Sunday, June 13, 2010

14th June Judith Kerr (1923) Laurence Yep (1948)

Long before I started teaching very young children I had read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and then had to read the sequels, The Other Way Round and A Small Person Far Away. I was besotted with war stories and the fact that it was partly autobiographical made it even more exciting. Then when teaching I discovered The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog the Forgetful Cat. Both of these have really stood the test of time. They are still out of the library frequently nearly forty years since they were first published. I despaired when Judith killed off Mog in Goodbye Mog, but having read interviews with her about why she decided to do it I am now better able to accept it.

Judith Kerr is now in her late eighties and still the books keep coming. Last year there were was One Night at the Zoo and not long before that Twinkles Arthur and Puss. How amazing that she is still thinking about writing and drawing! There is a new book coming this year and a fortieth anniversary edition of Mog.

While her picture books are not 'out there' in the way Eric Carle's were forty years ago or Emily Gravatt's are now, her books do beg to be read aloud and her delicate pencil drawings provide a warmth and gentleness perfect for reading with young children, especially when they
were favourites from your childhood.

Laurence Yep is a Chinese American author who usually writes novels but has the occasional picture book worth exploring. Recently I purchased Auntie Tiger for the library. It is an adaptation of a Chinese tiger version of Little Red Riding Hood. The friendly-looking tiger on the cover is really 'a wolf in sheep's clothing', hungry and looking to eat the two sisters.

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