My four-year-old daughter and I read a lot of children’s books this year. We wrote down 75 titles, but I’m sure we missed quite a few. Out of all those books, there was one clear winner: The Teacher’s Pet.
Written by Anica Mrose Rissi, The Teacher’s Pet is a funny story about a class of students who have an unusual experience with a science project. After their tadpoles hatch, Mr. Stricter decides they should keep one because he’s always wanted a pet. But instead of having a frog as a class pet, they end up with a hippo! He continues to get bigger and bigger and causes a lot of problems. Mr. Stricter (who is anything but strict) loves their class pet and can’t understand what all the fuss is about. It’s up to the students to save the day.
Besides the fact that the story is funny, the other reason why we loved this book so much was the illustrations. Created using acrylic and pencil, Zachariah Ohora’s paintings match the story so well and help carry on the humorous vibe. The illustrations are bold, especially because of the simple color palette. I love how the students have big round heads on little bodies and are colorful shades of orange, yellow, tan, black, yellow, and green, and I like how Mr. Stricter wears a mustard yellow cardigan with a snazzy bow tie and green sneakers. The pictures have almost a vintage feel and would look adorable as prints in frames. This really is a cute book.
We liked the illustration style so much that we went in search of more Zachariah Ohora books. We weren’t disappointed! This quest led us to The Not So Quiet Library, which is both illustrated and written by Ohora. In this book, a trip to the library is anything but normal when a five-headed monster shows up and threatens to eat the main character! A story set in a library means that there are so many wonderful pages filled with books. We also read If Your Monster Won’t Go to Bed, Wolfie the Bunny, and Read the Book, Lemmings! – all illustrated by Ohora. I’m pleased to see on Goodreads that there are plenty of other books for us to enjoy from this illustrator.
We hope you can find some of these books at your local library or bookstore.
What picture books have you loved reading this year?