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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wonderful Wednesday

Oliver's Tree by Kit Chase is the absolute cutest book that I've seen in a long time.  Right away I want a little stuffed Oliver elephant to sleep with all night.  The three friends are so adorable.  The are playing hide-and-seek and Oliver has trouble hiding in a tree.  It's too big, or too small, and he decides that elephants just don't belong in trees.
The art was done in watercolor with pen and ink.  There is plenty of white space and the pages go back and forth with full spreads to small white space for the text, and some bigger white space.  I can see someone making a whole line of baby sheets, stuffed animals, curtains, pillows out of this book.  The art is so delightful my first look had me imagining a baby room with this art on wallpaper, framed art, you name it.  This is Kit Chase's first picture book.  This tale of friendship, I hope, will have more titles following in its kind.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Terrific Tuesday

Churchill's Tale of Tails by Anca Sandu is my latest favorite pig story.  I love pigs, they're cute, it's OK that they're fat, and they make an awesome noise.  
Churchill loves his tail, but he loses it.  That's when all the fun begins, he tries other tails and ends up loving those too, until he sees his tail on the head of a bird.  The bird understands and gives it back.  Churchill is happy with his own tail, again, most of the time.  
The pictures were rendered in Adobe illustrator by combining digital color with hand-drawn textures and shading.  The most fun about this story is its silliness with all the other tails.  Kids will love this.  And of course if you don't make some tails and try them out, right away, then something is wrong in your head.  I can't wait to share this in Storytime so we can pretend to wear these different tails.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Marvelous Monday

Here Comes Destructo-saurus! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Jeremy Tankard is like watching a toddler become a giant dinosaur and destroy a city.  Oh, yeah, that's what it's all about.  Hee Hee.  I love Aaron Reynolds and Jeremy Tankard, what a great pairing.  The narrator's voice is the parent and the illustrations are the rampaging toddler.  The bold black outlines are also a perfect pairing with the animated electric colors.  Those clamoring for dynamic digital art will love this title.  I'll use it in my Storytime and recommend it to parents and caregivers.  The writing will give welcome respite to parents that are all too familiar with tantrums and I doubt any toddler will have this kind of self-awareness, but they'll identify with Destructosaurus.  Find out how Jeremy does his art, here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fabulous Friday

Eye to Eye: How Animals see the World by Caldecott Honor Winner Steve Jenkins is a fab nonfiction book with fantastic art.  Jenkins explains that there are four kinds of eyes, an eyespot, a pinhole eye, compound eyes, and a camera eye.
With each spread there is amazing information about animals and their eyes united with some terrific torn and cut paper illustrations.
The jumping spider made me jump!  I love the panther chameleon and the tuatara, a reptile.  The colors of the paper and multi-layering of the papers brings together intriguing information with captivating creatures that just happen to be teaching you all about eyes.
This title will be used in Storytime, but it will appeal to all ages, especially school-aged children.  They'll be drawn in by the weird and wild pictures, then learn from this informational text.  It almost seems like a trick to have such wonderful art to capture kids attention and then bring on the real learning.  But it's so cool you won't mind at all.
Check out Steve Jenkins' website and watch how he makes his books.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Throwback Thursday

The Pigeon Needs a Bath! words and pictures by Mo Willems isn't a true throwback, just a well-known winner with a new book.  Pigeon is so hilarious, no matter what and this one is no exception. Pigeon, true to form, talks to the reader, argues, and pleads.
Mo's dusty, dirty pigeon puts off bath time by the usual toddler method of too hot, too cold, not enough toys, too many toys, and when finally is out of reasons gets in and LOVES it.
This book is perfect for parents that are really having trouble getting their little one in the tub.  Or perfect because it's Pigeon and Pigeon is perfect.
Want to make a Pigeon finger puppet? Try it here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wonderful Wednesday

Following Papa's Song by Gianna Marino is a vibrant story.  The humpback whale father and child are going to travel to their summer hunting ground.  This warm tale is full of the wonders of the ocean and the parent/child connection. 
These mixed media illustrations were created with gouache and gum arabic on Saunder Waterford Watercolour Paper and mulberry paper.  The pictures are rich and deep with color and the paper gives an extra umph to the texture.  The glow of the pages is amazing.  I'm working with Masa paper in my painting class.  My teacher, Leslie White, is a master at it. Check out her blog, here. She has a tutorial on using watercolors with Masa paper.  
I'll use this story in my Smart Start Storytime, to encourage a child and parent to read together.  Parents will love to use this title with their children.  It portrays loving guidance for the child, even when they wander off, they'll listen and be able to find their parent.  This story would make a good transitional story on whale migration or any nonfiction research on whales.
Although the whole book is underwater scenes, no two spreads are alike.  I will pour over these pictures for hours, and wonder at how to achieve their level of intensity of hue.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Terrific Tuesday

Cat Says Meow and other an-i-mal-o-poe-ia by Michael Arndt is a very unique book.  It features animals and their sounds by incorporating the letters of the sound in the picture of the animal.  You can see what I mean from the picture on the cover.  It's so inventive with it's design. The animals are in one color and the words help design them with white and the one color for each animal.
I can see children, parents, and teachers using this with children to play with pictures and the words, sounding them out and hunting for the letters.
I think I would have tried to make the w in owl says hooo, with a W at the top of the head.  This book gets you thinking. With letters for eyes, ears, and mouth, you and your child will be making lots of animals with letters and experimenting for yourself.