Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books


Fall 2006 Picture Books
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Author: David Wiesner
Illustrator: David Wiesner
ISBN: 0-618-19457-6
Hardcover Price: $17.00
Dead center in the fish-eye lens on the cover of this fantastic visual voyage floats another lens centered in the face of an old-fashioned brownie-style box camera. Nary a word is needed to tell the story of a young boy's trip to the beach; the discovery of a camera washed up by a rogue wave; a trip to the one-hour film developers; a set of mysterious underwater images and a final photograph showing a child who is holding a picture of a child who is holding a picture of a child who is holding a picture of a child and so intriguing metaphor for looking at history through a progressive series of lenses. Multiple panels overlapping full-page spreads are filled with Wiesner's exquisite signature draftsmanship, saturated palette, and quirky details (the names of his wife and children appear on a scrap of paper tucked into one corner of the title page; an aged octopus reads a book in a comfy overstuffed underwater chair; a mysterious gear-driven fish floats past in a school of look-alikes; tiny whales swim between the legs of starfish and much much more). Textured sand-colored endpapers and a story that begins even before the title page all speak to the careful attention paid to production values in a volume whose only design flaw may be the presence of a startlingly blank white page opposite the full-page close-up of a hermit crab. An intriguing treat from beginning to end.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2006 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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