This is the cover of Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr. This book won the 1988 Caldecott award. Told from a child’s point of view, the book describes the trek of a father and child through a snowy woods to go owling. This is the child’s first time, and along the way the child describes the landscape and the feeling of the cold and the snow. The child tells what he or she knows about owling, such as the need to be quiet and brave and that the chance of finding an owl can be variable. The child depicts the process of owling: calling out to the owl by imitating its sound. After they finally see the owl, the child emphasizes how much the experience impacted her, saying she feels like a shadow.
This book’s illustrations consist of beautiful watercolor landscapes that each span two pages. The illustrations are realistic, and the different brush strokes and the details created with the fine, dark lines give a great sense of texture. The detail given to the trees makes them fascinating to look at. Each one has different elaborately shaped branches, and many types of trees are shown. One can almost feel the coldness of the snow when looking at this book, for the vast white spaces contrasted with the darkness and detail of the forest truly create the illusion of snow. The illustrations sustain engagement, for they reveal a new and different scene and visual perspective with the turn of each page.
This book’s illustrations will capture the attention of young children and engage them as they scan the landscapes and feel as though they are being transported into the world of the book. I think this book is a great winter read and would be a good calming book to read in the classroom. Though this book is very calming and peaceful, it will also excite children as they anticipate the owl’s coming or what they will see next.
For more information about the author and illustrator, visit http://janeyolen.com/ and http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/arts/15schoenherr.html?_r=1
Jamie Lee Curtis
is one of few celebrities to have seamlessly entered the children’s book writing profession. Since 1993, She has published nine books along with illustrator Laura Cornell and feels that writing is her favorite creative outlet.
When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old’s Memoir of Her Youth is the first book written by Curtis. The book follows a four year old through her memories of what she couldn’t do as a baby and then describes what she can do now. By going through this list of things she can do, the little girl discovers who she is and how great it is to be a big girl.
Jamie Lee Curtis was inspired by her then four-year-old daughter’s witty comments about her “past” when she wrote this book. Just as Curtis’ daughter was proud of her growing accomplishments, I believe that most little girls could relate to some aspect of this story. It’s a tribute to being a girl and loving the responsibilities that come along with growing up. The beautiful watercolor illustrations are whimsical and funny which makes reading this book even more enjoyable! I would recommend this book for a preschool or kindergarten classroom or simply as a book to enjoy with your daughter!
For more information about Jamie Lee Curtis as well as teaching guides and games to go along with When I Was Little
, please visit www.jamieleecurtisbooks.com
This is the cover of The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney (http://www.jerrypinkneystudio.com/), winner of the 2010 Caldecott Award. This is a beautifully illustrated wordless book based on the classic Aesop’s fable. This book probably grew out of his previous book Aesop’s Fables which contain a collection of all of the fables, each with an illustration by Pinkney. Pinkney’s illustration in both books, but especially The Lion and the Mouse, are very detailed, hand sketched drawings that depict scenes in the stories.
The thing that strikes me about these illustrations is how easy it is to see the artistic process that Pinkney used. The reader can clearly see the pencil marks Pinkney used to sketch the overall shapes and used to add details. The layer upon layer of watercolor add light, color, and even more detail to the illustrations. I think that this book could not only be considered an excellent piece of literature, but also a large collection of art.
The simple fact is that kids of all ages will love this 2010 Caldecott winner. I am planning on teaching Kindergarten after I finish school and I cannot imagine my classroom without this book. Because of how eye-catching this book is, I think young children who read it will begin to see how amazing and exciting the world of books is. The reader cannot help but become engaged when reading this book. Older readers will not only love the illustrations, but will enjoy writing their own story to go with them.
Greetings current students and former students of the study of Children’s Literature! I believe that anyone who has ever taken a class with me has fallen in love with Mem Fox and her marvelous picture book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. I start every first class of the semester reading the book and asking my students what they would put in their own baskets.
I am so fortunate to include Mem as a friend. We were once a young author and a young professor! We think that is was about 25 years ago when we first met, but I am not sharing that photo with you. Late in June, we reunited and Mem claims we look a lot better now!
Please be sure to check out Mem’s wonderful website www.memfox.com. It is the BEST author website I have seen. I remember when Mem visited Nashville 25 years ago, a child told her that Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge was his favorite book. Mem asked him how old he was. “Six,” he replied. And Mem’s response? “Great. I wrote the book for people between the ages of three and 93….and six is in there!”
The same applies to her website. I have shared it with people between the ages 3-80 (will continue looking for the 93 year old). So I know that you will enjoy her website as well!
Happy Reading! Ann