I’m a big fan of author and illustrator Patricia Polacco, so I was thrilled to see she has a new book, “The Art of Miss Chew.” The story is based on a real person who made an impact on her life: “Violet Chew not only taught me how to see, but how to perceive, evaluate, and appreciate the beauty of art.”
Patricia brings her signature style to another moving autobiographical work. Patricia has a learning disability that she wrote about in an earlier book, “Thank You, Mr. Falker,” and she addresses it in this new work as well. She was fortunate to have been educated by several caring, nurturing teachers who tried to bring out the best in their students. In her tribute to Miss Chew, she expresses how important art was in her life. I recommend this book for ages 5 and up. Continue reading
My kid is a
hoarder collector. Wherever we go, she is always gathering rocks and stones. She forbids the recycling or throwing away of any scrap, bit or bob, so we are awash in small pieces of fabric, empty egg cartons and paper. I often agonize over the piles and messes, but I feel much better if I can see this stuff as useful. And this is reason number one that I love “Show Me a Story” by Emily K. Neuburger.
As a librarian and parent, I know the importance of early literacy skills to a child’s reading and school success. One of these is narrative skills, or the ability to describe and sequence events, tell stories and predict what will happen next. “Show Me a Story” is a beautifully presented collection of craft projects that create props or kits for storytelling games and activities. In our house we started with story stones, using Modge Podge, construction paper, paint and fabric to create characters and objects affixed to smooth rocks. (We have plenty of smooth rocks.) We made a dragon, sword, castle Continue reading
My four year old buddy Max is a BIG fan of games. BIG FAN! I found a game that only requires your leftover wrapping supplies and smallish objects from around the house. You wrap the objects in different colored paper and then guess what’s inside based on shape, size and feel. Game on!
As with anything you do with a child, the game quickly took unexpected turns when I played it with Max. Check out the original game, then see our adaptations below. We hope you enjoy them.
Stump the Adult
After Max and I played, we wrapped all of the “gifts” again. He loved picking the color of paper in which we should wrap each item. He hated taping his fingers together. Taping quickly became my job.Then, we let his parents guess the contents of the packages. They did an excellent job of modeling their deductive reasoning: “This one feels very square, so I bet it’s the window.” Props for the parental units. Continue reading
The best way to describe Hervé Tullet’s “Press Here” is as an “old school” app. The book starts with a single yellow dot and instructions to “press here and turn the page.” Magically, the one dot turns into two. By following the instructions to shake, turn and rub gently, the dots shift, multiply and even change colors. Kids will hop on the opportunity to interact with this book. As an adult, I found myself magnetically drawn to the experience (and glancing over my shoulder to make sure no one was watching).
For more fun with “Press Here”:
- Explore the French artist’s other books. They all encourage you and your child to interact with art. My favorite is “The Book With a Hole.” Appropriately named, this book has a huge hole in its center that transforms from a peek inside a pot full of whatever treats you describe to a basketball goal through which you are encouraged to throw papers. The possibilities are endless, which is exactly why I love this book. Continue reading
I need to make a disclaimer right off the bat. I was an English major in college, and I am a total literature nerd. I loved Virgina Woolf from the moment I encountered her in my modern British lit class, so I am predisposed to love any picture book based on the writer’s childhood.
Kyo Maclear’s “Virgina Wolf,” however, is not just for bookish types. Any child–or adult–who has ever fallen into a dark and surly funk will appreciate this tale. Very loosely based on Woolf’s relationship with her painter sister Vanessa, this story opens with Virginia in a “wolfish” mood–growling, howling and acting very strange. Mostly black and white illustrations and wild text mirror her dim emotions. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to make Virginia happy, but nothing seems to work until she paints a brightly colored fantasy world to cheer and charm her sister. The wolf is transformed back into a little girl by the power of creativity and imagination, and the illustrations become bright and inventive.
If you or your child has ever felt a little wolfish, check out this lovely and lively tale.