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Archive for the ‘children’ Category

eReaders for children’s picture books are hitting the market.  As anyone who has read with a child will tell you, it involves a lot of page turning, page touching and occasionally page tasting.  The difference in the eReading experience for children will be much more obvious than it is for adults – I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

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Stanley’s Party

I wrote this review for a children and youth collection development class.

Stanley’s Party
written by Linda Bailey
illustrated by Bill Slavin
Kids Can Press, 2003
978-1-55337-768-9 (pbk.) $6.95
for preschool to SK

Stanley the dog’s people stay out until midnight every night, leaving him all alone. He takes the opportunity to try out the couch, the radio and the leftover lasagne, but he’s still lonely. One day at the dog park Stanley realizes what he needs to do – invite some friends over! Written by Vancouver’s Linda Bailey, author of more than a dozen children’s books and illustrated by Bill Slavin, the Ontario based illustrator of more than fifty children’s books, Stanley’s Party is a winner of multiple awards, including the Blue Spruce Award and the first in a series of three Stanley books. It is one of many collaborations between the two, who have also worked together on The Farm Team, the Good Times Travel Agency series and the two Stanley sequels.

Stanley’s Party is intended for children ages three to five. The story will appeal to them, with the context of the secret world of dogs and the theme of acting out when parents (or dogparents) don’t pay enough attention. In a reversal of the usual story of a character learning a valuable lesson after breaking the rules, in this case it is Stanley’s people who learn not to leave him alone every night. Bailey writes with short punchy sentences, a nice turn of phrase and good dog dialogue. Stanley is a well realized character, and the plot is perfectly paced. The cadence of the language makes it a lovely book to read aloud.

The writing is nicely complemented by the illustrations, which have a fairly dark colour palate and a distorted perspective, conveying Stanley’s loneliness at the beginning of the book. In Stanley’s happiest moments the dark and oppressive backgrounds are replaced by white space that conveys the lightness and freedom Stanley feels. A beautiful book, Stanley’s Party is highly recommended.


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The Arrival by Shaun Tan is at once the most amazing piece of storytelling and the most amazing piece of artwork. It has no text, but tells a simple, beautiful, meaningful story flawlessly, lyrically and without any extraneous detail. It’s like a silent film in book form. I can’t possibly praise it enough.

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