My Bibi Always Remembers
Illustrated by: Mike Wohnoutka
Published by: Disney Hyperion Books, New York, Sept 2014
Ages: 3 – 6 years
Theme: comfort, security, family love, grandparents
Opening Lines: When Bibi calls, everyone comes – aunties, sisters, Mama – one by one. Step –step. Searching for wet.
Synopsis: When Bibi calls, everyone comes. Bibi is the grandmother elephant and the protector of the herd. She leads the family across the parched savanagh, because she remembers “the way to wet.” Sometimes little Tembo falls behind. Her own happy memories lead her elsewhere, like to the jackalberry tree for tender leaves, or on a lively stork chase. At sunset Bibi calls louder than ever. Could she have finally found water? Tembo’s wanderings cause her family to go looking for her, including Bibi. Amid the dangers lurking in the shadows security is soon re-established.
Why I like this: Another gorgeous cover that instantly says “pick me, pick me.” Toni uses beautiful rhythm and refrains to build gentle momentum and tension finishing with a loving gentle conclusion. Almost like that of the gentle pounding of a Bibi (the word we are later informed means grandmother elephant) running to assist her young. There is an Author’s Note at the back giving us some information about elephants. The illustrations of Mike Wohnoutka, like that of the cover, are full-page beauties at times giving hints of danger and wonder, a window into the African wild. The theme of that special connection between the very young and their grandparents is beautifully whispered into the text, unspoken. And who doesn’t love elephants?
Resources/Findings: Take a look at the author’s beautiful website where you can also download a greeting card…. http://www.tonibuzzeo.com/MY_BIBI_ALWAYS_REMEMBERS.html
There are also Teachers guides and theatre scripts for this book on Toni’s website. Both Toni and Mike have collaborated on Stay Close to Mama and Just Like My Papa and Toni has won Caldecott Honor Book and New York Times best-selling for One Cool Friend illustrated by David Small.
Apart from the above books Mike is also best known for illustrations of Jack’s House by Karen Magnuson Beil and Moo! by David LaRochelle .
This is also Mike’s website, pop over and take a look at his sketchbook. http://www.mikewohnoutka.com/pages/childbks/review.html
(And I just noted on Toni’s website a lovely review on Wendy’s blog Noodling With Words.)
I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view. So pop over and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.