Annette Laing's The Snipesville Chronicles
Whale in a Fishbowl
Elementary , Fiction , Picture Book / May 1, 2018

Wednesday the whale has spent her entire life in a very large fishbowl in a city near the sea. When she jumps, she can see the ocean, but doesn’t know what it is. One day a girl tells her she belongs in the sea, and Wednesday contemplates this before becoming frustrated, overturning her bowl, and finding her way “home”. This attractive picture book features full-page illustrations in muted colors, with a foldout page near the end. Since the setting is not in a zoo or aquarium, it’s not really cautioning against these practices, however the subject of captivity is apparent. “To all who are waiting, unknowingly, to be free.” Perfect for children (and adults) who love whales!

Ruby in the Ruins
Elementary , Fiction , Historical , Picture Book / April 29, 2018

A young girl and her mother survive the London bombings during WWII and await her father’s homecoming. When it arrives, Ruby finds him strange–whether because he’d changed a lot or she simply did not remember him, it does not specify. However, when she finds herself in trouble after playing in the fenced-off ruins of a bombed out building, he comes to her rescue. This story recounts the hardships of the war, the losses that families in London suffered, and the ways in which they pieced their lives back together. The author is also the illustrator, and has done a wonderful job depicting a devastating landscape with bright and cheerful reunions and children’s shenanigans (ink, gouache, and watercolor were used). The cover fonts complement the artwork perfectly and the board interiors feature interesting period ads.