Thursday, January 26, 2017

712-713 (2017 #10 & #11). Two Award-Winning Picture Books

When the American Library Association announced its annual Youth Media Award recipients on January 23, 2017, I pulled the one honoree I'd already ordered earlier in the year (because it was a picture book on the 2017-2018 Texas Bluebonnet Award reading list) from the to-be-cataloged shelf at my university library.  I also went to my local public library and checked out the two picture books they had that were honorees.  I wrote about one book yesterday; here's my review of the other two.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the "most distinguished American book for beginning readers."  Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! An Alphabet Caper, written and illustrated by Mike Twohy, was named as a 2017 Geisel Honor Book.

This clever alphabet book uses a single word on each page or spread to tell a simple story of a dog, a mouse, and a ball.  Mike Twohy is a longtime cartoonist whose work has been published in The New Yorker magazine and other mainstream publications.  He used India ink and felt-tip pens to create the illustrations in this book.

The Pura Belpré Illustrator Award is given to "a Latino/Latina ... illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth." Duncan Tonatiuh, a previous medalist (2012) and honoree (2011 and 2014-2016), had two works named as Honor Books for Illustration in 2017, one of which is on the 2017-2018 Texas Bluebonnet Award reading list.

The Princess and the Warrior is a retelling of the legend of Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl, two volcanoes near Mexico City.  

The illustrations (hand-draw then collaged digitally) were inspired by Mexican Pre-Columbian art, primarily the Mixtec writing code of the 12th century.  A characteristic of this style, according to the author's note at the end of the book, is that "people and animals are always drawn in profile.  Their entire bodies are usually shown, and their ears often look like the number 3."  Tonatiuh even uses speech scrolls in his illustration (similar to speech bubbles), such as in the illustration below.

Tonatiuh based the enemy warrior in the book on the real Mixtec warrior Jaguar Claw, and uses a number of Nahuatl (Aztec) words in the book, some of which have become part of Mexican Spanish.  A glossary of these follows the author's note, and is followed by a bibliography.

© Amanda Pape - 2017

[These books were borrowed from and returned to my local public library and my university library respectively.]

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