Fact: The page turn is important. Librarians and story time readers select books that are engaging to their little listeners. Tired parents and grandparents often select books that don’t seem daunting and wordy, especially when they’ve promised three stories. And children and publishers select books they want to read over and over again. Key to everyone’s taste, cue the page turn: Did something happen on the page you’re reading that makes you excited to flip to the next page?
Two releases (one just a week old, and the other from 2016) that master the art of the page turn include WHOBERT WHOVER Owl Detective (Margaret K McElderry books July 18, 2017) written by Jason Gallaher and illustrated by Jess Pauwels; and DEAR DRAGON (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016)written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo.
WHOBERT WHOVER: Whobert is a bumbling detective always on the search of his next case. And since he's searching for a clue, so is the picture book audience who is alerted (a-la Find Waldo) to figure out what's wrong starting on the very first page. Here, illustrator Jess Pauwels offers a lovely smorgasbord for the eyes. Throughout the story, she delivers colorful creatures with delightful expressions—art that truly inspires the reread. Book-lovers will want to comb the pages over and over again to search for what they might’ve missed—a worthwhile effort, especially when you find the spider and the crawdad!
Adding to the reread is the text, of course! Gallaher's mystery has page turns to guide readers through the necessary qualities of a good detective (find a clue, follow a trail, etc.), plus the fun play on colloquialisms make the story twice is fun to hear aloud (of course a fish says "Glurgle blurp"). Each page turn engages the child to be part of solving this mystery.
In short, it's sparse text, adorable illustrations, and the audience engagement factor makes WHOBERT WHOVER Owl Detective a winner!
DEAR DRAGON (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016)written by Josh Funk and illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo is another must-have for your personal library.
From the book jacket:
A sweet and clever friendship story in rhyme, about looking past physical differences to appreciate the person (or dragon) underneath.
"George and Blaise are pen pals, and they write letters to each other about everything: their pets, birthdays, favorite sports, and science fair projects. There’s just one thing that the two friends don’t know: George is a human, while Blaise is a dragon! What will happen when these pen pals finally meet face-to-face?"
"When I was a kid, my best friend was Josh Funk. Now he's becoming a friend to a whole new generation.”--B.J. Novak, author of The New York Times bestseller The Book With No Pictures
Dear Dragon may have more words than Whobert, still every single word matters. Furthermore, Dear Dragon's has an absorbing play between the words and the art; between what the pen pal reader assumes vs. what's really happening. The misunderstandings make the pages in the story flip faster and faster as excitement builds and readers wonder how this will resolve in the end.
Not only is Dear Dragon a fun read, but according to an Amazon reviewer, “The book is a good way to talk to children about finding similarities where we might otherwise only see differences.”