When you are comfy and ready for a good read you want the book to pop! I was looking at Gator, Gator, Gator! by Daniel Berstrom and was expecting a lot of pop! There was fun rhyming, but not obviously in your face rhyming. There was a diverse narrator. There was the lovely illustrations of Frann Preston-Gannon which were bright, colorful, cool and soft all at once. You were in the bayou looking for that Gator and seeing the wonders of the swamp. Your heart starts to race when you see that big old creature! And then. Safe! Until (spoiler) the girl decides to go back out looking for the gator again.
Sorry Berstorm you lost me there. Not sure why you did that twist at the end.
When you are comfy and ready for a good read you want the book to pop! I was looking at Hope by Matthew Cordell and illustrations by them as well. I was surprised to see it is told from the point of view of the grandparents and not from the “all knowing” narrator or a parent. I was excited over the fact that it has some fun illustrations (even if I kept hearing Can You Feel the Love Tonight in the background). The lion is not scary or mean. There are muted colors, but nothing is really dark. And even though the adult lions have allowed themselves to fall into the cliché of “evil hyena” as they are “different” the story still is positive. I even did not hate the fact that by the middle of the story, the voice changes to the now grown young lion and now he is talking to his grandparents, who are now both gone. What finally lost me was the end and its “everyone loves everyone and we all live happily ever after” ending. That and that Lion King theme was taken too far. If you had not had the hyena story, it probably would have worked out very nicely.
Sorry Cordell you lost me there. Not sure why you had to go to that ending.
In the short of it, these books are perfect for the right reader. I am not that reader. I want something that jumps up and bites me, not that want it to be a gator, lion or even a hyena, but I do want something beyond special. I need something with teeth and I need a good feeling after reading a book. Or at least, that the story had a meaning or a point. It does not have to rock the world, but it needs to be something that I can say is worth the time.
I will keep my eye out for Preston-Gannon’s work and I am not going to say no to Berstrom or Cordell’s work, but they will not be on the top of my “must need” list.