Welcome to KidLit Gems!
Join Louise Aamodt and me for a coffee-style chat about favorite children’s books and the elements that make them shine.
This month’s theme: Illustrative Gem
IT’S AN ORANGE AARDVARK!
Text and Illustrations © 2014, Michael Hall
Age Range: 3-7 years
Aardvarks turn orange when they’re hungry for ants, you know! ~ It’s an Orange Aardvark!
IT’S AN ORANGE AARDVARK! by Michael Hall actually got me laughing aloud. The uncluttered illustrations and the fun hole punches piqued my interest. But what really tickled me was the good, old-fashioned page turns leading to unexpected surprises, each sillier than the previous.
It’s tricky to write a cumulative pattern that doesn’t read like a tedious list of chores, but Hall’s repetition rolls right off the tongue. Gentle tension builds smoothly right up to the final page turn, keeping readers guessing. As a reread, it’s refreshingly funny even when the reader knows what’s coming. In one word: surprising.
Oh no! It’s wearing blue pajamas! ~ It’s an Orange Aardvark!
Since Michael Hall is a Minnesota talent, we might be biased, but orange aardvarks in blue pajamas are funny, I don’t care where you’re from. Hall’s New York Times bestselling creations are reminiscent of Lois Ehlert’s–flamboyant, mischievous, and colorful. This book will give you an edge when playing Eye Spy in rainbow order. Through Hall’s creative use of shapes, storyline, and mystery, readers will learn without trying. After all, who can resist discovery when it lurks behind a peephole?
Michael Hall, New York Times Best-selling Picture Book Author and Illustrator by Amy Meythaler
Book Trailer: It’s An Orange Aardvark by Michael Hall
Watch for Kristi’s pick next!
We want to hear from you!
What children’s book is your Illustrative Gem?
Books that received praise as Illustrative Gems on Facebook: STELLALUNA by Janell Cannon and POLAR EXPRESS by Chris Van Allburg. (POLAR EXPRESS received two mentions.) I heartily agree!
It was fun reading a book where 3-D perforated holes revealed the story and logical fallacy theme. It’s a clever kids-version of the Indian parable about five blind men describing an elephant as they touch five different parts–the message being respect other perspectives but get all the facts before you decide the truth! A great reading suggestion, thanks!
Thank you, Randy!
Michael puts a lot of heart into his stories. Above there’s a link to a post by Amy Meythaler, where she describes Michael’s childhood struggles with being misunderstood. She quotes Michael, “My father thought dyslexia was another word for lazy.”
Another excerpt: In the upcoming book Red: A Crayon’s Story (Greenwillow, 2015), the story of a blue crayon mislabeled as red, some of the busybody characters paraphrase his father: “He’s got to press harder.” “Really apply himself!”
As you can see in the photo above, Lou and I had the opportunity to meet Michael Hall and his wife, Debra Kelley. They really couldn’t have been nicer or more encouraging. We’re so fortunate to be surrounded by such approachable inspirations and mentors.
It’s was gratifying to find out that Michael Hall is as kind and welcoming as he is talented. So fun to see good things happen to good people!