Books by Sarah Verroken

Released: Oct. 15, 2009

Two lonely misfits find refuge with each other in this offbeat tale. As the other birds migrate in the winter, little, stubby-winged Pigeonette is left behind. Unable to fly, she trudges through the snow and hears the crash and thump of visually impaired Pigeon when the mighty bird bangs into a powerful oak. Pigeonette leads her newfound companion to her favorite tree, "the tallest in the forest and really close to the sky." Together the pair struggles to soar. Verroken's rich, boldly colored woodblock prints provide an appropriately outdoorsy, textured feel. The birds' unusual appearances highlight their unique personalities: In his oversized undershirt, mighty yellow Pigeon towers over the minute, blue Pigeonette. With their black boots and outstretched wings, the loving duo enlivens each speckled spread. Playing with perspective and size, curved lines support the warm interactions. While the rushed introduction of a wise old pigeon smacks of deus ex machina and some of the phrasing is peculiar (at the end, the two head south "to warmer toes"), overall, this quirky tale will beguile. (Picture book. 4-7) Read full book review >
FEELING SAD by Sarah Verroken
Released: June 1, 2009

A deceptively simple Dutch import (with the deliciously evocative original title of Boos) shows young readers a way to turn their moods around. Duck, despite the presence of her beloved toy Cuddly, "is not having a good time. Everything around her seems so gloomy." She makes her way through a black-and-white landscape as clouds lower and rain begins to fall. "Could the clouds be sad too? Duck feels worse than ever." But a cheerful frog encourages her to "Look ahead!" and Duck sees "a tiny bit of color." Emboldened, she gathers the clouds together to help her find the sun. As Duck begins to take control of her day, Verroken begins to digitally add color to her bold woodblocks until, when the sun finds Duck, the landscape is saturated with it. The illustrator's control of line and color easily communicates Duck's emotional journey, her self-translated text complementing it with ingenuous charm. It's an offbeat little tale, but children should feel empowered by its take-charge message. Who can't respond to a duck that tells clouds what to do? (Picture book. 2-6)Read full book review >