Books by Gillian Tyler

THE BUS IS FOR US by Michael Rosen
Released: April 1, 2015

"A lovely treatment of a perennially popular topic. (Picture book. 2-5) "
There are so many ways to ride; some are flights of imagination. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2011

Just how long can it take to get ready to go to the fair? Some stories need to be set to music. The plot of this picture book is simple enough: A boy wants to go to the fair, but his family isn't ready. There are pies to be baked and animals to be brushed. But this book's really all about the rhymes. Many classic children's books have succeeded entirely on a bouncy rhythm and a handful of clever rhymes, but the words here don't bounce. The scansion seems, just faintly, wrong: "Hurry, Mama! Please, let's go! / Let's go to Derry Fair! / I want to ride the giant swing / That flies high / in the air!" A clever musician, with a little time, could make them catchy. For readers without time or the ability to improvise tunes, the real joy is in Tyler's hide-and-seek illustrations. The watercolor-and-ink images are rendered in muted greens and browns, like spring, and they contain every toy or pet a preschooler might want. Children reading the book on their parents' laps will search each page and say, "There's a sheep! There's a duck! There's a hot-air balloon!" Even the homely interiors and details will fascinate. These pictures are more likely to stick in their heads than any of the couplets. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 2005

Tyler highlights the romance in this frilly version of the folk song, following Froggy and Miss Mousie from courtship to honeymoon in pale, finely brushed outdoor scenes captioned in elegant, if low-contrast, gold ink. A musical arrangement floats across the title page, and though the repeats in the following text are left out, on nearly every spread a tiny figure—usually one of the wedding guests, who tend to be insects sporting human heads and clad in antique dress—invites readers to insert a rhythmic "Um-hum! Um-hum!" after every line. In the end, the Cat breaks up the party without eating anyone, unlike the intruder in Marjorie Priceman's version (2000), for instance, the interspecies lovers are off to France, and "Their wedding album is laid on the shelf— / If you want any more you can sing it yourself!" Um-hum. (source note) (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
TREASURE HUNT by Allan Ahlberg
Released: April 1, 2001

Ahlberg and Tyler (Snail House, 2001) celebrate the playful games that deepen family ties; each morning brings a succession of treasure hunts, as Tilly's mother hides her breakfast banana in the kitchen, her father hides her sock rabbit in the garage—and where has the cat gone off? Even grandma gets into the game, hiding chocolate coins on Tilly's birthday. Tilly crows with pleasure each time she finds another "treasure," and turns the tables at bedtime, as her fond parents hunt high and low before "finding" her behind the curtains. Tyler's small domestic scenes are rendered in such pale colors and fine, sketchy detail that even though the hidden objects (and the chubby post-toddler) are always in plain sight, viewers too will have to hunt for them. A cozy companion for such similar explorations of family ritual as Ezra Jack Keats's Peter's Chair (1967) and Vera Williams's "More, More, More," Said the Baby (1990). (Picture book. 3-5)Read full book review >
THE SNAIL HOUSE by Allan Ahlberg
Released: March 1, 2001

This homespun tale, heard at Grandma's knee, will transport readers just as it does her young listeners. As the story goes, one day three children shrink until they're tiny enough to slip beneath the door. Out in the towering garden they discover a spiral-shaped house atop a snail: " 'And it was a proper house too, with a door and windows, roof and chimney, table, chairs, three little beds, curtains, and crockery—everything!' " Displaying an exquisite eye for natural detail viewed from an inch above ground level, Tyler follows the diminutive travelers through a wonderland of wildflowers, grassy clumps, and berry bushes, past inquisitive looking insects and, among other adventures, near-disastrous encounters with a falling apple, a thrush, and a dandelion thistle—all in miniature. Their outward journey ends at a stream's edge; after a wordless spread spent contemplating the rushing water they make a quick return to a more conventional home and size. The author and illustrator both keep the boundaries between the real world and that of the imagination distinct but easily bridgeable, and the children's experiences always seem more exhilarating than perilous. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >