I must admit my love for Ian Schoenherr. Cat & Mouse was my favorite picture book of 2008 due to the combination of beloved nursery rhymes, the striking layout incorporating the movement of text amidst ample white space, and of course the expressive illustrations (obvious cat owner). Plus he lives just a few subway stops away from my library!
So I was quite excited to read his next book, Read It, Don't Eat It, which has quickly become one of my preferred titles to share during early elementary class visits.
I start with reading the inside book flap: "You are holding a book. What should you do with it? Open it and you will find out." The title page features a bear intently reading a book. On the following page he proceeds to smelling it... turn one more page, and as he is shown nibbling at the corner of a spine, the book begins with, "Read it, don't eat it."
Each spread offers a short statement of advice on the left side, paired with a humorous drawing on the right. Suggestions range from, "No dog-ears, please" to "Please return it when you're done." The illustrations provide a natural extension for discussion, particularly in the case of "Don't censor, delete or deface." The book closes with, "Share it with a friend, a sister, a brother. Now go out and get another." Sigh... yes indeed.
Being presumptuous, I imagine he wrote this book with children's librarians in mind. Not only is it a brilliant introduction to proper book care utilizing such vocabulary as borrow, overdue and renew but it's also a highly entertaining way to transition to my speech about how to use the library.
Mr. Schoenherr recently released a new book in February, titled, Don't Spill the Beans! I've heard it involves keeping secrets and birthday surprises! Our copy is on order and I'm eagerly anticipating its arrival.