Mannis, Celeste Davidson illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline. Queen’s Progress: An Elizabethan Alphabet. Viking, 2003. ISBN 978-0670036127 48 pp. $
I haven’t had much reading time lately… right before bed I am reading a book about how to have a dog without feeling guilty and stressful (by the way, I don’t have a dog) and I keep falling asleep after like 3 sentences. Anyway, I just read The Queen’s Progress: An Elizabethan Alphabet by Celeste Davidson Mannis and Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. First of all, the illustrations are amazing. They are richly detailed and just beautiful. An award should be awarded. They are just absolutely gorgeous. I think you will find something new to look at every time you look at the book.
Everything about the book is brilliant…each letter is represented in a small rhyme and for each letter a very informational blurb is included relating to the rhyme. For example C is for “crown”, there’s a little rhyme, and then the blurb talking about how Queen Elizabeth had the “common touch” and it matches what’s going on in the illustration perfectly. It just all blends together nicely. And you will not be disappointed by “X”! Oh and it has a great author’s note. The topic is so fascinating and it will be great for anyone (young or old) interested in Queen Elizabeth. Not one of those school assignment books and isn’t that a relief!
Gaiman, Neil. illus. by Dave McKean. The Wolves in the Walls. Harper, 2005. ISBN 978-0380810956 56 pp. $8.99
I also read The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Dave McKean. Gaiman wrote Coraline and McKean illustrated that too. I read Coraline when it first came out and the words I use most when talking about it at the library are “creepy” and “surreal” and both those descriptions apply to Wolves as well. Man, is this book creepy…and funny! In that sarcastic, witty, grown-ups-don’t-always-know-best kind of way. The images are pretty frightening. This book just stays with you like Coraline did. Neither would go on my all-time favorites list… I like them, but I don’t love them… but they’re intriguing and to me that makes them valuable.
I would give a kid Wolves if they loved Coraline and craved more or to one of those real hard to please types … you know the ones, they come into the library already thinking the library is lousy and old fashioned and then they are surprised that you have DVDs and computers. This book would give them a nice shock to the system.