I'm Not Cute
The picture of Baby Owl on the cover of the picture book, I'm Not Cute, caught my eye at Barnes and Noble the other day. Baby Owl is so cute that I immediately grabbed the book off the shelf in the Children's Department and sat in my chair at the little table. The same little table where I always sit to catch up on the Children's Picture Book Market. I pick the first picture book that captures my eye and if the story keeps my interest, I review it for my readers.
However, since I'm a humorist writer in addition to writing for children, I haven't written a children's book review on A Nice Place In The Sun for some time. It's hard for a children's writer/humorist to categorize a blog, but I'm hoping my readers who stop to read a humorous story will bear with an occasional book review.
I know children's picture book reviews may be a little elementary, but hopefully you can share the books I review with a child you know or treat the child within you to some marvelous stories.
I usually do not include this much introduction to a book review, but since I haven't written one in awhile, I didn't want some of you to wonder what in the world I was doing...even if half of the time I'm not sure myself...
Alright, now that I've explained myself, I can tell you about this great picture book, I'm Not Cute, by Jonathan Allen.
From the onset of this story the reader discovers that Baby Owl doesn't like being treated like a baby or told he is cute. Adults and children will be drawn into Baby Owls dilemma early on, by Jonathan Allen's masterful use of the simple words used in early childhood in addition to his bright and humorous illustrations.
Baby Owl wishes to be a "huge and scary hunting machine with great big soft and silent wings" however all the animals in the forest insist on telling him how cute and cuddly he is all the time. Baby Owl's frustration is evident by his reaction to the animals in the forest, which we see by the expressions on his face, as well as the body language depicted in the illustrations. For instance, Baby Owl squirms, fidgets, and squishes his face into toddler like expressions with each encounter.
For example, when "Squirrel" compliments him on his "big baby eyes" and the "Fox" pats him on the head. Toward the end of the story, Baby Owl begins to orbit into a tantrum, when the other animals affections prove too much for comfort. Even though Baby Owl denounces the animals claims about how cute he is, with the line, "I'm Not Cute!" the animals never change their mind. Baby Owl's resistance to the notion that he is a cute little baby is so toddler like it's hilarious.
However, when Baby Owl returns home to tell his Mom how the other animals acted and she validates his feelings, he decides that maybe it wasn't so bad being cute after all. Baby Owl isn't comfortable with Mom's agreement, so he shouts to his mother, "But I am cute!... I am! I am!"
Then when Baby Owls fussiness begins to escalate Mom knows that it's time for bed, and the story ends with Mom putting Baby Owl to bed, and whispering, "You're so cute, Baby Owl.... For a huge, scary, sleek, sharp-eyed hunting machine, that is."
The conclusion wraps the story up nicely, and will send adults as well as children off sleepy and satisfied.
I'm Not Cute is available on Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble.
It's 32 pages, and published by Hyperion, $14.99
Ages; 2 to 5
Motherhood is an art impossible to explain, one which requires a vast sea of love, devotion, compassion, and understanding, unmatched by any affection we will ever know again.- Ann Clemmons
Words are the core of our souls, without written, vocal or lyrical expression we lose sight of one another or worse, ourselves. Words bring forth the essence of the human spirit; so express yourself without abandon.
Beatrix Potter’s Journal, 17 November 1896, from the National Trust collection.
Alone in her world
of make believe
weaving her stories
of magic and light
She brings joy
to the eyes
of innocent minds
less jaded and free
For only they know
what's in her heart
holding the secrets
she guards so well
Life's hidden mysteries
belong to those
whose wisdom and truth
shine on in imagination
Written for Ann
Of The Horoscope Junkie
Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”'
F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Lines from The Great Gatsby)
"A Southerner Talks Music"
"A book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us."
An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency.
- Mark Twain in Eruption
"I like a good story well told. That is the reason I am sometimes forced to tell them myself"