Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Children's Picture Book Review: Mossy by Jan Brett

Title: Mossy
Author: Jan Brett
Illustrated by the author
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Pages: 32

Who will help Mossy return home to Lilypad Pond?

Mossy, an amazing turtle with a gorgeous garden growing on her shell, loses her freedom when Dr. Carolina, a biologist, takes her to live in her Edwardian museum. Visitors flock to see Mossy, but it is Dr. Carolina's niece, Tory, who notices how sad Mossy is living in a viewing pavilion. She misses the outdoors and her friend, Scoot. 

Dr. Carolina finds a way to keep the spirit of Mossy alive at the museum. She invites Flora and Fauna to paint Mossy's portrait. Then she and Tory take Mossy home, where Scoot is waiting for her. 

Jan Brett fans will pore over the colorful paintings of Lilypad Pond and lush borders displaying wildflowers, ferns, butterflies, and birds in contrast to elegant spreads of the museum filled iwth visitors in stylish Edwardian dress and exquisite borders of shells, rocks, crystals and birds' eggs. 

Mossy gives readers a fascinating look at nature in the wild and on display in a natural history museum. 

My Thoughts:
The cool, damp Lilypad Pond was the favorite place of a young turtle named Mossy. She spent so much time there that moss began to grow on her shell, then ferns and flowers, and even wild strawberries started to grow, creating a garden upon her back. But one day, she is spotted and swept up and away to be featured in a museum filled with natural wonders.

Jan Brett has quickly become one of my favorite illustrators ever in the past year or so. Her books are filled with life-like pictures of nature, animals, interesting characters, and sometimes the fantastical and mythical. We own 3 of her picture books and adore them. Mossy is probably my favorite so far. 

Jan Brett has such a unique illustrating style despite that her art is rather life-like. She borders each page beautifully, giving the perfect space for the actual words in the story. There's always plenty to look at and find on each page and in each frame. Everything is intricately detailed, from each separate leaf, feather, shell, butterfly, and mushroom to every single frame or animal or person. There is nothing lackluster about Brett's work. 

Something I really enjoy about Brett's work, and Mossy in particular, is that each picture tells the story just as well or more in depth than the words themselves. While we are being told about Mossy the turtle and her garden, we are shown in smaller framed pictures that a little girl, who we have not been introduced to, is taking a stroll down to the pond to investigate the wildlife. We get a much more lengthy story from the pictures combined with the words and that makes it easy to read this story to a young toddler and continue to read to them as they grow older or also to another older child without it getting boring in the least. Those types of books that can be read over and over, introducing more and more each time, are my favorite types of pictures books. 

My one-year-old absolutely loves this book. I don't think we've 'read' another book quite as much as we have this one. She loves to point to each animal, flower, or object and wait for me to tell her what it is. Then when I quiz her and ask where something is, she always knows to show me. I particularly love that I can show her that there are many different types of flowers, butterflies, seeds, etc. Because of this book, she is learning that a feather is a feather whether is it red, blue, or black and likewise with many other objects and animals of different colors, shapes, and sizes. 

Jan Brett is an exceedingly talented artist and author and we will enjoy this book and many others of hers for years to come! 

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