Thursday, July 18, 2013

Roxaboxen and Extra Yarn

For my first ever review of picture books, I selected two personal favorites. First up is my childhood favorite, Roxaboxen. Then I'll review a recent favorite, Extra Yarn.

Written by Alice McLerran
Illustrated by Barbara Cooney
Picture Book
Lethrop, Lee & Shepard, 1991
32 pages (softcover)

Roxaboxen is about a group of children who create their own town out of boxes and rocks that litter a nearby field in their rural town. They have ice cream shops, battles, and sea glass decorations. As a child, I found their world absolutely enchanting. Nowadays, this book makes me nostalgic. It carries me back to the age of five, when every moment - and every cardboard box - was filled with possibility.

The writing is simple and beautiful, providing just the right amount of detail. Barbara Cooney's illustrations bring everything to life perfectly.

Roxaboxen is based on a real place where the author played as a child. Roxaboxen Park in Yuma, Arizona is a memorial to the book. Here's a picture taken during the annual Roxaboxen Festival at the park.

Grade: A

One of the perks of working at a library is getting to see new books. My favorite picture book I discovered while working at the library (so far) is Extra Yarn.

Extra Yarn
Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
Picture Book
Balzer + Bray, 2012

Extra Yarn begins with a never-empty box of rainbow colored yarn and tells the story of Annabelle, a little girl who brings a dull town to life with her love of knitting. Her creativity knows no bounds. Before long, she's kitting for neighborhood dogs, cars, and houses. She shares her joy with the whole town, until a greedy archduke tries to take the magic box of yarn away. Klassen - of I Want My Hat Back fame - illustrates with his trademark simplicity and humor.

Clever and sweet, Extra Yarn is certain to stick around for a long time.

Grade: A+

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