches, like the bakery called “Simple Simon” and the kid wearing undies on his head (a sure crowd-pleaser). This is a great book for talking about families with kids (all kindergarten teachers should be looking for this one), but also a really nice book for perusing on their own. This one I loved so much I just bought us a copy to investigate together at our house!