Picture Book Reviews

Painting Pepette: A Picture Book Review

Painting Pepette by Linda Ravin Lodding and Claire Fletcher Josette Bobette lives at #9 Rue Laffette, Paris with her family and her toy rabbit, Pepette. Josette loves Pepette dearly and takes her everywhere. One day when she and  are cuddling in the great room, she notices that every member of the Bobette family has a portrait hanging on the wall. Except that there is no portrait of Pepette!

Determined to fix this egregious omission, Josette and Pepette take to the streets of Paris to find an artist who can paint Pepette’s portrait and create a picture as special as she is in Painting Pepette (2016) by Linda Ravin Lodding, illustrated by Claire Fletcher.

Traveling through the busy streets of 1920s Paris, Josette and Pepette meet Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, and Henri Matisse. Each artist is eager to paint Pepette but Josette soon realizes that none of them quite capture everything that makes her rabbit so special (and Pepette has to agree). After a busy day and several portraits, Josette realizes that she is the best candidate to paint a portrait of Pepette and she finally finds a picture just as special as her special friend, Pepette.

Rhyming names and a repeated refrain (And Pepette had to agree) make this an excellent story time title with a lot of potential as a read-a-loud. Bold illustrations take advantage of the large page size alternating between detailed two-page spreads and closer shots of individual characters. Fletcher excellently conveys the individual styles and aesthetics of each artist that Josette encounters during her travels.

The famous artists are not mentioned by name in the story. Instead, each artists presents Josette with their portrait of Pepette which demonstrates their artistic style. An author’s note at the end of the book details exactly who Josette meets during her day too. The references to actual artists make Painting Pepette a versatile read sure to appeal to art enthusiasts both young and old.

Painting Pepette is a charming picture book filled with riotously colorful illustrations and naturally flowing text which easily moves readers through the story.

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

Picture Book Reviews

Cockatoo, Too: A Picture Book Review

Cockatoo, Too by Bethany Deenie MurguiaAll manner of marvelous things happen when two cockatoos become friends in Cockatoo, Too (2016) by Bethanie Deeney Murguia.

Cockatoo, Too starts with one lone cockatoo against a backdrop of colorful jungle plants. When one cockatoo becomes two and then four, all manner of fun ensues complete with tutus. But when tutued toucans begin to can-can, will the cockatoos be able to keep up?

It turns out the answer is yes as Cockatoo, Too ends with a raucous bird-filled dance party (with owls too!) that proves to be too much for one dazed baby bird.

Cockatoo, Too is a delightful bit of wordplay throughout. The rhythmic repetition of the text makes this an ideal read-aloud. The picture book uses a handful of words to deliver a tongue-twistingly funny story with a cast of characters readers won’t soon forget.

Murguia’s illustrations use varied shades of green for leaves and colorful tropical flowers to sketch out a jungle setting for this deceptively simple tale. Cartoonish charm only makes these talented birds more appealing.

With funny details on every page (tutued toucans, anyone?) and a text that rolls trippingly off the tongue, Cockatoo, Too is an absolute joy to read-a-loud or to read one-on-one. A must read.

Possible Pairings: Big Bear Little Chair by Lizi Boyd, Orange Bear Apple Pear by Emily Gravett,  Bears on Chairs by Shirley Parenteau and David L. Walker

*An advance copy of this picture book was acquired from the publisher for review consideration*