Picture Book Reviews: The Button Book & Studio: A Place for Art to Start

Two awesomely lively picture books on review today, courtesy of the kind folks at Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada! I will be talking about The Button Book by Sally Nicholls and Bethan Woollvin, and Studio: A Place for Art to Start by Emily Arrow and The Little Friends of Printmaking. Enjoy!

British author Sally Nicholls (Things a Bright Girl Can Do, An Island of Our Own) joins forces with illustrator Bethan Woollvin (Little Red, Hansel & Gretel), for the delightfully fun, irreverent and interactive picture book The Button Book. An adventure filled with clapping, refrains of well-loved songs, raspberry noises, tickles and hugs begins when a fox dares to press a big red button. After discovering that pressing the red button leads to a surprise of noise, a group of animals pop their heads out to join fox in testing out what happens when even more tempting buttons appear! This leads the troupe and readers to experience and test out a number of noisy, tactile, active, sweet and silly moments. Capping off with a adorably sleepy finale, The Button Book is tailor-made for reading aloud, with the tremendous potential to be a go-to at storytimes (and for home re-readings!). The Button Book is a truly happy and fun reading experience; and one that also encourages readers and listeners to try-out their knowledge of shapes and colours! Bethan Woollvin brings her now-signature clean-lined, eye-catching and striking character illustrations to Sally Nicholls terrifically entertaining storytelling, adding another layer of adorable cheekiness to an already fun read. Readers who love their picture books with a grand dose of interactive and busy content along the lines of Tap the Magic Tree, Don’t Push the Button!, and the classic Press Here, or books with participatory content such as Can You Make a Scary Face? may especially love this joyful adventure of a book. Extras and other content: Author Sally Nicholls teamed up with artist Viviane Schwarz to bring families the (free to download) picture book Staying Home. This is a recently published not-for-profit picture book about a family learning to stay home, to work together, and how to stay safe in lockdown mode (quarantine) during a time of serious global illness.

Musician, songwriter and author Emily Arrow (you may also recognize from her channel on YouTube!), partners with illustrators John Buchanan and Melissa Buchanan (designers and printmakers behind The Little Friends of Printmaking) for the bright and inspiring picture book Studio: A Place for Art to Start. A rhyming story that follows a little bunny as they get to see a multitude of artists in various creative spaces, Studio: A Place for Art to Start is a hopeful and optimistic read that champions imagination and creativity. From a recording studio to a darkroom, from a still-life art class to a band practicing, little bunny sees that there are many, many ways one can create and make art- and just as many ways that one can cultivate a space (a studio!) to make art. While readers get to see all kinds of cool studio spaces, the story tells readers that making an “artist’s home” doesn’t need to be extravagant: “Listen to your inner voice and find your special place. Finding your studio shouldn’t be too hard. Round the corner, in the park, or maybe in your yard”. The illustrations by The Little Friends of Printmaking are fantastic and such a brilliant match for the story: incredibly vivid (the rich colours!), appealing, with each spread filled with details and small touches that beg to be pored over. Arrow’s use of rhyme is terrific here: the text is cheery, bouncy and easy to follow, and perfect for sharing and reading aloud. Likely to inspire readers to not only start their own art projects- or perhaps continue projects already in process!- but also to carve out their very own “place to be creative”, Studio: A Place for Art to Start is buoyant can-do story, underlined by a much-welcome missive encouraging all kinds of art and creativity.

I received copies of these titles courtesy of Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own. Titles have been published and are currently available.

Author: michelle@fabbookreviews

Children's Librarian. Reader. Reviewer.

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