Cute story, sweet pictures. Predictable but likable message.
The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My, by Tove Jansson
After years of adoring the Moomin novels and only slightly less adoring the comic strips, I thought it was about time I got around to this picture book. It was charming, vivacious, but not as wonderfully odd and hopefully melancholy as the novels are. Ah well.
The Wolf's Whistle, by Bjorn Rune Lie et al
Meh. I wanted to like this comic-booky twisted-fairy origin story of the Lone Wolf a lot better than I did. The story was inventive, the pictures were funny - and yet I felt nothing. *shrug* So it goes.
Orlando (The Marmalade Cat) Buys a Farm, by Kathleen Hale
A mad, glorious splendor of a book. Stuffed full to bursting of asides that don't make sense, but after about 3 pages one stops trying for sense and starts being excited to see each new surreal business that the author will depict with careful, harmonious brushstrokes. Wish these were easier to find. Kathleen Hale is the bomb. (The one sour note was a page about playing Indians that made me cringe at how awkwardly well-meaning racist it was - but that's a sign of the era in which the book was written...)
The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
This picture book was just as good as The Snail and the Whale (by the same duo), except - I'd already watched the movie adaptation. And FOR ONCE the movie was so faithful to the book that it ended up being better than the book even though the book is excellent. How often does that happen?
The Authentic Bistros of Paris, by François Thomazeau, photography by Sylvain Ageorges
Started this on my lunch hour, meant to just flip through it for a few minutes before returning to another book I was in the middle of, ended up reading this one cover to cover instead. It's too out of date to be completely practical as a guidebook, but the pictures and the descriptions and the warmth the authors feel toward the bistro workers are all wonderful. One can always look up interesting places online for updates.
A Frog Prince, by Alix Berenzy
Modern retelling of the Frog Prince with a twist ending. The twist ending was alright, only alright. The illustrations were lovely, albeit not a patch on whomever illustrated the one I read most as a child. Would be pleased to read this to a kid if they wanted me to, though, which is something.
Whatever Happened to My Sister?, by Simona Ciraolo
I loved this almost-comic-book story about a girl worrying over her older sister's bizarre behavior. It was funny and emotional and quite real (even the predictably happy ending - I don't mind them when they fit the structure of the rest of the story properly).
Moon Man, by Tomi Ungerer
Surreal and dreamlike story about the man in the moon coming down to earth. I could see how incredibly well-done it was, but I didn't fall in love with it.
Doctor De Soto, by William Steig
Ha! My dentist had this book in his waiting room as a kid, and I went there frequently (non-fluoridated water supply), so I read this at least 7 or 8 times back then. Was afraid it wouldn't hold up but it totally did. Funny and wise.