Flashlight Press - Children's (Ages 5 and up)
Reason for reading: I am crazy about the children's books published by Flashlight Press because they're consistently excellent and the printing is high quality -- nice, shiny hardback covers beneath match slipcovers and the pages are a nice weight. So I asked if I could review a few of their backlist titles ("begged" might be a more appropriate word). Simon Van Booy is, of course, one of my favorite authors and Pobble's Way is a book I've been anxious to read.
Brief summary: Pobble and her daddy go for a walk in the snow, one evening. When Pobble loses one of her pink mittens, the woodland animals all have a different idea of what exactly that pink fuzzy thing might be.
Pobble's Way is a charming and creative story. Before Pobble loses her mitten, she and her father play an imaginative game.
Daddy smiled and pointed to a floating leaf.
"What is it, Daddy?" Pobble asked.
"It's a butterfly raft!" he said
Just below is an illustration of a butterfly on a floating leaf. Another leaf, the sail, is held in place by a twig.
"My turn now," Pobble called, pointing
at some chubby winter mushrooms.
"Look at those, Daddy"
"What are they?" he asked.
"Frog umbrellas!" Pobble announced.
Adorable! The illustrations are really just perfect. The humans look human but their clothing is wildly colorful, the leaves bright and cheery, the snowy background shades of purple and blue with white highlights, and the animals are pretty, not cutesy.
After Pobble's mitten is lost, the animals theorize about the mitten, each thinking it wildly different. The squirrel thinks it's cotton candy, the mouse claims it's an emergency mouse house (the cut-away illustration of three mice sleeping inside the mitten with tiny pillows, blankets and a book, shown below, is my absolute favorite illustration), the owl thinks it's a wing warmer, and so forth. Finally, the deer corrects them all, explaining that it is a mitten and they're meant to keep children's hands warm in the winter.
Just then, Daddy crunches through the snow and the animals dive for cover. He finds the mitten and asks Pobble what it is.
"Oooh, Daddy," Pobble gasped,
"it's a baby cloud!"
The animals laugh, except for the sleeping mouse, and the book ends with a lovely description of the moon.
5/5 - Highly recommended! A clever and beautifully-written story and gorgeous, bright illustrations that are more realistic than cartoonish make Pobble's Way the kind of book I get all gushy about. I just love it. I think it could easily be read to children as young as 3, just depending upon the individual. There's nothing particularly girly about Pobble's Way; little boys will love it, too. As much as it's a tale that encourages creative thinking, it's also a story of a sweet and loving relationship between a father and child.
The endpapers are also wonderful - a map showing Pobble's House and the woods, with the animals' homes labeled and illustrations of each animal next to its home. I wish I could show you a little more of the inside. I snatched two of my favorite images from Amazon because I let my camera battery run low, but I've since been informed that you can look inside every title at the Flashlight Press site. Click on the "Look Inside" button above the image to see inside Pobble's Way.
In keeping with the purple that seems to be running heavily through this post, I give you an iris from bulbs my mother brought me about a decade ago. I have more iris photos I'll share, eventually. They were pretty breathtaking, this year. Some years they take time off from blooming, but not this year!