Wednesday, January 6, 2010

There's a Cow Under My Bed! / There's a Goldfish in my Shoe!

by Valerie Sherrard, illus by David Jardine
Tuckamore Books, 2008 / 2009

These fun, rhyming picture books star Oscar Ollie Brown, a boy who can't understand his mother. She says the strangest things: "You must have ants inside your pants," "A frog is in your throat," "Can't you hold your tongue?" "Be a lamb." Oscar Ollie Brown takes all her statements literally, which makes for some humorous interpretations and outcomes. These stories are very reminiscent of Tedd Arnold's Parts and More Parts, which are equally wonderful books. Rhyming is never easy - Valerie and Tedd just make it look so. In terms of text There's A COW Under My Bed! was justifiably nominated for a 2010 Blue Spruce Award.

I'm not so fond of the illustrations by David Jardine, however. While their cartoonish nature is appropriate, the colours are dark, morbid, and macabre, and the representations of characters and situations can only be described as creepy.

I believe there are more Oscar Ollie Brown books to come, and I will look forward to reading them while averting my gaze from the pictures. I can only hope that an alternate illustrator will be selected for the remaining texts, but I fear it's a faint hope indeed.


Kimber said...

Illustrations are SO important! I wonder if it's the editor's choice or whether the author ever gets a say? I hope that never happens to any of your books when they get published.

Diane Girard said...

The publisher almost always picks the illustrator for picture books and I understand 'dark' illustrations are popular at the moment.