Two truly delightful picture books on the review docket today, dear readers! Courtesy of the very kind folks at Raincoast Books, I will be talking about Vera Brosgol’s The Little Guys, and the latest darling Tiny T. Rex adventure, Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark by Jonathan Stutzman and Jay Fleck. Happy reading to you all!
Eisner award winner and Caldecott Honor recipient Vera Brosgol‘s latest picture book, The Little Guys, takes readers on a surprising, wise, and funny dive into the forest. When you think of a creature (or creatures) who rule the forest, you may immediately consider bigger, stronger, more obviously intimidating animals such as bears or wolves. But in this particular forest, there are the Little Guys who command the forest: a team of diminutive and boastful creatures with resplendent beards and acorn caps atop their heads. The Little Guys fill readers in immediately on who they are and what they do: “You are looking at the strongest guys in the whole forest…Yes we are small. But there are a lot of us. Together we are strong, and we can get all we need.”. As the Little Guys lead us to further explore and watch their escapades, we do see that the troupe is indeed strong and gets what they need… but…they actually seem to take and take and take and cause a ruckus more than anything, and the other animals of the forest in turn don’t seem all that happy with them! So, when is enough going to be enough for the Little Guys- and how much stuff do they really need? When the Little Guys take their rather mercenary insatiability a reach too far, a big fall from their supposed throne (and help from understanding forest animals) results in a rethink of their group’s combative mission statement. A mighty satisfying tale that will likely delight readers who enjoyed Oliver Jeffers’ fable The Fate of Fausto, The Little Guys is another fantastic, quietly sly, zany, and brilliantly illustrated tale from Vera Brosgol. Take your time with this one and savour it- I find The Little Guys gets even better upon each reread! Bonus: Take a look here on Brosgol’s website for this fascinating and detailed look inside the painting of a book’s page from start to finish. The page on show is from The Little Guys which makes this all the cooler!
Readers first had the chance to meet the determined Tiny T. Rex and his friend Pointy, in Jonathan Stutzman and Jay Fleck‘s adorably charming and well-reviewed Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug. In Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark, the two best friends face some big fears as they prepare to sleep the night in Tiny’s backyard. This latest adventure with Pointy and Tiny opens on the friends sitting outside on sleeping mats with very concerned expressions on their faces. Pointy, in dinosaur-patterned footed pajamas, and Tiny, with Bob “his special squish” bear, are preparing for their “first campout in the backyard”, but they are both rather nervous as they “have never slept outside before”! While acknowledging that they are “mighty beasts”, the two friends note that even great beasts can get scared in the very dark when they don’t have “nighty-lights” and “Grumbles and Nom-bies” and “Crawly-creeps” come out! Determined to keep their campout on, Tiny turns to the stalwart determination we saw in Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug, preparing for ways that he and Pointy can stay safe, hidden, and snug in the very dark. While not all preparations are complete successes- some scares come in the form of unexpected (but not scary!) “Grumbles and Nom-bies”- Pointy and Tiny do in fact make it outside with a secret plan in place. The world of Tiny and Pointy is as charming and inviting as ever, with Stutzman’s pitch-perfect sweetly funny narration (perfect for reading aloud!) and Fleck’s appealingly bright and lovable illustrations sure to engage and tickle readers. Readers who love merry dinosaur stories and are looking to be charmed even further by the combination cozy sweetness and Tiny T. Rex, or for those who are looking for ‘going to bed’ picture books along the lines of Dinosaur vs. Bedtime, How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?, A Bedtime for Bear, Orion and the Dark, or Max at Night, Tiny T. Rex and the Very Dark Dark is a terrific pick.
I received copies of these titles courtesy of Raincoast Books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own. Titles have been published and are currently available.