A prolific commercial cartoonist with over 2,000 published cartoons in more than 200 publications, Syd Hoff also successfully channeled his brand of absurdist humour to his well-loved children’s books, which are distinct in the style of their illustrations (naturally), as well as the stories’ unique blend of reality and fantastical scenarios.
While his Frog and Toad books (which I’ve reviewed previously) are arguably his most famous works, Arnold Lobel actually wrote six other titles in the ‘I Can Read’ easy-reader series: Uncle Elephant, Mouse Soup, Mouse Tales, Owl at Home, Grasshopper on the Road and Small Pig. And, the best thing is, they are all equally amazing.
Most bedtime-themed books have a lulling effect — for good reason, assuming that they are actually functioning as bedtime reads, since parents usually hope that their children will fall asleep quickly. That said, you might want to make an exception for this book.
A pair of red shoes become the subject of a disagreement between little Alfie and his mom. So, in an act of defiance over her (perceived) tyranny, Alfie dramatically declares that he is going to run away.
Little T has some misgivings about going to the zoo — hence the title Fraidyzoo — but the trouble is, she can’t remember what exactly she’s afraid of. Unlike most parents who will probably give the child some words of reassurance and convince her to join in, Little T’s family approaches the problem somewhat differently…
There’s something particularly endearing about farm animals that lend themselves well to starring in children’s books — although, I suppose a big part of it is stems from the fact that they are mostly non-threatening herbivores who have no desire to eat people!
In Where’s Tim’s Ted? It’s Time for Bed!, the eponymous young protagonist’s bedtime routine hits a snag when neither he nor his grandparents can find his teddy bear, Ted, anywhere in the house. As a result, Tim — like most children who are reliant on a comfort object during bedtime — is unable to fall asleep.
A case of mistaken identity results in Mr. and Mrs. Bird having to contend with a strange egg in their nest. However, not only do they not try to get rid of the egg, but they look after it as if it were their very own — never mind that it is so big that both of them can sit on it at the same time! And even when the egg hatches and the baby looks nothing like them — or like any bird, for that matter — they try their darnedest to feed and nurture it until the time comes for it to fly (or attempt to, anyway) the roost.