A story about perseverance for budding--or flourishing--engineers, both big and small. Engibear sets out to create a "Bearbot" to help him get his work done. The book counts through the various prototypes and why each doesn't work until the engineer finally is successful with Bearbot Type Ten. Benjamin Johnston's illustrations feature design schematics, diagrams, blueprints, and colorful workshop scenes that children will delight in looking at again and again.
In fact, it's the illustrations that pulled me to the book (I'd seen some of Benjamin Johnston's portfolio images online somewhere and remembered them) and they give it a five star ranking (reserved only for books that I would like to have as part of my permanent collection). The images are gorgeous combinations of science, comedy, and explosions with a touch of graphic novel mixed in. Their complexity is what gives repeat readers a new experience again and again. Just the end pages could require a half hour of pursuing to see all the details.
Cathy, guest reviewer at Children's Books Daily, says about reading the book with her 5 year old son, "We read that Bearbot’s legs are made of 'carbon-fibre segmented flexible cable with internal stabilisers'. There’s no way that the junior engineer understands this, but they are the kind of words that are sheer pleasure to roll around in his mouth. They will inevitably be incorporated into the next Lego project. Then one day he may even figure out what they mean." This is a book that has the ability to grow, with different ages pulling different information and messages from it. And it has a sequel! How awesome is that? (Cathy's review also links to an interesting interview with the author, so follow the tangent, it's fun to see photos of the original inspiration.)
A rhyming picture book about the power and destruction of an Australian bushfire with watercolor illustrations by Bruce Whatley featuring hard-hitting scenes like woods in flame, completely destroyed homes, crying families, fire-fighters at work, and animal rescuers in action. Despite the hard reality of the topic, the author and illustrator manage to end with a reminder that "King fire" only temporarily triumphs.
For those who live in an area with bush fires or who have children who have experienced bush fires, this book would be a great addition to your library shelves and way to start conversations or prepare children for fire season.
An interesting note about how the illustrations are done: instead of making them have a bleed, the original pencil outline for the main illustration box is shown along with the ragged brush strokes that spill out from it around the edges.
I should write a lot but I'll not. Suffice to say the rhyme I loved, especially the play between line lengths (and the part about the cliff).
Gus Gordon's illustrations were quite a sensation, with mixed styles combined into a single creation.
I loved the pictures, I loved the rhyme--this book is definitely worth your time.