Who Needs Donuts?

Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty By Mark Alan Stamaty

Published 1973 by Dial Press, reprinted 2003 by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.

At first glance, the answer to this book’s title is pretty clear. Because, everybody. Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty But do you know this book? When I mention it to someone, I either hear about their favorite jelly donut (the one with strawberry), or they lose their sprinkles over the magnificence of this screwy tale.

The simplicity of the setup:

Sam lived with his family in a nice house.

He had a big yard and lots of friends.

But he wanted donuts, not just a few but hundreds and thousands and millions — more donuts than his mother and father could ever buy him.

Finally one day he hopped on his tricycle and rode away to a big city to look for donuts.

The scattered spectacle of the scene, a commotion in black and white. On those initial pages alone:

A bird in swim trunks

A roof-mowing man

A chimney blowing ribbons

A man in the window reading a newspaper with the headline, Person Opens Picture Book Tries to Read the Fineprint

Two donuts

And a cinematic, get-ready-for-your-close-up page turn. (Be sure to look closely in the blades of grass.) Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty There’s almost a calm in the chaos. It’s regular and rhythmic and pandemonium and patterned all at once. Perfect for a story that’s a little bit bonkers and a whole lot of comfort.

So. Then what? Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty The relative calm of Sam’s neighborhood yields to an even madder and mayhem-ier sight.

Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty Then Mr. Bikferd and his wagon of donuts shows up.

And a Sad Old Woman. And Pretzel Annie.

Sam continues to collect donuts. Stocks and piles of donuts. Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty A wagon breaks. A repairman helps. A love story. Abandonment.

(A fried orange vendor. A bathing zebra. Rollerskates. A Sad Old Woman.)

Who needs donuts when you’ve got love? Who Needs Donuts? by Mark Allen Stamaty When Sam rides home, the words that began his story are on the sidewalk. I get the shivers about that.

The starts of stories are carved in concrete.

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P.S. – These pictures remind me a little of what I’m seeing for Steve Light’s new book, Have You Seen My Dragon? Check out this review where Betsy Bird notices the same, and this post at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, because it’s always a treat. I also think of the hours I’d spend as a kid studying each square centimeter of The Ultimate Alphabet. Like Waldo, but weirder.

What Happens When . . .

by Delphine Chedru

{published 2013 (in English), by Tate Publishing}

I’ve been thinking a lot about visual storytelling lately. Well, I pretty much am always thinking about visual storytelling. And that’s why I was so tickled and touched by this book. Thanks to Rebecca at Sturdy for Common Things for introducing me to this lovely find!

I bought it because of that cover. I didn’t know I’d open page after page of wow. Instantly, I was drawn to the simplicity of each layout. A spare white page on the left, graced only with one line of text. And on the right, a richly colored illustration to match the text. On this very first spread, you get a clear sense of Delphine Chedru’s suggested shapes and mastery of negative space. It’s graphic and bold and beautiful.

So what does the text say?

What happens when my balloon floats up, out of the zoo . . . ?

And then, this: Rather than turning the page, you unfold it. The text is still there to remind you of the story that gurgled up out of that wonder. Do you see your red balloon? The pages that follow are just as curious, and just as surprising. It’s impossible to not create a scenario for each posed question, and then be awed by the illustrator’s solution.  And to my bucket when I leave it behind on the beach . . . ? What you might not be able to see in that picture is a WANTED sign for the shark, and a tiny red fish with a sheriff’s hat leading his capture, all with that bucket that you left on the beach. Adore.

And wouldn’t it be fun to create your own pages like this? Or respond to these pictures in writing? Isn’t all creativity answering ‘What if?’ What happens when my left sock slips behind the radiator . . . ?

Well? What happens to Teddy when I leave him behind . . . ?

That bird on the boing-boing horse is just too much. Makes me laugh every time.

And then, a big, huge, monster question: What happens to stories once a book is closed . . . ?
This last page doesn’t unfold. This answer is up to you.

I am so under the spell of this weighty book with the lighthearted illustrations. I’m not sure how to answer that last question, and sitting with the ‘What if?’ is both challenging and satisfying, isn’t it?breakerWant more Delphine Chedru? Me too. I found this book trailer, and although I can’t understand the words, I can read the pictures. So charmed.

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Hide & Eek!

by hat-trick design, illustrated by Rebecca Sutherland

{published 2013, by Knock Knock}

When Knock Knock knocked and asked if I wanted to take a look at this book, it was a definite Yes Yes. Check out this creepy, kooky trailer:

breaker This would have made a great Labor Day weekend camping trip book, because you need a flashlight to read it! So maybe save it for when the dark rages at 5:00? (Sorry, Alaska.)

I have to confess, I had to peek at the eek using a lamp with its shade removed. (Which turned out to be a great reminder to update the old earthquake emergency kit!)

Still smitten.

Here’s why.

This is a book that lets you fill in the blanks. It’s wordless, and asks for interaction not just with imagination, but with a literal prop. You light up the story. It’s a tactile reading experience that’s sometimes on that edge of frightening and hilarious, and always unexpected.

You’ll never guess what this proper poodle lady is hiding!

Hat tip to Travis Jonker at 100 Scope Notes for spotting some action pictures of Hide & Eek!

Right? Awesome.

Sometimes novelty books have bells and whistles for kicks and not because they matter. But design is integral to Hide & Eek’s story – the imagination, the anticipation, and ultimately the transformation is the story.

Fun for kids and big people alike. (As long as your earthquake kit is up to date.)ch

Review copy provided by Knock Knock.

 

 

The Other Side

theotherside

by Istvan Banyai

{published 2005, by Chronicle Books}

I’m a big fan of another Istvan Banyai book, Zoom. Turns out, I’d been holding that book in my clutches so tight, that I completely spaced out on this one. This one that came out eight whole years ago. What?!

The Other Side is just that – a look around the bend, through the eyes of another, and into a world that will probably surprise you. The visual puzzle starts to unfold on the endpapers, where it appears that the page has already been folded for you. And on the other side? Your finger – left behind, intricately folding a paper airplane, and tossing it through an open window.  So my pictures are a little haphazard and all over the place, but I think that suits this story. The illlustrations here are devour-worthy, even if some of the time there’s no rhyme or reason for what the heck is happening. Your point of view is constantly shifting, so each new vignette is a romp and a surprise and a gut-check of whether you are up or down or in or out or just what. A flamingo casting the shadow of a palm tree?! OKAY.  I love this page flip, where this monstrous lump of something hovers over some men working. But that? It’s just a blond thing with pigtails, hopscotching her way up the page. I don’t know what’s going on here. And I love that.

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Duck! Rabbit!

It’s a rainy morning in beautiful downtown Burbank. (I hopped over to YouTube to find a clip of Johnny Carson’s description of “beautiful downtown Burbank,” and realized Burbank is named after a dentist?!! A dentist? Ew.)

Anyway, it’s a morning perfect for a second cup of coffee, NFL RedZone, and slippers from a hotel in Bangalore. (My boyfriend went to India and all I got were these paper slippers.)

(I love parentheses this morning apparently.)

ANYWAY.

Are you following all of the excitement of Picture Book Month? Just checking.

Anyway, AGAIN.

This book:

Based on this illusion:

is. so. much. fun. Written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, Duck! Rabbit! is a delightful volley of ‘Which is it?!’ What a dream team…I’d love to be their third wheel!

DESIGN INTENTION: PERCEPTION

This book is funny and clever and brain-stretching, as it asks its young reader to consider perspective and multiple possibilities of reading a singular image. The dialog between two pals happens on either side of the gutter, clearly defining who says what as they attempt to convince the other that it’s a duck. Or a rabbit.

Because the book is a square, it opens as a long and short rectangle, perfect for framing the duck/rabbit. Smart, smart choice of book design.

And whatever his intention, I just love the way Tom Lichtenfeld kept each spread contained within that thick black border, the same thickness as the line outlining the duck/rabbit.

So. What is it? A duck? Or a rabbit?

I’m going with a ruck. Or dabbit.

PS–Check out this cute trailer for Duck! Rabbit!