Tag Archives: olivier tallec

picture books about books (or poems)



I love a book about a book or story or language or reading, don’t you? It’s like a cupcake with extra frosting for bibliophiles. It affirms the things we like while indulging in them.

These two are a perfect pair for that.


A Book Is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins (2013).

I love this one so much. I just reread it and laughed aloud alone in my apartment several times.


Click image(s) to enlarge

“A book is to read” the first spread tells us. Yup and yes. But a book is more than that too in this whimsical take on the written word and story that’s clearly had input from the real things kids say.


Some favorites:

“Reading a book of pictures is still reading.” Word.

“Reading books in bed is great, but not really heavy ones.” True.


“It is impossible to read in the shower.”

“How a book smells depends on what it’s been through.”



This book will charm the pages off you, book lovers!

And we must see more of Sarah Wilkins’s wonderful artwork! We must!


Thanks to Myrick Marketing for images!



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This Is a Poem That Heals Fish by Jean-Pierre Siméon and Olivier Tallec (2007).


This book is mind-bending and I mean that as the highest praise. (Get ready for animals and objects who talk like it’s old hat.)

Here’s how it goes. A boy named Arthur has a fish named Leon who looks like he’s sick and going to die. Arthur’s mother’s solution is to give the fish a poem to revive it. Of course! A poem!


“But what is a poem?”

That’s what Arthur wants to know. And that’s what this book is about. It’s a story about poetry and it’s poetry itself.



When household appliances can’t answer Arthur’s question, he asks other people. They give the most baffling, beautiful answers. They speak of what poetry is to them.



“A poem, Arthur, is when you are in love and have the sky in your mouth.”

“A poem is when you hear the heartbeat of a stone.”

Aren’t those descriptions just gorgeous? And resonant?

And Tallec‘s illustrations so expressive.



Our main character Arthur is perplexed by the stuff people say about a poem. But he listens. He collects that stuff.

He tells that stuff to Leon.

And that stuff is a poem. A poem that heals his fish.

Poetry is pretty powerful stuff.


Thanks to Enchanted Lion Books for images!





The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers (2007).

booksalwayseverywhereBooks Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt, illustrated by Sarah Massini (2013).


My Pet Book by Bob Staake (2014).



It’s a Book by Lane Smith (2010).




I Am the Book by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Yayo (2011).

I Like Books by Anthony Browne (1988).

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce (2011).



Got more books about books or reading or poetry? Lemme know!



 I received a review copy of A Book is A Book from Gecko Press; opinions are my own. 

the bathing costume or the worst vacation of my life

thebathingcostumeThe Bathing Costume: Or the Worst Vacation of My Life by Charlotte Moundlic and Olivier Tallec.


This comes from the pair that created The Scar, a beautiful, brilliant book (which I’ve featured here). But that one’s a sad book. This one is also beautiful but without the sadness. Instead, you might say it has a dose of melancholy. But it’s also funny. Quirky. Charming. Real.




click image(s) to enlarge

It’s for the older set because the main character is eight and the text is lengthier than most. But also because a kid, a growing up kid, will really relate to this diary of a failed (then won!) summer vacation.

(See how those brilliant summer blues and yellows gleam from the pages?)


The whole book is written matter of factly. The way Myron might really narrate things.

Myron’s a bit behind. He hasn’t lost a baby tooth yet and he’s ripe for teasing. His vacation will be without his parents and brother, at his grandparents’ house with cousins.


“Grandma asked me if I was happy and I muttered, ‘Yes…Yeah, sure…’ What else could I say? I didn’t want to tell her that I was about to have the worst vacation of my whole life.”

And then there’s the bathing costume of the title. (That’s what Myron’s grandmother calls it.)

“This summer I’m eight. And in the family, the summer when you’re eight is the summer when you have to jump off the 10-foot diving board.”


The poor kid only has his older brother’s yellow bathing suit, so the thing hangs off him like crazy at the city pool. He has to hold it up and there’s a moment when his bare bottom’s in the air.  And that high dive? So not happening. What child (or grown up) can’t relate to this story?


Not to worry though. There’s change ahead. (Sadly, not in the form of a new bathing suit.) The power goes out one night and relationships shift. The family heads back to the swimming pool. One of Myron’s teeth gets very, very loose! And he walks up the ladder to the high dive. I’ll let you guess what happens next.


The last diary-like entry is the opposite of the first one. The way some camp or vacation diary-entries really are about-faces. The lucky ones. When worst vacations turn into the best.