‘King Jack and the Dragon’ by Peter Bently & Helen Oxenbury is our very newest discovery. Thanks to our friends at Halifax’s Woozles Bookstore for bringing it to my attention in a recent blog posting. I promptly grabbed a copy from my Toronto Public Library branch and it passes the Imagination Test with flying colours! Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations capture the physicality of young dragon-slayers and the whimsy of their play so beautifully. I love the perfection of their blanket fort and the ‘giants’ (parents) that come and take away Jack’s playmates.
Given the impressive snow storm occurring here in Toronto and elsewhere on the eastern seaboard, we’re calling today’s ‘Rainy Day Read’ a snowy one! I’m delighted to add this little gem to my booklist for Great Imaginations. ‘Madlenka’s Dog’ by Peter Sis delighted me, my 6 year old son and my 11 year old son! The artwork is fantastic – I love a book that can stay in mainly black and white and still entrance a child. Madlenka lives in a New York City apartment complex. She wants to have a dog, she feels like EVERYONE has a dog but her. So she leashes up her (imaginary?) dog and takes it for a walk around her block. Each person she meets on her journey imagines her dog differently – their distinct images are from their childhoods and we get to see them revealed in beautiful full-colour ‘lift-the-flaps’ throughout the book. Children, memories and imaginings are the only things that show in colour in the book. My boys particularly loved the little map of the city block in the top corner of each page which showed by means of coloured dots – where the people on each page were standing in relation to Madlenka. She and her imaginary dog meet up with her friend (who has an imaginary horse) and they go to the complex’s courtyard where a number of fantastic imagined worlds are created (where horses and dogs play fantastic roles…in the flesh!)
Here’s a little Youtube video with a reading of the book, if you’d like to preview the story and see the beautiful illustrations. Check it out at your local library or bookstore.
As always, we love to hear about your favourite imagination-driven children’s literature!