Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Kid Lit Corner #1: Teddy & Co + Lucy & Andy Neanderthal

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If you know me, you know that I LOVE children’s literature. I love reading not just YA and Middle Grade books but I adore chapter books and picture books (although this has been a more recent development when I started experimenting with reading tastes.) I know not everyone does though so I thought I’d distinguish my kid-lit reviews by starting a new Kid Lit Corner thing on the blog.

teddy-coTeddy & Co
Cynthia Voigt

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Teddy is a thinking kind of bear. Of all his friends, he does the most wondering. He lives with a ragtag group of lost toys—a very hungry snake, an elephant who likes to bake, two charmingly silly pigs, and a reclusive penguin—and they all bump along happily together. But their peaceful world gets shaken up when new toys arrive—first a rabbit, who is not as soft and floppy as he looks, and then a beautiful doll with royal ambitions. Will the newcomers learn to fit into the community? Or will the community be forever changed by them? As Teddy the philosopher would answer: Yes.

Cynthia Voigt’s charming tale of community and compromise comes alive in the adorable pictures from Paola Zakimi. Fully illustrated and lovingly designed, this book would make a terrific gift or family read-aloud.

Teddy & Co immediately caught my attention when I saw it being compared to works by A. A. Milne and Kate DiCamillo. Up to this point I had read nothing by Cynthia Voigt (even the famous Tillerman Cycle books) but after reading Teddy & Co I can see what the hype is all about.

Teddy & Co is SUCH a thought provoking book and I had so much fun reading it. I am going to sound so much like a lit major right now and forgive me but I love that books like Teddy & Co exist and allow young kids to engage with the familiar in a fantastical setting.

Teddy is a wonderful “thinking kind of bear”. He loves to go on adventures and loves pondering the what ifs of the world and pushing his friends to think outside of the box. He also needs to be pulled around in a wheelbarrow but that doesn’t stop him from having new experiences and learning how to swim.

The structure of the book is a little interesting in that there is no overarching plot arc but there are little stories and those little stories say so much about communities, friends and stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Teddy & Co is a fantastic read for kids (and anyone else who likes to read kid-lit) and is destined to become a classic in the veins of The Velveteen Rabbit.

lucy-andy-neanderthalLucy & Andy Neanderthal
Jeffrey Brown

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The laugh-out-loud adventure features Lucy and her goofball brother Andy, as the duo take on a wandering baby sibling, bossy teens, cave paintings, and a mammoth hunt. But what will happen when they encounter a group of humans?

Humorous and entertaining, Jeffrey Brown’s signature comical touch enlivens the scientific and historical content, including a special paleontologist section that helps to dispel common Neanderthal myths.

 

Lucy & Andy Neanderthal genuinely surprised me in that I did not expect to enjoy a graphic novel about neanderthals as much as I did. One of my concerns prior to diving in would be that it portrayed neanderthals in a way that did not acknowledge their evolutionary history but Jeffery Brown actively works against doing just that. This graphic novel features short stories about a group of neanderthals but Brown works in actual facts about how neanderthals lived and how they differed from humans into these stories. I am also a nerd and LOVE facts so that I had a lot of fun with that aspect of the novel.

This cute little graphic novel is such a great way to make aspects to evolution accessible to a younger audience and I know I would have gobbled this book as a child (and loved it as a teen so you definitely do not have to be a kid to appreciate this book.)

The illustrations are so much fun too (and obviously have to be to make this graphic novel what it is) and work with the text to create mini-stories that work and are fun to read.

The graphic novel does ‘humanize’ neanderthals a little which I struggled with but I don’t think that can be helped. Brown also works to show the differences and similarities between humans and neanderthals to make up for that humanization.

Lucy and Andy Neanderthal is by the same dude who wrote Darth Vader and Son so like, that might be a reason to automatically add the book to your TBRs but I would definitely recommend it to younger readers or again, readers like me who enjoy kid lit!

***A copy of both these books was provided for review by Random House Children’s Publishing***

The featured image was designed using a vector from Freepik

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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows and plan horrifying things. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so she will lure you over to the dark side with baked goodies and good book recommendations.

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