Each page of Breathe and Be offers a miniature poem to tune the mind to the pitch of that which is nourishing and beautiful. “There’s a quiet place in my head like an egg hidden in a nest.” The clever and delicate drawings are not to be rushed through. My eight-year-old daughter declared, “Wow, this is my favorite one.” Breathe and Be is, to put it simply, classy. It would be as much a gorgeous book to give to my daughter as a gift as to give to my mother. It has a lovely timeless quality about it. I could see having this one on my shelf for generations.
Most of the Moomin books by Finnish author Tove Jansson were novels, but several Moomin picture books were also published between 1952 and 1980, like Who Will Comfort Toffle? (1960) and The Dangerous Journey (1977). The Barbapapa series of books by Annette Tison and Talus Taylor was published in France in the 1970s. They feature the shapeshifting pink blob Barbapapa and his numerous colorful children. The Mr. Men series of 40-some books by English author and illustrated Roger Hargreaves started in 1971. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs was published in Britain in 1978 and was entirely wordless. It was made into an Oscar nominated animated cartoon that has been shown every year since on British television.
Rufus Butler Seder has created a masterpiece with this new form of animation called scanimation. The pictures actually look like they are moving. With this story, you will see a horse running, a rooster strutting, a turtle swimming, and birds flying. Seeing the animals move with very natural action as you flip each page gives you a sense of awe as you try to figure out the science behind the magical movements. This is one story that will amaze adults as much as children. Enjoying it together as you try to figure it out may become the highlight of your day.
Miss Merriweather, the librarian, is firm on no running and no noise in the library. But what about lions? This gentle, artful read tells the story of a lion who makes himself quietly at home among children in a library, until the day an emergency strikes. A sweet tale about friendship, the love of reading, and those times when rules must be broken.
Since then, Selznick has gone on to write two more highly regarded middle-grade picture books. Wonderstruck, which also combines pictures with text, was published in 2011 and became a New York Times bestseller. The Marvels, published in 2015, contains two stories, set 50 years apart that come together at the end of the book. One of the stories is told entirely in pictures. Alternating with this story is another story, told entirely in words.
Akbar & Birbal – Birbal who was an advisor in the court of the Emperor Akbar, was known for his intellect, wit and sense of humour. In all the stories, Akbar places a problem in front of Birbal, and Birbal cleverly finds a solution. He wins hearts and admiration every day. Children can learn a lot about the Mughal dynasty and Indian rulers too, through these stories.