Three years ago, we chanced upon a very funny and clever picture book at the library — Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem (click here for our review). As it turned out, that was an apt introduction to the very funny and clever Mac Barnett, especially since Billy Twitters was the very first children’s book that he wrote and sold.
Sometimes, the stories behind books are as fascinating — or even more so — than the books themselves, as is the case for Finding Winnie, when two stranger-than-fiction real-life sequences of events — an army veterinarian buying a baby bear off a trapper at a train station, and a little boy’s unusual friendship with a certain grown bear at the London Zoo — collide to result in the creation of one of the most beloved literary characters ever written: Winnie the Pooh.
Good picture books ought not to have an upper age limit, since they usually have something to offer to everyone — and these two extraordinary picture books prove my point. I’ve always been fascinated by the genesis of stories, and if you read enough author interviews, you’ll probably reach the conclusion that stories can grow from the darnedest things, and there’s no telling where each spark may lead.
If you have a little dino lover, you might want to check out Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs — an endearing book about the eponymous boy and the box of toy dinosaurs that he discovered in his grandma’s attic, with a lost-and-found story arc.