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  • WIN! Matilda's Cat by Emily Gravett

    A longtime fan of Emily Gravett, this is only my third review of her books. While Gravett is a master of interactive narratives like The Rabbit Problem, Meerkat Mail, Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears and Spells, she is equally gifted with seemingly simple books like Orange Pear Apple Bear, AGAIN!, Dogs and Wolves, which are magnificent in their economy of text and reliance on the pictures to tell the story. One of Gravett's greatest gifts is her ability to convey thoughts, feelings and sense of place with two pages of illustration that would take most traditional writers several pages of words to create. And this is true for her newest (to America) picture book, Matilda's Cat. Matilda's Cat is more of a list-book than a traditional story, with the plot unfolding in the illustrations. Dressed in her cat costume, Matilda is ready for a day doing cat things with her unnamed cat. Except, her cat doesn't seem to like doing any of the same things that Matilda does, feline or otherwise. One of the greatest jokes in Matilda's Cat is how Gravett employs the text to tell a story that is opposite the illustrations. Matilda's Cat begins, "Matilda's cat likes playing with wool." A turn of the page shows "playing with wool," crossed off the list and, "boxes," added below. The list grows and grows...

    Matilda's cat does not like tea parties. Or funky hats. Or fighting foes. Or drawing. But Matilda's cat does have staying power. And hilarious expressions. While she is wonderful at creating adorable children characters, animals appear more often in Gravett's books and that's ok with me. She has a way with animals and their body language that exemplifies what is best about picture books and the imaginary realms they can inhabit.

    The assertions and retractions continue well into the night, when we find Matilda reading a bedtime story. While I don't have the full two page spread to share here, I think that this is one of the best examples of what Gravett can do with pictures rather than words. Matilda sits, engrossed in her book (Gravett's own Dogs, published in 2010) and reaching to pet her cat. Unfortunately, she makes a shadow puppet that sends her cat's tail puffing, back arching and pupils dilating... The book ends on a very sweet note, despite Matilda's initial frustration. The penultimate page lists all the things that Matilda's cat does NOT like. A page turn, a change into pajamas and a look of wonderment on Matilda's cat's face, along with one last, "Matilda's cat likes," and we see, happily, that Matilda's cat likes . . . MATILDA!! The final page shows the two cozy in bed, eyes closed, enjoying the same thing - at last! But, there is one final treat for readers, as always with Gravett's books. The endpapers show us Matilda's cat, leaving paw prints across the floor, springing in attack! What is Matilda's cat attacking? Matilda's slippers (which look like dogs...)! It's easy to enter! To win a copy, tell us what your favorite animal is by leaving a comment and liking the Tidy Books Facebook page on our app below.  If you'd like to have a greater chance of winning, earn extra entries by using the app by joining our Newsletter, following us on Pinterest, Tweeting about the giveaway and other extra entry options.  Good Luck!

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  • WIN! At the Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin

    At the Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin is one of those special books that children will remember well into adulthood. I feel like I say this about many of the books I review here and I don't want you to think that I overuse this compliment. What you may not realize is that, as a children's bookseller, I see hundreds of new picture books published every year, and the majority of those books do not seem worth the paper they are printed on, let alone the cover price.

    This may sound harsh, but I think that the ability to write a good picture book is an art that few people understand or possess so my standards for what constitutes a good picture book are quite high. When an author and illustrator can create a combined work that is exciting, interesting, thought provoking and lovely to look at, that is definitely something worthy of praise and attention.

    And that is exactly what Perrin has done with At the Same Moment Around the World, a tall, slim book that takes readers eastward from the Greenwich meridian, from day to night, with each page portraying one of the (original) twenty four time zones. As I learned in the fascinating "About Time Zones," pages at the end of the book, right before the really cool four-panel fold out map of the world that lets you see all the children from all the time zones at the same time, when Sir Sandford Fleming, the fellow credited with the invention of time zones in 1884, he established twenty-four time zones.

    Now that we have switched from Greenwich Mean Time to Coordinate Universal Time (UTC - and something else new I learned here) there are about 40 time zones that allow for better measurement and synchronization of time more accurately than ever before. This in turn allows for technology like GPS to tell you where you are at any given moment!


    As technical as this all sounds, 
    At the Same Moment Around the World is truly an engaging story of a day in the life of children all over the world, giving readers a glimpse into different countries and cultures, unified with the one thing we all share - as twenty-four hour day.

    At the Same Moment Around the World begins at six o'clock in the morning in Dakar, Senegal, where Keita is helping his father count the fish caught during the night. A turn of the page takes us to Paris, France, where Benedict is drinking hot chocolate at seven o'clock in the morning. Sofia, Bulgaria, Baghdad, Iraq, Samarkand, Uzbekistan and Mount Everest are the next stops as we head toward lunch time. Perrin chooses out of the ordinary (for kid's books) places and people to feature in her book, which is magnificently illustrated, filled with details on every page and a color palette that changes gradually with the time of day and place on the map.

    At the Same Moment Around the World travels onward through time and space, stopping in Hanoi, Vietnam where Khanh is trying to nap, to Japan, Australia, New Caledonia and a snowy Russia by dinnertime. Stops in Honolulu, Anchorage, San Francisco and Phoenix cover America quite nicely, while a visit to Lima, Peru at one o'clock in the morning finds baby Diego being born! Through the rain forests of Brazil, the chill of Greenland and back to Dakar, Senegal. The final illustration is the same as the first, but this time we see Chloe on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It's five o'clock in the morning and she is tired from dancing all night!

     At the Same Moment Around the World is such an amazing book that you should definitely get for your kids, picking up an extra copy since it also makes a memorable gift.

    YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!

    It's easy to enter! To win a copy, share your favorite travel destination (and why) in a comment and like the Tidy Books Facebook page on our app below.  If you'd like to have a greater chance of winning, earn extra entries by using the app below, to join our Newsletter, follow us on Pinterest, Tweet about the giveaway and other extra entry options.  Good Luck!

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  • WIN! The Odd One Out by Britta Teckentrup

     

    New from Big Picture PressThe Odd One Out by Britta Teckentrup just might be their smallest book yet, in terms of trim size, but it is every bit as visually stunning and fantastically fun as every other book they have published since launching last year! With The Odd One Out, Teckentrup presents readers with yet another look-and-find book, but one that is markedly different from the equally wonderful Busy Bunny DaysIn the TownOn the Farm & At the Port.

     In The Odd One Out, Teckentrup gives readers two rhyming quatrains that set the stage for the animals in the illustration and provide a clue as to where to find the odd one out.

    As the pages progress, the animals presented become smaller and more numerous, making it that much harder to find the odd one out.

     The penultimate page of the book has a flock of butterflies that is almost mind boggling - until you know what you're looking for! And, saving the hardest for last, Teckentrup's two page spread features all the animals in The Odd One Out and one new one to discover!

     

    It's easy to enter! To win a copy, tell us your what is your favorite animal in a comment and by liking the Tidy Books Facebook page on our app below.  If you'd like to have a greater chance of winning, earn extra entries by using the app by joining our Newsletter, following us on Pinterest, Tweeting about the giveaway and other extra entry options.  Good Luck!

     

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