Friday, August 20, 2010

Make Room for Brontorina!

I received my first-ever review copy of a picture book today, and I am thrilled. I'm thrilled that a publisher (Candlewick Press in this case) was happy to send me a copy, and I'm thrilled that I enjoyed the book so much.

Brontorina, by James Howe (author) and Randy Cecil (illustrator), is the story of a dinosaur with an unlikely dream. But with good friends and a dedicated dance teacher by her side, Brontorina's dream becomes a reality. The biggest challenge along the way (besides finding some shoes that fit her!) is finding a space big enough for Brontorina to dance in.

In a note that came with my review copy, James Howe says that Randy Cecil's "palette, style, and sly sense of humor are a perfect match for my words, and--as happens with the best illustrators--he has created visually a world I could only see as a sort of half-formed dream as I wrote." I couldn't agree more that the text and illustrations of this book blend so well together that it is hard to tell which ideas were the author's and which were the illustrator's.

My review of Brontorina may be slightly biased since I am still overexcited that I received a copy for free, but when I read it to my unbiased three-year-old earlier tonight, she cried so much every time I tried to put the book away that I had to read it three times before she would settle down. She has always liked books, but this was not normal behavior for her. I think she just really really liked this book, too!

Brontorina may be big, but she eventually finds a space with enough room for dancing. I'm sure a lot of people will find room for Brontorina on their bookshelves, too. 

Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery was James Howe's very first book, published in 1979. I still have my own copy--yellowing pages and all--from when I was growing up. A 25th anniversary collection of the first three books in the Bunnicula series came out a few years ago. What a pleasant surprise to find out that the same James Howe who wrote one of my favorite childhood series is still writing books--and ones about dancing dinosaurs to boot!

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