For the Love of Reading

Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me, by Danielle Marcotte, illustrated by 

Josée Bisallion; Owl Kids; $16.95, 32 pages, ages 2-5. 

Canadian publisher Owl Kids Books is making a splash in the spring market (see our recent review of Skunk on a String) with expertly crafted children’s books, and Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me does not disappoint. Here we meet a young boy just discovering the joys of independent reading. A supporting cast of friends, family, and neighbors also illustrate that reading isn’t limited to books: clocks, palms, thermometers, and facial expressions require such examination. 

As part of a growing group of adult writers turning their attention to the booming children’s literature marketplace, Danielle Marcotte makes a seamless transition to the world of whimsy, with uncomplicated sentences full of joy. Cut-paper artwork by fellow Canadian Josée Bisallion is large and welcoming–each page showcases all the different ways we read. 

Originally published

in 2013

by Montreal-based Les 400 coups  as Papa, maman, nos livres et moi, this book celebrates the pleasures and adventures of reading, no matter the format or language. 

Skunk on a String, by Thao Lam; Owl Kids Books, $18.95, 40 pages, ages 2-6.

This wordless picture book about a high-flying skunk is a surprisingly adorable tale about overcoming adversity and prejudice. Young readers will adore following the hapless critter as he tries to enlist Good Samaritans to untie him from the tail of a balloon. Instead, he’s shoved away–he is a skunk, after all–and he floats above a parade, over a zoo, and even under water. Eventually, the skunk is released from his aerial bondage, only to realize he rather enjoyed the high life. Thao Lam’s charming paper collage art in a dizzying array of spots, stripes, and polka dots evoke a bustling cityscape. (Readers may recognize Lam’s art from Cricket and Highlights magazines, where she’s a regular contributor.) Skunk on a String is a subtle riff on the old adage, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” without uttering a word.