- Poppy Pickle
- written and illustrated by Emma Yarlett
- published by Templar Books (Candlewick Press) (2016)
- Roar Score: 5/5
Emma Yarlett’s previous book, Orion and the Dark, was one of the most fantastic surprises of 2015 for us, in terms of picture books. So it shouldn’t come as much surprise that her follow-up, Poppy Pickle, is near the top of the list for 2016.
Where Orion and the Dark was about a young boy who brings the darkness to life, Poppy Pickle is about a young girl with a similar power. Except instead of animating her biggest fear, she uses her imagination to conjure a bit of magic and make life just a shade more interesting.
- The Wonder
- written and illustrated by Faye Hanson
- published by Templar Books/Candlewick Press (2015)
- Roar Score: 4/5
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” –Pablo Picasso
I have to admit, I’m kind of a sucker for books that extol the wonders (excuse the pun) of one’s imagination. And The Wonder by Faye Hanson does this beautifully.
We follow a young boy as he makes his way to school with his head full of wonderings and musings about the world around him. He of course wonders about some of the common things all kids wonder: where birds fly to and how clouds are formed. But, somewhat unusually, he also wonders how street signs taste.
This is a kid after my own heart.
- Troll and the Oliver
- written and illustrated by Adam Stower
- published by Templar Books (Candlewick Press) (2015)
- Roar Score: 4/5
Just reading the title should clue you in that this is a twist on the standard “monster vs boy” tale. Every day, Troll goes out and tries to catch and eat an Oliver. But Olivers are pretty sneaky and – as it turns out – exceedingly hard to catch.
The cat and mouse game, as it were, continues for some time. And the Oliver, though seemingly quite innocent, is all too eager to tease Troll and literally sing about his failures right to his face.
When Troll finally gives up, the Oliver immediately notices his absence. And just when life returns to “normal” (cue the clickbait headline writers)…you’ll never guess what happens next!
Orion and the Dark is an absolute charm from beginning to end. The story is about a little boy (Orion) who is scared of a lot of things … but mostly the dark. As you can probably guess, he’s not a big fan of bedtime and all of the darkness that usually comes with that.
But one night, something strange happens. The Dark comes alive and creeps down into Orion’s bedroom … and it turns out not to be as scary as Orion thought. In terms of bedtime / scared-of-the-dark stories, there’s really not much new ground to tread, but this one, like I said, is a charm.