Today I dug into our October basket (yes, our “seasonal” rotation of picture books has now grown into a “monthly” rotation of books!! I include all our picture books in this rotation (excepting non-fiction) so as to ensure we are getting a chance to read and appreciate all the good ones we have. Otherwise, treasures get buried and forgotten in the surplus.) and pulled out Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky.
I was reminded again of how much we love this author. Is it the brilliance of the text? Not so much. The glory of the illustrations? Not exactly. I think what it is has to do with the perfect marriage of text and imagery Arnosky offers in all of his books. He writes simple story lines… easy enough for a 2 year old to sit through, yet engaging enough for an 8 year old to appreciate. And he doesn’t fictionalize things or indulge in anthropomorphism like so many other popular kiddy books do— I have no problem with talking animals, believe you me… but all things have their place. And animals in Arnosky’s books are simply stars in the natural history story he has to tell. And they are excellent.
We own Grandfather Buffalo and Coyote Raid In Cactus Canyon also but I’m starting to get the itch that tells me I need to purchase more of his titles… so loved they are and so seasonally appropriate they can be. On my shortlist are Rabbits & Raindrops or Raccoons and Ripe Corn and Armadillo’s Orange (get a load of those used prices! Ha!). And we can’t forget Crinkleroot and his series… which are very basic primers to different aspects of nature; kids love them. As a side-note, Crinkleroot reminds me of how I envision a simpler version of Tom Bombadil. If you get that reference, it’s a strong indication you might be awesome.
Anyway, Jim Arnosky provides good stuff all around! Go get some books!