The Cool Bean (#3) by Jory John

Published: 3rd December 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Harper Collins
Illustrator: Pete Oswald
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Everyone knows the cool beans. They’re sooooo cool.

And then there’s the uncool has-bean . . .

Always on the sidelines, one bean unsuccessfully tries everything he can to fit in with the crowd—until one day the cool beans show him how it’s done.

This is a fantastic book for kids who might have had friends who moved on and while they used to spend all their time together, now they’ve gone their separate ways. It can be hard seeing people you used to hang out with, especially if you’re not quite sure why you stopped hanging out in the first place.

The bean in the story tries hard to fit in with his old pod but nothing works, and while Bean thinks it’s because he is uncool, it is also showing you can’t pretend to be someone else, you can only be yourself. There’s so much kids can relate to in this story, it’s about loss, about change, but also about hope, kindness, and what being cool really means.

Once again the pun game is on point with the illustrations. Leguma Beach and The Great Gatsbean are the bean type puns we all need and I love how Oswald has created these little tiny pieces of joy in amongst his fun illustrations.

I like the formula of this series because while each story is unique, and the stories are diverse, the structure is often the same. The short sentences and miniature pictures are side by side with full page illustrations and with an absolutely delightful Jory John story through its pages what can go wrong?

You can purchase The Cool Bean via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

The Good Egg (#2) by Jory John

Published: 12th February 2019
Publisher:
HarperCollins
Illustrator: Pete Oswald
Pages: 36
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

In this follow-up to Jory John and Pete Oswald’s popular picture book The Bad Seed, meet the next best thing: a very good egg, indeed!

The good egg has been good for as long as he can remember. While the other eggs in his carton are kind of rotten, he always does the right, kind, and courteous thing. He is a verrrrrrry good egg indeed! Until one day he decides that enough is enough! He begins to crack (quite literally) from the pressure of always having to be grade-A perfect.

John’s books have fast become some of my favourites. This is another one I thoroughly enjoyed, there is such a wonderful humour that comes from the combination of illustrations and the words; the play off one another and there’s often so much to enjoy in the illustrations even when the words are self-explanatory.

The story is told through Egg’s eyes and he addresses the reader from the very start and continues to tell us his tale as the story goes on. The Good Egg tries his best to be good but he is surrounded by others in his group who misbehave and it stresses him out.

The “badness” of the other eggs are things kids can relate to like ignoring bedtimes, eating sugary cereal, and breaking things or throwing tantrums. Compared to the “good” behaviour like rescuing cats, and helping other people John contrasts how the Good Egg sees himself compared to the others in his carton.

I love Oswald’s design on the egg. The large egg and small face, with the oversized glasses is incredibly adorable. I also love how he shows his progression as he becomes more stressed at he behaviour of the others – the literally cracking of his shell is clever and his dishevelled appearance, while tragic, is incredibly humorous.

I am fascinated by the sentient foods because there is a clear and present danger of being eaten in these stories and yet the personified foods go about their lives normally. This works fine if you want to have a society of sentient food, but John has twice shown us there are humans in their world who will eat them which raises a few questions.

This is a great story about being your best self, but also about not letting the actions of other people get to you. There’s a wonderful message of self care, but also about trying to be perfect can be hard and there can be some balance in life that is still satisfying.

You can purchase The Good Egg via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

The Bad Seed (#1) by Jory John

Published: 29th August 2017Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Harper Collins
Illustrator: Pete Oswald
Pages: 34
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

This is a book about a bad seed. A baaaaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know?

He has a bad temper, bad manners, and a bad attitude. He’s been bad since he can remember! This seed cuts in line every time, stares at everybody and never listens. But what happens when one mischievous little seed changes his mind about himself, and decides that he wants to be—happy?

With Jory John’s charming and endearing text and bold expressive illustrations by Pete Oswald, here is The Bad Seed: a funny yet touching tale that reminds us of the remarkably transformative power of will, acceptance, and just being you. Perfect for readers young and old, The Bad Seed proves that positive change is possible for each and every one of us.

What I liked about the Bad Seed is we’re shown his little life story and we understand how he came to be bad. His misfortune and harsh life meant he has been altered from the happy seed he once was. I think this was incredibly clever of John because it shows no one is born bad, and even though they can do bad things, deep down there may be a reason.

John shows us that being bad doesn’t have to be forever, and that it’s ok to change your mind. I liked there wasn’t a specific event or outside influence that impacted on Bad Seed and his decision, it’s clever to make it his own choice to improve himself.

The story is funny and clever, I liked the different moments we got to see with the Bad Seed and how he lives his life. The sentences are short and there are not a lot of words on the page but each line is reflected in an illustration. Oswald has done a great job with the depiction of the character and reflecting the story around him. I loved the changes of colours and the look at the tiny world Bad Seed lives in. Also, the interactions he has with other characters show off a diverse and curious world of other food.

I am fascinated by the sentient foods in this story because there is a clear and present danger of being eaten and yet the personified foods go about their lives normally. This works fine if you have a society of sentient food, but John has shown there are humans in their world who will eat them which raises a few questions.

You can purchase The Bad Seed via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Queen Celine by Matt Shanks

Published: 1st February 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Walker Books Australia
Illustrator: Matt Shanks
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Celine Beaufort is queen of what she is quite certain is the most beautiful rock pool in the world. It’s perfect. And to make sure nothing ever changes, she decides to build a wall around it. Unfortunately, that turns out to be a royal mistake. As self-proclaimed ruler, it’s up to Celine to right her wrong and restore her rock pool to its former glory, this time with everyone welcome. 

This is a cute book and it has a nice message but it doesn’t really grab you. I didn’t entirely dislike it though, I liked the contrast between every day Celine and at the beach Celine, it highlights how this is her time to shine and become the queen she wants to be. It’s also a good story that shows Celine never intentionally means to cause any of problems that arise. It’s innocent enough and sweet enough that Celine never is shown as malicious or controlling, just a little too enthusiastic and naïve.

But while the story is a tad lacklustre, the illustrations on the other hand are the absolute best. I think I had more fun studying the cute and clever illustrations than I did reading the book. The pictures are adorable and each page is filled with a lot to look at and study. I loved the art style and I loved the tiny details that made up this beach community. Small details like little sea creatures with fun expressions are so gosh darn adorable that I can forgive the underwhelming story that goes with it.

While the story had a nice message about sharing and nature, and Shanks does do a good job in showing us all of that without actually saying it, it doesn’t quite hit the spot.

You can purchase Queen Celine via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon Aust

Don’t Feed the Coos! by Jonathan Stutzman

Published: 25th February 2020Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Henry Holt & Company
Illustrator: Heather Fox
Pages: 48
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

When you see a coo, you will be tempted to give it a treat.
Coos are adorable, peaceful, kind of silly.
But DON’T FEED THE COO!
If you feed one, they will ALL come…

So begins Don’t Feed the Coos, a cautionary tale that details the fallout when a little girl decides to share some bread with a coo (aka pigeon). From the park to home to the arcade to karate practice, the coos follow the generous-but-foolish girl who didn’t heed the warning. Because when you give a coo a crumb…the entire population of coos will come! But fret not: our spunky little heroine will discover that even the biggest of problems can be solved with a little determination.

After falling in love with Llama Destroys the World I was excited to pick up another Stutzman book and it did not disappoint. I loved the concept that once you feed a coo you are stuck with them for all time and once you feed one, others will come. The ingenuity and determination of these coos is delightful and Stutzman’s writing style elevates simple words and phrases and highlights the humour.

Fox’s illustrations are a pure delight and I thoroughly enjoyed every page. The scenarios she has included are very funny and incredibly cute and they add so much to the story. I got a lot of enjoyment from studying them and laughing at the coo’s expressions and antics, not to mention the fear then angst, then resignation on the little girl’s face as she accepts them into her family.

Stutzman’s story is quirky and fun and it would a great story to read aloud. It is a fabulous story that works in sync with the illustrations as they play off one another. With few words but stunning, detailed pictures there is a great balance that creates a well-rounded story with multiple levels of enjoyment.

You can purchase Don’t Feed to Coos! via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

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