Illustrations or story patterns…but not both

Vibrant illustrations or rhythmic stories usually carry a children’s book from shelf to lap. Looking at two recently purchased books it occurred to me how difficult it is to have both in the same book.

In “How to Find a Fox” by Nilah Magruder, the illustrations really carry the story. The little girl narrator is beautifully drawn and her precociousness jumps off the page. The Fox comes off as appropriately sly and wily as foxes are often found in story books. However, the story itself is a bit choppy and without a rhyme or rhythm is a little difficult to hold the listener. I’d recommend this, though, for the illustrations alone and the story’s main point of learning that sometimes things come to you when you least search for them.

“Mamasaurus” by Stephan Lomp is story-driven. There is an easy rhythm to the story of how the babysaurus asks each prehistoric character encountered about whether they’ve seen the mama. It includes a subtext about different perspectives of big and small and how different individuals have different strengths. The basic illustrations are enough for the page but don’t add anything beyond the story itself.

Both of these books have been kid-approved by a preschooler and a toddler. Each would be a pleasing addition to a bookshelf depending on whether you are into illustrations or storytelling.

These reviews were also placed on Amazon, Goodreads, and LibraryThing. The copies reviewed will eventually hit a little free library, once the children outgrow them.

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