Ask Pippa

2006: What's New in Picture Books?

The Birdman, by Veronika Charles ($22.99, Tundra). Illustrations by Annouchka G. Galouchko and Stephen Daigle.

This amazing story is about a very poor man who lives in Calcutta, India. Even though he is poor, he saves what little money he earns to buy caged birds so that he may nurse them to health, then set them free. While the story about this incredibly generous and caring person is very touching, it's even more so when you discover that it's all true! There are certainly lessons to be learned about generosity and respect for the small living things around us. Ther eis nothing like seeing a bird set free.

For readers aged 5 to 8 (and anybody who is fond of birds).

The author: Veronika M. Charles is an award-winning author and illustrator. She travelled to Calcutta to meet the birdman.

The illustrators: Annouchka G. Galouchko and Stephen Daigle.

Clever Katarina, by Ken Setterington, pictures by Nelly and Ernst Hofer ($22.99, Tundra).

This is a classic, old-world fairy tale that is retold. The basic a story is about a girl who must rely on her cleverness to rescue her father who ended up in the king's prison. The problem is, the king keeps setting up tasks for Katarina to solve. In stories like this, the clever peasant usual gets some sort of reward or attention from the royalty, maybe even a marriage proposal. Many kids picture books are new stories; it's fun to check out the older tales like this too. For readers 5 to 9.

The author: Ken Setterington is a writer, story teller and librarian.


Jousting with Jesters: An ABC for the Younger Dragon, by Martin Springett, ($19.95, Orca).

This is a delightful ABC picture book that has Mediaeval flare. This book is full of wonderful, cheery pictures of colourful jesters, smiling dragons, knights, elves, and much more. There are lots of details for young kids to look at, and many of the pictures are sure to trigger some giggles. The ABCs are fun to read through too. For very young readers, aged 4 to 6.

The author: Martin Springett is an award-winning illustrator and musician. Check out his website.