Quote of the Month

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

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Letter Arrives

Nothing is quite the same as going to your mailbox and seeing that someone has taken the time to send you a card or letter.  The thrill of an email or comment on your blog is unlike the joy that courses through your soul when you hold physical verification in your hands that someone cares enough to communicate.  David Ezra Stein master author/illustrator, winner of the Caldecott Honor Award for Interrupting Chicken and the Ezra Jack Keats Award for Leaves has perfectly portrayed a lovely love through letter writing in his newest title, Love, Mouserella.

His front and back covers an envelope that begs to be opened with childlike writing and doodles accompanied by beginning and closing endpapers continuing with the delightful colorful drawings ooze with charm.  Holding the book like a hanging calendar readers see Mouserella saying goodbye to her Grandmouse.  The theme of this publication being mouse-produced is carried throughout even on the title page info;

Copyright 2011 by Mouserella David Ezra Stein.  All rights reserved...

...Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.  SEND CHEESE.

The art was created using watercolor, stencils, water--soluble crayon, pencil, two paws, and one brain.

The very essence of a child's creation, their form of art,  follows as photographs, tiny crayon drawings, penciled and crayon-created words flow from page to page much like a sweetly crafted scrapbook. 

Mouserella is missing her Grandmouse who left three days ago.  Her Mama recommends that she write a letter, saying hello.  Not knowing quite where to begin flowers string across the page; she is thinking.  Then she dives right in with all the little moments in her life, her beaded belt is almost done, and her caterpillar, Willy, has advanced to his next stage. 

She recounts a trip to the zoo to see the terrifying cat, building a block wall to keep Ernie out of her side of the room, and teaching a new-found ladybug to fetch.  Her mouse-eye view of the world in darling details is completely captivating to readers.  What will she do next, where will she go?  She's off to the air-conditioned museum, of course, drawing pictures of the exhibits, describing what they eat and missing her Grandmouse because the one she sees there is not hers.

Mouserella is so full of bubbly life, chattering (writing) away blending all her life's memories together with the phrase,

And that's all that happened.,

before immediately starting up again with a new episode of events. Tuesday has the family pausing their life to enjoy the benefits of a blackout; making shadow puppets, eating all the ice pops, carrying candles to the roof to look at the starry sky which is so much like the sky in the country where her Grandmouse lives.

The multi-page letter closes with a description of the stinky glue Ernie is using to make a model, she fashioning sunflower seed parachutes which she is not allowed to test off the terrace (it's started to rain) and when she will get to visit Grandmouse again.  Readers discover that the photographs have been taken with a camera that is a gift to Mouserella from her Grandmouse.  Amid xxxxs and ooos, doodle flowers and words of love there is the typical but precious PS and PPS. 

This book is the consummate model of what this world needs more; people, er mice too, taking the time to fit the pieces of their daily lives together to fabricate a visual of the whole.  It makes you want to sit right down and write your own letter or remember those days in college when you made your own envelopes out of favorite magazine pictures or newspaper articles to send to a friend serving in the armed forces; a little time and love go a long way.  Thank you David Ezra Stein for this gem (just a little over seven inches by nine inches).  I love it!

Already forming a letter writing lesson with my students after Christmas break, a visit to the David Ezra Stein web site is a must.  Click on the link associated with his name at the top of this post for a real treat.  Don't miss the interviews and liking his Facebook page.

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