How to Catch a Star written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, HarperCollins, 32 pages, $19.99
Both Phoenix and Frida were kinda nervous when we opened the 10th-anniversary edition of How To Catch A Star. They both remembered really loving this book when they were part of the two-to-four set. But they hadn’t read it in a couple of years and I could tell that they wanted it to be as good as they remembered.
Adding to the drama was that Jeffers has published two other books since, which became favourites as well. Lost and Found is also considered a classic in our house. As is The Day the Crayons Quit, which he illustrated. The stakes were high.
None of us needed to worry. The story of a boy who loves stars so much he wants one for his own feels as strong as – if not stronger than – when we originally read it. The only distressing part of the experience was witnessing nostalgia in an eight-year-old.
The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc, Enchanted Lion Books, 64 pages, $19.99
This is a beautiful, tender story that will resonate with anyone who’s ever been deeply in love with someone who was fated to leave them. Neither Phoenix, who’s eight, nor Frida, who’s six, has ever had anything close to this experience, but that didn’t keep them from enjoying the book.
This book is gorgeous. Both Phoenix and Frida liked the illustrations, which are beautifully drawn and exquisitely coloured. And they got very quiet when Lion said goodbye and Bird flew away after spending the cozy quiet winter together with Lion in his cottage. But the rest of it went right over their heads. Maybe I’ll pack this book away and bring it back out some time around Grade 10 when they have their first serious heartbreak.
Mommy Am I Pretty? written by Margot Denommé, illustrated by Madison and Brooke Denommé-Warren, 32 pages, $18.95
A little girl asks her mom if she’s pretty, then discovers that pretty is more than how you look. The book’s bright pink cover attracted Frida immediately and she loved it. Even Phoenix, to whom this book is in no way marketed, loved that the illustrations were done by two girls, one aged nine and the other eleven. I was the only one who had any problems at all.
The theme is basically that pretty is how pretty does. But the examples the book gives are things like being nice to your friends and thinking of others. So the book encourages girls to redefine what it means to be pretty. Then it goes on to create a new definition, chock-full of stereotypical female traits.
Which drove me, and let me stress that it was only me, a little crazy.