Picture Book Review: Black and Bittern was the Night

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Author: Robert Heidbreder

Illustrator: John Martz

Age Range: 4 – 8 years

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Kids Can Press (August 1, 2013)

Language: English

Series: None

Genre: Picture book

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Source: Pubisher via NetGalley

My Rating: 2 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Halloween has arrived, but so have spooky skul-a-mug-mugs who frighten
the grown-ups into calling off trick-or-treating. It’s up to the kids to
take back the night! Told in nonsense verse, this scare-fest will have
you yak-yawling with fun!

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About the Author:

Robert Heidbreder is an award-winning children’s poet and author. His
many books include I Wished for a Unicorn, Eenie Meenie Manitoba and
Drumheller Dinosaur Dance. Robert spent thirty years as a primary school
teacher and, in 2002, won the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching
Excellence. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

About the Illustrator:

John Martz is a cartoonist and illustrator in Toronto, Canada. He is the
creator of the wordless online comic strip Machine Gum, and the
illustrator of several picture books. He has done work for The Globe
& Mail, MAD Magazine, Cartoon Network, Lucky Peach, JibJab, Hallmark
Cards, and both chickaDEE and Chirp Magazine. He was a founding editor
of the illustration blog Drawn.ca. He has been nominated twice for the
Doug Wright Awards for Canadian Cartooning. His picture book Dear Flyary
was nominated by the National Cartoonists Society for Best Book
Illustration in 2013. 

My Thoughts:

I’m not sure what to think about this book. On the one hand, I loved
that it was written in nonsense verse and yet was still able to convey
the story. On the other hand, the story itself was kind of weird and I’m
not sure I liked it.  While the jibberish was fun, some parts were
really difficult to read out loud. But that would probably get easier
each time it’s read. I read it a few times to my kids and found that
even though it did get easier, there were still some places that caused
me to stumble.

The illustrations were…interesting. I love the cover, and that is what
initially attracted me to the book. The first time I read this, I
didn’t like the illustrations at all. They kind of grew on me the more
we read it, but I still can’t say that I loved them.


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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Adriana Garcia
    December 10, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    Well, this seems like a dud for you :/ Weird usually means good to me with books… maybe the verse just didn't rhyme well enough. It happens.

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