Author Spotlight: Jez Alborough

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In honor of Children’s Book Week, I thought I’d mention a favorite author my son and I have discovered through our project of reading 1000 picture books together: Jez Alborough. Alborough has fun, quality picture books. Some rhyme. Some have a precious little gorilla that reminds me of my own little monkey boy. Most are ridiculous and imaginative.

The Bobo books are my personal favorites. Bobo the gorilla sure reminds me my own little toddler (at least, the toddler of a few months ago). Like young kids, he may not always talk a lot, but he sure knows what he wants as he looks at the world around him.

In Hug, he starts to feel sad because all the other animals are hugging their mommies. When his mommy comes and gives him a hug, he feels happy and can go give the other animals hugs too! My son loves to give hugs, so he relates to this book very well. I always get a hug from him.

In Tall, Bobo feels tall when he compares himself to animals but then, of course, there is always an animal larger. He tries to be taller and taller by standing on tall animals. In the end, he realizes he likes being small because then he’s his mommy’s gorilla.

There is, apparently, one more Bobo book that has somehow missed my attention. It’s called Yes. According to Alborough’s site, Bobo is a pretty happy boy, always saying yes, until bath time. My son loves bath time, but we’ll still have to find this because he, too, loves to say “Yes!”

Alborough’s Duck books are probably the most well known. These were the first books we found. In each, Alborough has a rhythmic rhyming story about how Duck tries to save the day, and Duck’s solutions usually cause additional problems much to our amusement. Of the stories, I think Duck in a Truck is my favorite, but Fix-it Duck and Super Duck were also some of the first we found. Hmm. Can’t I just name them all? (According to Alborough’s site, there are still a few we haven’t yet found! I must remedy that!) My son’s favorite at this point (age 2 ½) is the non-traditional lift the flap book Duck’s Key: Where Can it Be? Frog keeps hiding Duck’s key and by lifting the flap, we can find it. My son loves telling Duck “There it is!” on every page.

The Bear and Teddy books are also fun. Eddie has a teddy bear named Freddy. In Where’s My Teddy?, Eddie sets out to find his teddy bear, only to find a huge teddy bear. That huge teddy bear belongs to a huge child-aged bear. I like the rhyming story (a pleasant read aloud) and my son thinks it is silly and fun. It’s the Bear! is a bit more scary, I think, because the bear sees Eddie’s picnic, and Eddie is afraid he’ll be eaten. He’s not, of course, and the bear runs off just as scared as Eddie. The series is nicely rounded out by My Friend Bear in which the boy and the bear actually meet, through their teddy bear friends. It’s nice to be able to show that the two have been misunderstanding each other all along: they can be friends after all.

Yesterday at the library, we also found Some Dogs Do, which is a whimsical story of a dog who discovers he can fly. He must come to realize what he can do despite the teases of his doggy peers. It’s an inspiring, if odd and cheesy, story of our own abilities, and I love the art work in particular in this book.

While Alborough has a few other non-series books, I have not yet read them all. I’ll just also mention Watch Out, Big Bro’s Coming, which is a good example of how telling a story without knowing the facts can cause mix ups.

I should mention that besides all these great stories that Alborough writes, I love Alborough’s artistic style. Some Dogs Do is elegantly painted, the Bear stories are more pointillist (except for the boy’s face, which is cartoony), and the Duck and Bobo stories look like illustrations. I am not an art expert, so I know that sounds amateur. But I really like his ways of capturing each series, and I look forward to find the few books we haven’t yet read. Each series is slightly different, but it’s always sure to be a hit!

For more about Jez Alborough, visit his website. There are coloring pages and details about upcoming books as well.

What are you reading with your kids this week? Are you doing anything special in honor of Children’s Book Week?

Reviewed on May 13, 2010

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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