Published January 3rd 2017 by Schwartz & Wade Books (first published September 1st 2016)
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
When a greyhound meets a groundhog, wordplay and crazy antics ensue. The two animals, much like kids, work themselves into a frenzy as they whirl around and around one another. (Around, round hound. Around, groundhog!) The pace picks up (Around and around and astound and astound!), until they ultimately wear themselves out.
I first met Chris’s wife Maurene – also an acclaimed author in her own right – via the YA community. After hearing occasional stories about Chris and their beloved cat Oliver, I promptly ran into Chris one year at Annual one year, and gamely announced to his politely confused face: “Hey! I’m the person who made a blanket for your cat.”
While Chris’s bemused reaction is a story in it of itself – there was some awkward backtracking, explaining that yes, I actually did know Maurene and wasn’t a random fan - the eventual joy of being able to introduce myself to the loved one of a friend seems like a fitting story to bring up, especially when put into the context of A Greyhound, A Groundhog.
After all, Emily Jenkins’s delightful tale is centered around two very different creatures accidentally meeting. Though both greyhound and groundhog are unsure of what to make of one another at first, they eventual gambol and frolic across their slice of the world together, leaping through splashes of curved text and delightful watercolor illustrations, as the world dances happily around them.
It's a vivid reminder of the joy of living on each page, and Jenkins is apt at using words that both visually appeal, but also repeat in a way that will appeal to younger readers who are learning the joy of language for the first time. The friendship of the unlikely duo are also a reminder of the importance (and joy!) of making friends with those who initially seem dissimilar from yourself – an important reminder in these transitional times.
All in all, this is a visually active tale, with short and buoyant sentences which will have readers hopping in anticipation to join both the greyhound and groundhog. With Apppelhans’s lovely, minimalist watercolor illustrations to accentuate the tale, this is a surefire hit.
Highly recommend, full stop.
Check out the rest of the tour!
December 28: Crafty Moms Share
December 29: Mundie Moms
December 30: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
January 2: Atomic Moms Podcast
January 3: Gidget Girl Reading
January 4: Reading Nook Reviews
January 5: Inspired by Savannah
January 6: Let's Talk Picture Books
About the author/illustrator:
Chris Appelhans was selected as the Children’s Choice Illustrator of the Year at the Children’s Choice Book Awards for Sparky!, written by Jenny Offill. The book received two starred reviews, including one from Booklist declaring, “Appelhans is a revelation.” Chris has also worked on several films, as an illustrator and a production designer for Coraline, an environment designer for Fantastic Mr. Fox, and a visual development artist for The Princess and the Frog.