Thursday, February 11, 2010

Author Feature - Joan Gannij

Similar to my Series Features, I've decided to group reviews together by author or illustrator if I occassionally find a group of children's books [by the same author or illustrator] that I like. If, by chance, I ever get the opportunity to do an author interview, I will also be labeling it as such.

I present to you Joan Gannij, author of Hidden Hippo and Elusive Moose (Claire Beaton does the illustrations for both books):


I originally picked up these books because I liked the covers. Illustrations that are made with foods, fabric, and other nontraditional forms of art tend to get my attention.

It wasn't until I was halfway through Hidden Hippo that I noticed the hidden hippo on the page, and as I went back through the book I realized it was supposed to be similar to a very basic I Spy book. The hippo is easy enough for a child to find, as long as they know they are looking for it.

The moose in Elusive Moose was much easier to find (or maybe it just seemed that way because I knew from the start that I was supposed to be looking for an animal in this one) in my opinion.

Rhyming texts provides for a pleasant short story to go along with the hunt for the hippo; though, I'm not entirely certain I would feel comfortable reading the page with the giraffes aloud (if you pick up a copy of the book, you'll see what I mean). At the end of Hidden Hippo there is a glossary of "Animals of the African Plains" and information about hippos and endangered species. 

Elusive Moose also rhymes, but it is a tad awkward using moose as a plural so many times in a picture book. At the end there is a glossary of "Animals of the Northern Lands", animal tracks, and moose information.

Both books contain animals that most children will probably not be familiar with, so I encourage you to reference the glossary to be able to explain what they are and show a Beaton-style (sewn fabric/felt) illustration.

Amazon recommends both Elusive Moose and Hidden Hippo for ages 4 - 8.

My Rating (for both books):

Please let me know if you know of any books with illustrations similar to Clare Beaton's or Saxton Freymann's.

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