Youth Book Corner: Picture Books with Panache

The 2020 Vancouver Writers Fest (October 19-25) might not have colouring books on its list to celebrate this month’s Coloring Book Day, but we do have some amazing picture books by featured authors to entertain readers of all ages.

The Fate of Fausto
Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

World-renowned, multi-disciplinary artist and author Oliver Jeffers released his 17th book, The Fate of Fausto, last year. This book is a fable about a man who thinks he is entitled to everything he sees. After claiming ownership over a flower, a sheep and a mountain, Fausto decides it isn’t enough and that he has to go overseas by boat to conquer and possess even more things. Working in traditional lithography, The Fate of Fausto is admired not just for its rich, saturated colours and illustrations, but also for the important message it conveys about the perils of entitlement and greed. Grades Preschool to 2

Pierre & Paul: Avalanche!
Written by Caroline Adderson and illustrated by Alice Carter

There are explorers and then there’s Pierre and Paul. Other explorers might go out and climb a mountain, but not these two; they build a mountain in the comfort of their very own home. Pierre speaks French and Paul speaks English, but that doesn’t stop them from being best friends. One day, when hunger strikes, the two buddies decide they’re going to build a towering sandwich, as tall as a mountain. When it comes crashing down, just like an avalanche, their sandwich turns into salad, but Pierre and Paul are unfazed. Alternating between French and English and accompanied by amusing illustrations, Pierre & Paul: Avalanche! is as much a story about friendship as it is a vocabulary-learning tool for early learners of both languages. Grades Preschool to 2

Bunbun & Bonbon #1: Fancy Friends
Written and illustrated by Jess Keating

Award-winning author and illustrator Jess Keating’s graphic novel is about an unlikely friendship between a bunny and a fancy candy. Bunbun is an adorable bunny who is lonely because Bunbun doesn’t have a friend. When Bunbun meets Bonbon, they become good friends over their mutual love of music, food and fancy words. With its bright colours and easy vocabulary, Bunbun & Bonbon serves as a gateway book to get reluctant readers interested in reading. By keeping both Bunbun and Bonbon ungendered and without pronouns and touching upon themes of loneliness, the book also conveys more than what is apparent. Grades 1 to 3

Yorick and Bones
Written and illustrated by Jeremy Tankard and Hermione Tankard

From the author of the bestselling Grumpy Bird picture books, Jeremy Tankard, and his daughter, Hermoine, bring their love for Shakespeare to this funny graphic novel inspired by the dead court jester of Hamlet. Yorick’s skeleton has just been dug up by Bones, a hungry dog, but much to Bones’ dismay, he can’t continue chomping on Yorick as he is now walking and talking in Shakespearean English. With its quirky illustrations and creative use of iambic pentameter, Yorick and Bones makes for an entertaining read and a great way to introduce young minds to the works of Shakespeare. Grades 3-7


Leena Desai