Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Animal Idiosyncrasies

There will be books you read which cause an excitement to grow within you.  Each page turn reveals more inventiveness, information, humor, or opportunities.  You can't wait to read it aloud.  You can't wait to tell someone else about it.

This book, Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet (Random House Children's Books, December 4, 2018) written by Sara O'Leary (The Boy And The Blue Moon and This Is Sadie) with illustrations by Jacob Grant, is one of those books.  Readers will be continuously wondering, between bouts of giggles, if there is some truth to the statements.  Who knew our animal friends had so many hidden talents and quirks?

Alligators think you'd like them
if you got to know them.

Letter by letter from a to z, we learn and laugh.  Bears with boo-boos are just like children.  Kisses are the most requested method for healing.  It will come as no surprise elephants' hearts are most joyful when bathing.  Foxes get frantic when they can't take more photographs. 

At times the smallest creature is the most eager to explore.  Aim high little hedgehog!  Gals and guys aren't the only ones who miss their own beds during sleepovers.  Iguanas are known to be wide-eyed awake in the middle of the night.  The unicorns of the sea actually enjoy solitude.

You'll never guess which guests arrive first at a celebration.  (Clue: They wear masks twenty-four hours a day.)  One book is never enough.  Adorable voles value reading.

When you reach the letter z, you'll be grinning from ear to ear.  You'll also not be surprised at the deepest desire of zebras.  It's guaranteed you'll quickly go back to the beginning to read each animal's declaration again.

The sentences written by Sara O'Leary are infused with whimsy and wit.  She uses the physical characteristics and habits of the animals to supply readers with comedy.  We find ourselves laughing because the revelations are curiously close to the truth or completely ridiculous.  Here is another sentence.

Quail get quite tired of being
told to be quiet. 

You can already feel humor radiating from the front of the matching dust jacket and book case.  We are drawn into the image by the darker color palette and the two owls, wing tips to mouths seeking our silence and suggestive of them hiding something.  To the left, on the back, eleven of the animals are peering in from the sides and staring up at the owls.  They frame six questions about the alphabet animals.  The title text and animals are varnished.

On a sand-colored canvas on the opening and closing endpapers white letters, a to z, are placed in four rows.  The critters for each upper-case letter at the beginning are tucked behind them.  At the end, lower-case letters highlight the animals in front of them.    On the title page under the text sits the zebra, in two shades of pink.  He's holding a toy zebra.

The illustrations rendered by Jacob Grant are showcased by their placement on a white canvas.  The thicker matte finished paper is excellent for the images which range in size and shape; extending over the gutter, loose frames with elements breaking those borders, and even a cut-away picture.  The range of colors are muted.

The added elements in each scene increase the hilarity and charm.  The alligator is holding a bouquet of flowers.  Chipmunks are scampering around their house while a disgruntled parent, holding a mug with a steaming beverage, watches.  Giraffes are riding a bicycle built for two.  Two young yaks are grinning at their own jokes. 

One of my many favorite illustrations is on a full page.  Five iguanas are having a sleepover.  They are laying in a row under the cover of a large palm leaf.  The iguana on the right end is sitting up and afraid.  He is grasping a tiny purple teddy bear. 

You can be sure whether this book is read silently by an individual, shared one-on-one or with a group, there will be loads of laughter.  Owls Are Good at Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet written by Sara O'Leary with illustrations by Jacob Grant is assuredly an entertaining book about letters and animals, but it is much more.  It issues an invitation to readers to think of other animals and what they might think or do.  Readers can also delve into nonfiction research about these animals and other creatures. You will want a copy of this title on your professional and personal bookshelves.

To learn more about Sara O'Leary and Jacob Grant, please follow the links attached to their names to access their websites.  Jacob Grant also has a Tumblr site.  At the publisher's website you can view some interior pages. The book trailer is premiered at teacher librarian Matthew Winner's site along with some sentence starters that Sara and Jacob finish.  Jacob is interviewed by Maria MarshallSara and Jacob have accounts on Twitter.  You can find Sara and Jacob on Instagram.

No comments:

Post a Comment