Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin




Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bawk, bawk, bawk

It comes as no surprise that author/illustrator, David Ezra Stein is the recipient of a 2011 Caldecott Honor award.  Interrupting Chicken garnered that award highlighting his skillful use of watercolor, water-soluble crayon, china marker, pen, opaque white ink, and tea.  Across both pages the title opens with a moon rising through an open window, a gentle breeze blowing curtains into a room littered with remnants of life with a youngster.

  Readers journey into the bedtime ritual of reading a story with Papa saying,

 I'll read one of your favorites.  And of course you are not going to interrupt the story tonight are you?

Little red chicken replies that she will be good.  Sure she will..............

As Papa reads first reads Hansel and Gretel followed by Little Red Riding Hood and then Chicken Little, little red hen interrupts at the first opportune moment when she can not bear for the story to continue.  She spins her own interpretation on the events.  Stein illustrates the beginning of each of these tales in old style line brown tone drawings but when little red chicken interrupts he has her leaping into the story pages in bold colors which not only changes the narrative but the story characters expressions and actions as well.

When little red chicken begs Papa to read more story he says that they are out of stories.  At Papa's suggestion little red chicken tells a story which readers see as delightful child-like drawings in a composition book.  Guess who goes to sleeps first?

It might be fun to pair this with Once Upon A Time, the End (Asleeep in 60 Seconds) by Geoffrey Kloske and illustrated by Barry Blitt.

David Ezra Stein says on the back book jacket flap and at his web site that I'll never forget the experience of sitting in a beloved lap and having a whole world open before me:  a world brought to life by the pictures and the grown-up's voice.  That is what I want to re-create in my own books.

Mission accomplished.

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