Stormy: A Story About Finding A Forever Home by Guojing

Published: 17th September 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Schwartz & Wade
Illustrator: Guojing
Pages: 34
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

In this wordless picture book a woman visits a park and discovers a pup hiding under a bench–scruffy, scared, and alone. With gentle coaxing, the woman tries to befriend the animal, but the dog is too scared to let her near. Day after day, the woman tries–and day after day, the dog runs away. With perseverance and patience–and help from an enticing tennis ball–a tentative friendship begins. 

Why do I keep reading bittersweet books about abandoned dogs?! Honestly it is a real problem. Finding forever homes for little sad and lonely dogs breaks my heart but apparently I don’t mind always crying at the end of these books and getting emotional in the middle of these books and sad before I have even begun these books. And it turns out now I don’t even need text to do it.

This story is part of my new favourite type of picture book: one filled with stunning illustrations and no text whatsoever. The entire story is told in pictures and you do not need words to know what is happening. Whether this is to show the events from Stormy’s silent perspective or because Guojing’s illustrations have enough emotion and intent in them to make words redundant I’m not sure but it 100% works.

I cannot stress how divine these illustrations are. Guojing has done a brilliant job in showing emotion and scale, as well as the environment and how it reflects mood. Some pages are broken up into panels like a comic book which acts like stills from a movie so you can see the events, but others are stunning full pages . I was captivated as I “read” because as you study the images you know the story and can understand what is happening. Filled with the colours of nature and beautiful drawings I wanted to hang these pictures on my wall as well as become melancholic about them.

Of course there is a happily ever after because Guojing isn’t allowed to make us feel those emotions with no reward. But it is just another example of how beautiful storytelling not only can be wordless, but can be about real stories and full of heart.

You can purchase Stormy via the following

 Booktopia | Book Depository

Wordery | Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

 

The Crayons’ Christmas by Drew Daywalt

Published: 15th October 2019Goodreads badge
Publisher:
Penguin Workshop
Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

‘Tis the season for all of us to write our holiday wishlists. But everyone–even the crayons–know the best presents are the ones that you give. In this unique book, readers get to see how Duncan, the crayons, and their families celebrate the holidays. With real, folded letters from the Crayons that you can pull from their envelopes and read, games, punch-out ornaments, a poster, and a pop-up tree, this book is the perfect gift for fans of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home.

I was incredibly excited when I saw there was a Christmas themed Crayon book. I’ve loved the other two and to return to their funny little world was fantastic.

In this new book the Crayons are preparing for Christmas and letters keep arriving from all over the place— from travellers, from online shopping, and from numerous crayon relatives. The letters are wonderful. They’re funny, clever, and I love the interactive envelope style instead of the printed letters we’ve seen in the past. It reminds me of the old Jolly Pocket Postman books. Inside there are letters that relate to the story but there are also recipes, games, and cut outs that the reader can use and enjoy too. There is also the inclusion of other holidays and traditions which adds some diversity.

The crayons still do crayon things, they’ve melted, they lose their paper wrapping, and they have their colour themed jokes that we’ve seen in past books. Running jokes about where Duncan leaves his crayons are back too with the addresses on the various envelopes.

This time we get to see beyond just the crayon adventures as other things in Duncan’s world are animated too. As Duncan and the house set up for Christmas Daywalt shows us that mugs, decorations and stationary all interact with one another, their little quips and comments part of the charm.

Jeffers’ illustrations bring all this to light with his adorable depictions of these crayons and their holiday activities. Crayons in costumes, playing in the snow and playing rock, paper, scissors with actual paper and scissors is quite wonderful.

If you’ve loved the previous Crayon books this is definitely a fun new adventure, and one that offers more than just a delightful story.

You can purchase The Crayons’ Christmas via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust