I haven’t written about picture books much, mostly because, as a middle school teacher now, they don’t really fall into my purview. Many titles come across my book feeds and a few have captured my interest, either because of the subject or because someone thinks they seem Caldecott worthy. The end of a year brings out many “best” book lists and there are only 18 days until ALA’s Youth Media Awards.
A picture book that can’t win the Caldecott (because the author/illustrator is Canadian) is Elise Gravel’s The Great Antonio.
Publisher’s Summary: What made the Great Antonio so great? He weighed as much as a horse; he once wrestled a bear; he could devour twenty-five roast chickens at one sitting. In this whimsical book, beloved author and illustrator Elise Gravel tells the story of Antonio Barichievich, the larger-than-life strongman who had muscles as big as his heart.
The Great Antonio was a real person, who lived in Montreal. Gravel’s biography reads like a tall tale and celebrates Antonio’s quirkiness. The type style and illustrations bear witness to real feats he accomplished.
The Great Antonio is published by Toon books, who specialize in beginning readers. Their website for the book offers a teacher’s guide that teaches young readers about biographies and autobiographies and shows students how to examine the boundaries between fact and fantasy and create an autobiographical world of their own!
A great addition to beginning biography unit.