Thursday, April 7, 2016

Children's Picture Book Reviews Roundup #8 - The Tea Party In The Woods & The Storm by Akiko Miyakoshi

My Children's Books Review Roundup features some of the picture books that I have bought, borrowed, or received and recently read to my toddler.

Disclaimer: I received both of these picture books for free in temporary ebook format from Netgalley and Kids Can Press in exchange for my honest opinion.

Title: The Tea Party In The Woods
Author: Akiko Miyakoshi
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: August 1, 2015

Kikko sets out after her father with a forgotten pie for Grandma. When she arrives at a strange house in wintry woods, a peek in the window reveals that the footprints Kikko had been following did not belong to her father at all, but to a bear in a long coat and hat! Alice in Wonderland meets Little Red Riding Hood in this charmed tale. 

My Thoughts:
One snowy morning, Kikko's father leaves for her grandmother's house to shovel snow but forgets the pie that mother made for her. Kikko decides to catch up with him to deliver it but she falls in the snow and crushes the box of pie. When she gets up she sees her father and follows him to a house that she had never seen before. She peeks through the window and finds that it was wasn't her father at all and instead was a bear! She's then discovered by a lamb and invited inside to have tea! 

I just have to say that the cover of this book does not do the illustrations inside justice. I was not too intrigued by the cover at all but of course reading the description of 'Alice In Wonderland meets Little Red Riding Hood' did draw my attention. If it hadn't of been for that description I probably wouldn't have bothered with this picture book. I'm glad I did though because the illustrations inside are lovely. I love the black and white with splashes of color. I love the trees. I love the  animals. I'm not sure what medium was used to create the illustrations (charcoal? colored pencil?) but I loved all the texture.

I must also mention that the pages with the animals staring wide-eyed when Kikko walks in was pretty creepy. I was afraid the story was going to take a dark turn at that moment but everything turned out fine.


Title: The Storm
Author: Akiko Miyakoshi
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: April 5, 2016

As this evocative picture book begins, a little boy is excited about a trip to the beach with his parents planned for the following day. But a bad storm is coming, and he has started to worry they won't be able to go. He watches as the sky grows darker through the afternoon. His mother and father close the shutters and bring the potted plants indoors. Then the storm arrives. All through dinner, the rain beats hard against the shutters. The wind howls and blows.

Author and illustrator Akiko Miyakoshi uses spare text and black-and-white drawings to echo the tension and uncertainty a child feels when encountering severe weather. The boy knows he is safe, yet danger is near. When he faces his fear in his dream, he becomes empowered by having conquered it. This is a perfect book for a quiet storytime on a rainy day. 

My Thoughts:
The boy is excited for his trip to  the beach. He's been waiting all week. But before he even gets home for school, a big storm rolls in. The boy isn't happy abaout it at all. While his parents bring in the potted plants and shutter the windows, he mopes. The storm rages so he goes to bed and dreams of how he can make the storm go away.

This is another lovely little story richly illustrated with charcoal.  The dark hues and textures really bring out the ferocity of the storm clouds. I honestly was expecting something a little poetic to accompany these illustrations. The story is simply told but I loved the imaginative bit with the dream. 

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