CONFESSION: I did not know who Lane Smith was when I picked up this charming book on my local bookstore's shelf and purchased it. Later, I looked up Lane Smith on Wikipedia and blushed with embarrassment! How could I not know who he is?!
His Wikipedia page reads like the ultimate list of your favorite books. He has partnered with children's literature greats like Jon Scieszka, illustrated covers for Roald Dahl novels, has won two Caldecott medals, and his 2010 work, It's A Book, has been translated into 25 languages. And I didn't even recognize his name. Shame, shame, shame!
His latest work, There is a Tribe Of Kids, has a combination that I think makes for a successful picture book - simple, carefully chosen words paired with simply drawn but full of character illustrations. But when I say simple, I don't mean "easy to make", you know? Simplicity is one of the hardest qualities to attain when it comes to writing stories, and this book achieves it.
The story follows a young wildling boy, perhaps a cave boy, as he looks for a family with whom to belong. He can't swim like the penguin family. He can't climb like the goat family. He tries out animal families of all kinds, and we get to learn all of the different names of animal families like a pod of whales, a herd of goats, and so on. In the end, he finally finds a family where he fits - a glorious tribe of kids! recommended age: 3+