Quote of the Month

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

Friday, October 5, 2012

What Goes Around Comes Around

Have I mentioned before, when you love the world of literature, especially those books written for children and young adults, every week all year long is like waiting for and celebrating your birthday?  With every new release the anticipation is immeasurable, the rewards boundless.  When noting that a new title has been written and illustrated by two of your favorites, it's hard not to laugh out loud.

In February of last year author Candace Fleming released one of my all-time favorite biographies, Amelia Lost: the Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart (Schwartz & Wade Books) (my review).  Eric Rohmann wrote and illustrated Bone Dog (Roaring Brook Press) (my review), easily in the top ten of my every-growing collection of dog titles, which was released that summer.  These two outstanding names in children's literature combined their talents to release a new book this past month, Oh, No! (Schwartz & Wade Books).

There is a tiger who hungrily eyes a frog, chasing him through the bamboo.

Frog fell into a deep, deep hole.
Frog fell into a deep, deep hole.

As the trapped amphibian cries out Oh, no! the striped feline smirks from the treeline.  Mouse offers help but holding out her hand, stretching down has her tumbling into the earthy pit, too.  A double cry of Oh, no! sings out.  Loris and Sun Bear each try, joining Frog and Mouse for their efforts.  Oh, no!

Monkey swinging and laughing to his heart's content (not offering any help whatsoever) miscalculates and oops! There's a tree there?  Now there are five members of the tropic clime stuck, with no hope of escape, a possible meal, delectable morsels for the drooling tiger.

To the surprise of everyone the ground begins to shake, rumble and roll.  Can Tiger hang on? Is a rescue in the works?  Now who's on the outside looking in?  Oh, no!  

Simple phrases perfect for young listeners and readers crafted by Candace Fleming, create a beat the ear will love to hear and the mind will love to read.  At the right moment perfectly-placed rhyming words add to the cadence.  Each of the verbs exclaimed by the hole's occupants extenuate their characteristics.

Repetition of key words describing animals' actions heightens the feeling of watching this in real-time.  Readers will feel themselves running, leaning, crawling, crashing, falling and calling.  They will know the uncertainty of the situation in which the forest friends find themselves.

As soon as you pick this book up you know you are in for a treat.  A heavy paper jacket when unfolded sets the scene.  As you run your hands over the two pages the Tiger, Loris, Frog and Mouse are raised and more shiny than the softer jungle landscape pictured.  Wrapping around the cover the jacket flaps blend with the endpapers which begin and complete the tale. Without a word of narrative read or spoken the story continues through Rohmann's illustrations across the title and verso pages.

Eric Rohmann uses a warm, earthy color palette of greens, blues, browns, grays, golden yellows and oranges continuing with the sturdier stock for all the two-page spreads.  His technique of fashioning relief prints using the reduction method is flawless, details in expression and movement are clever responses to the text.  I like how he shows just the slightest hint of Tiger lurking with curve of tail or part of his paws.  On Sun Bear he pays close attention by lengthening the claws on this endangered creature.  By altering the readers' perspective when viewing pages, it makes for a tantalizing invitation.

Oh, No! with words by Candace Fleming, pictures by Eric Rohmann is a joy to read silently and even better when read aloud.  It is the ultimate example of the tables being turned.  I found myself wanting to pair this with Sam and the Tigers by Julius Lester, illustrations by Jerry Pinkney.

Explore both the author's and illustrator's websites by following the links embedded in their names above.  Fleming has a reader's theater for this title.

This is one of those books I believe will stand the test of time.

Update:  Saturday October 6, 2012  Thanks to the embedded tweet below which came over the wire in the wee hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping but I'm glad I wasn't, there is an additional resource available for this title.  Thanks to John Schumacher, librarian extraordinaire.

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