BIG DREAMS, SMALL FISH Written and illustrated by Paula Cohen (Levine Querido; $17.99, Ages…
I’ve read so many picture books in the past five years that I can honestly say I am able to spot a true winner in less than a minute. The Brief Thief ($16.95, Enchanted Lion Books, Ages 4 and up) is indeed one of those books. Not only did I smile while reading every page of this book, I laughed the entire time I was reading it – once to myself and the other time out loud to my husband, who also laughed.
For me, the first step of the review process is always to examine the quality of the physical book. I consider it important because books we love, we want to keep forever or pass on to others who may want to keep them forever. Well, Brief Thief ranks among the highest quality books I’ve ever seen. The hard cover is so thick and sturdy, it is nearly indestructible, the binding is solid and the paper is thick, beautiful matte card stock. I can appreciate this quality, as I am quite familiar with the process and materials used in book printing as a small press publisher myself.
Onto the story . . . Leon is a big green gecko. One morning after breakfast, he needs to use the “facilities” but quickly discovers he is out of toilet paper. To solve his problem, Leon simply uses a pair of undies he finds hanging on a tree as toilet paper. After all they have holes in them, seem unusable for anything else and do not seem to belong to anyone. Then he throws them down and walks away. Well, to Leon’s surprise, those undies do indeed belong to someone else, and he discovers he probably should not have taken them and used them as he did. I won’t give away the ending of the book, but trust me when I tell you that it is clever and engaging, and that every page of this book will make you smile and laugh as I did. Both the words by author Michael Escoffier and the illustrations by Kris Di Giacomo are wonderful, humorous and equally important. Where do authors get crazy, original ideas like this for a picture book? I can only imagine how much fun it was to illustrate!
What makes this book even more interesting is that author Michael Escoffier and illustrator Kris Di Giacomo have created many successful books together in French, including Brief Thief that we now fortunately have in English. I’ve been told the team has another title coming out in in English in July 2013. Can I please be the first to read it?
So there you have it – a high quality printed book, a funny, well-written original story that is easy to read with spectacular illustrations that all leave you wanting to read the author and illustrator’s next book right now. Now that’s a perfect picture book.
Note: You’re going to have to wait until April 16, 2013 to read Brief Thief, the publication date for this book. But there’s nothing stopping you from ordering a copy today.