Picture Book Reviews: Mamasaurus & Sing a Season Song


Review: Mamasaurus by Stephan Lomp
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: March 8, 2016 by Chronicle Books
Verdict: Good/Very Good
Book Description:

This colorful and reassuring picture book follows Babysaurus on an adventure as he enlists his prehistoric friends to seek his Mamasaurus. Is his Mamasaurus the fastest in the jungle? No. Is she the loudest? No. Is she the best flyer? No! Of course, Mamasaurus has been right there all along. And when Babysaurus needs a little help, she is ready with a big hug and a sweet, leafy snack. For Babysaurus, his Mamasaurus is the best mamasaurus in the world! Stephan Lomp has illustrated several books in his native Germany, and in this debut as both author and artist, he has created a fresh twist on a perennial theme that will win the hearts of little ones and their mamas as they snuggle up to read a new favorite.

Growing up, I don’t recall ever being too much into dinosaurs- with the exception of The Land Before Time which always made me cry buckets. But I think if I had read (or been read) Stephen Lomp‘s Mamasaurus as a child I might have appreciated fictional dinosaurs even more! With a clean and bright palette of bold colours against a black background- and the most adorable Babysaurus leading our way- Mamasaurus reads like a crisp and fresh take on P.D. Easton’s classic Are You My Mother?.

The picture book starts off with our Babysaurus munching some delicious tender leaves- safe up high on his mama’s back. But one day he slips and flies right off of Mamasaurus’s back (a great action-illustration!) and into a part of the jungle where he can’t see his beloved mama. Asking fellow prehistoric creatures along the way- Rexy, Ptero, Hespero and others-  if they’ve seen his mama, readers learn all about how one of a kind and marvelous Mamasaurus is. In a kind of Ed Vere or Mo Willems style, there’s also a little bit of quirk and drollness in addition to the bright and fun. For example, Hespero, a little bird, quite literally bolts away when Babysaurus describes how BIG his mama is; Rexy, a baby T-Rex, snarls and sneers at leaf-eating but then whispers how ‘a salad is also nice from time to time’ as he sprints away when Mamasaurus enters the frame.

Cute but definitely not fluffy, sweet but not saccharine, I found Mamasaurus to be a fun and wonderfully illustrated read. I think it could make for a solid preschool read aloud- the colours of the prehistoric creatures are captivating and the illustrations are expressive enough to draw all eyes in. Readers who enjoy their dinosaurs will likely gobble this one up; those who are perhaps less swayed by dinosaurs will likely still be taken in with the fun artwork and happily-ever-after story of a mama and her baby.


SINGASEASONSONG9781568462554Sing a Season Song by Jane Yolen, illus. Lisel Jane Ashlock
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Raincoast Books. Thank you!
Publication: September 15, 2015 by Creative Editions
Verdict: Excellent
Book Description:

The shivering cold of winter. The fresh, new signs of spring. The toe-wiggling freedom of summer. The leaf-dropping days of fall. Each season is celebrated for many different reasons, but one never fails to roll right into the next. Jane Yolen’s lilting verses and Lisel Jane Ashlock’s sensitive portraits convey the cyclical nature of the seasons in this poetic tribute to the characteristics of the four periods of the year.

If I could get away with writing a review of just a handful of words, for Sing a Season Song I would say: Beautifully written and just as beautifully illustrated- a must read! Nevertheless, I shall go on with a few more things to say! This is an absolute delight of a picture book written in verse by the esteemed and prolific Jane Yolen and illustrated by Lisel Jane Ashlock. Going through the circle of our four seasons, Yolen’s rhyming verse and Ashlock’s incredible illustrations make for an excellent read. I can’t do justice to her work here in this review: it is something that needs to be pored over in person to be appreciated! (Side note here: I was very surprised to read that this is Ashlock’s debut picture book: I cannot wait to see more work from this artist!).
Children and adults alike will likely be enchanted by the vibrant and detailed illustrations and lulled by the rhythm of the text:

Winking out,
blinking out,
firefly light:
Then summer is gone.

Reads like Sing a Season Song which invoke the passage of time make me feel a little of that bittersweet ache and pull of nostalgia: memories of how the smell of the sun and soil were different in spring and fall, or of how amazingly long the sun seemed to live in the sky during the summer months. A sophisticated but utterly approachable picture book, Yolen and Ashlock have crafted something special and memorable- and re-readable- with Sing a Season Song.

I received copies of these two titles courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.

Author: michelle@fabbookreviews

Reference & Children's Librarian. Reader. Reviewer.

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