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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.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Marvelous Monday

Bear's Big Bottom by Steve Smallman, illustrated by Emma Yarlett is a fabulous forest animal book.  Especially Bear, he's the most Fab because he has this big bottom.  And when things go well, they're great, but Bear's big bottom does get him in some sticky situations.  His friends love him just as he is, but they do realize, that sometimes, Bear's big bottom gets in the way.  You'll have to read Bear's Big Bottom to find out how Bear used his big bottom to help save his other forest friends.
From reading an interview with the artist, it looks like she creates her art in a traditional way then scans the pictures and digitally manipulates them in photoshop. The friendly illustrations lend a helping hand to ratchet up the humor factor.
I'll use this title in my Early Literacy Class and recommend it to children and parents that love a great laugh.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Favorites

Presto Change-o! A book of animal magic by Edouard Manceau is so fun. You take something simple like a bowl of salad, move a few pieces and voila, you have a turtle on a turtle.  Later you have a rocket, move 4 pieces and it's a penguin!  This book will have kids and parents laughing, playing, and rhyming. 
This title is like a board book, bigger and tougher, but that's so you can move the pieces.  It will be housed with the other picture books.
I like the cleverness of this book and it will be a terrific example to use when parents have a hard time understanding how to 'play' with a book and their child.  I'll use it in my Early Literacy Class as well as suggest it to kids and parents. I think even children up to third grade will appreciate how inventive this book is.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thoughtful Thursday

Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Evan Turk is a treat and thought provoking.  This story tells about Arun Gandhi and a time he stayed with his grandfather.  It covers a topic that probably comes up in every house at some time: anger.  Grandfather explains in a story how we all feel anger; it can strike like lightning.  
The illustrations for this book were rendered watercolor, paper collage, cotton fabric, cotton yarn, gouache, pencil, tea, and tin foil.  The art is breathtaking. It is realistic, surreal, and shadowed perfectly.  The use of purple, many different shades of brown, and the fabric really bring out the reds, oranges, and other paper collage.  I'm not doing justice to mixture of reality and surreal, you'll have to take a look for yourself to see what I mean.
This title I'd use with Kindergarten and older school-age children.  A great book to recommend for anger management, Gandhi, or grandparents.