Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Puppies and Piggies

I was noticing recently that Cynthia Rylant is one of those authors whose books always account for a lot of shelf space at the library, and in her case there are Rylant shelves in almost every area of the library, from picture books (Cat/Dog Heaven), to the early readers (Mr. Putter and Tabby), all the way up to the teen shelves. I've sampled some of each, and have never been disappointed. She seems to never forget who she's writing for at each moment. After the hundredth book, I wonder how she keeps coming up with names for the dedication page.

Enough fawning. Rylant's new picture book, Puppies and Piggies, illustrated by Ivan Bates, is a gem. The text is a catchy, easy rhyme that could be sung as easily as read. She paints short caricatures of many animals on a farm.

Bunny loves some lettuce,
Bunny loves some peas.
Bunny loves to hide herself
Among the apple trees.

The last rhyme is about the baby. Then the poem changes for one more stanza.

Happy piggies, happy puppies,
Happy babies, too.
Happy little lovey-doveys...
Just like you!

At this all of the animals are racing to peer in at the sleeping baby. Can you see how this would make a great lullaby?

The illustrations are soft and playful to match the text. Bates uses an interesting combination of wax crayon and watercolor. The result is lovely.

I hope this one will be adapted to a board book someday. In the meantime I'll read it to Maya keeping those fragile pages just out of reach.

No comments: