The Umbrella Queen by Shirim Yim Bridges, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo (New York: Greenwillow, 2008)
In Noot's village everyone either makes or paints umbrellas. People come from faraway to buy the beautiful umbrellas. Noot is sure she can paint an umbrella. She copies one of her mother's designs. Her family can hardly tell the difference between Noot's umbrella and her mother's. Now Noot is an umbrella painter. The problem is her paintbrush doesn't want to paint flowers and butterflies. These are the only designs that can go on the umbrellas the village sells. She creates whimsical elephants. They play, do handstands, chase butterflies, and are generally silly. Noot's family won't let her paint elephants on any more umbrellas. She makes miniature umbrellas and paints elephants on those. One day the king comes. It's time for him to choose the umbrella queen. His fancy is quite taken with Noot's miniature umbrellas painted all over with elephants. Even though her designs aren't traditional, he chooses Noot as the umbrella queen.
What I thought: What a delightful story. I think it will appeal to creative people who know how fickle the muses can be. Noot couldn't help but paint elephants. That's what she needed to paint. The illustration were as lovely as the story.
Knitty Kitty by David Elliot, illustrated by Christopher Denise (Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2008)
Kitty knits hats, mittens, and scarves to keep her kittens warm and cozy. . They promptly give her creations to the snowman they made. At night, they realize the only thing they need to be cozy is their mother.
What I thought: This is a cute book. The kittens behave just like kids--giving their knitwear to a snowman. This will appeal to lovers of the story of three little kittens who loose their mittens.