Penguin's Special Christmas Tree by Jeannie St. John Taylor and Molly Idle
Penguin really, really wants to win "Santa's Best Tree Award". The only problem is he doesn't know how to decorate the tree. With a help from a little angel friend the team come up with all sorts of wacky and wild ideas for tree decorations (including my favorite, which is a frog). But will it be enough to impress Santa?
Now you are probably getting sick of hearing me gush about illustrations when I talk about picture books. But really, the illustrations are what makes a picture book a picture book! So excuse me while I gush for a moment here.
I LOVE these illustrations. Love them. The illustrator, Molly Idle, was another person I got to interview for Roberts Snow back in 2007. And I totally fell in love with her style then. So when she told me she had a new Christmas book coming out AND it had penguins (I love penguins), I had to have it.
I succeeded in getting a copy last year, and I absolutely love this book. The story is very cute, and has a unique element because the whole book is told completely in dialogue. Since there isn't a "narration" element here, the illustrations are EVERYTHING to making sense of this book. I love how they look like a cross between colored pencil and pastels. And the facial expressions of the characters (the penguin especially) are hilarious. I am also thoroughly entertained that my version of the book also came with a paper ornament in the back of it. So Penguin's tree is now hanging on my tree. (Yes, I am entertained easily sometimes).
Bottom line is that it's the overall uniqueness that really pulls this all together for me. It doesn't really have much to do with Christmas (other than they are decorating a tree for Santa's contest) but it's a great Christmas book anyway.
Shady Glade Rating: 9/10