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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Journeys, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 55
1. a few wishes for awesome, wondrous you

happy2016-one-darker

 

happy2016-two-darker

 

happy2016-three-darker


Filed under: children's illustration, flying, journeys, love, songs

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2. why do they hate us?

why do they hate us


Filed under: journeys, sea

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3. Calais on my mind

calais on my mind -onecalais on my mind - two


Filed under: journeys

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4. Pierre the Maze Detective

pierrecoverPierre the Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone written by Chihiro Maruyama, illustrated by by Hiro Kamigaki and IC4Design and translated by Emma Sakamiya and Elizabeth Jenner is quite something.

The Maze Stone, which has the power to turn the whole of Opera City into a maze, has been stolen, and you – dear reader – are needed to help track down the culprit and restore this magical object.

Why should you take up this challenge?

Because en route…

  • you’ll journey by air balloon, through the most impressive treehouses you’ve ever seen, in and out of Escher-esque buildings, across giant octopus infected oceans and through a bizarre underground fleamarket where just about anything you can imagine is up for sale.
  • you’ll enter a strange hybrid land set in the 1920s-30s, half-video game half-astonishing book, collecting extra points and hidden items, watching out for traps and more. All you need to do is imagine the soundtrack.
  • you’ll be dazzled by incredibly intricate illustrations packed with many more stories than the primary one following the fate of the maze stone. Every “wrong” turning as you try to crack the maze on each page will give you reason to wonder what’s been happening, and what will happen next!

  • If you’ve a child poorly in bed, or it’s just a rainy day calling out for a duvet on the sofa, Pierre the Maze Detective is a rich and rewarding rabbit hole ready for anyone who loves losing themselves in an adventure of almost unimaginable detail and scale.

    pierreinside1

    This stop-motion video showing how one of the double page spreads was planned out gives you a good impression of the labyrinthine, meticulous nature of the illustrations:

    A picture book for older children (and their grown-ups) who love a challenge or who are inspired by the imaginative possibilities of vast landscapes and settings, Pierre the Maze Detective helpfully comes with a key to all the mazes, and also a page of extra delights to go back and look for – all printed in the style of a vintage newspaper.

    maze3

    Playful, precise, interactive and highly imaginative, this incredibly well produced book (with its lovely paper and large size) is original and eye-opening. As I said, it’s quite something!

    Pierre the Maze Detective owes something, I believe, to the work of another Japanese picture book creator: Mitsumasa Anno. Anno created a whole series of detailed wordless picture books where a tiny character wends his way through different landscapes, and although his books weren’t mazes as such, they share with Pierre the sense of journeying, immense details, and rich stories being told away from the most direct path to the final destination.

    annobooks

    Having enjoyed the mazes, the details and the adventures in Pierre the Maze Detective we decided it was time to make our own mazes. Using the basic design principles outlined here, we decided to build our maze out of lego and turn it into a marble run.

    marbleruninstructions

    We all really enjoyed making each other different mazes to try out. The lego made it really easy to create new mazes and kept the kids happily occupied for a good couple of hours – longer than I had anticipated!

    maze4

    Whilst creating our mazes we listened (rather eclectically) to:

  • Missing in the Corn Maze by vogelJoy
  • It’s A Maze from the Original Broadway Cast Recording of “The Secret Garden”
  • Private Investigations by Dire Straits

  • Other maze activities which might work well alongside reading Pierre the Maze Detective include:

  • Going to the park and making a maze out of leaves – perfect for this time of year in the UK
  • Creating a maze out of books – perhaps with the help of your local library?
  • Making the most of lots of cardboard and using it to create a giant maze – here’s one idea from Viviane Schwarz, and here’s another.
  • Creating a ‘lazer’ maze for the kids to try and make their way through
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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    4 Comments on Pierre the Maze Detective, last added: 11/5/2015
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    5. the cloud who fell in love with a mountain and vice versa ~ part one

    cloudandmountain-one


    Filed under: Brian Tappin, journeys, love, sea

    2 Comments on the cloud who fell in love with a mountain and vice versa ~ part one, last added: 9/9/2015
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    6. stories tucked in shadows

    elderflush2


    Filed under: journeys, poetry

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    7. muddled as hope ~ (midnight musings)

    mus


    Filed under: journeys, love

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    8. welcome to Tether’s End

    tethers end - one

    shore castle


    Filed under: finding norway, journeys, sea

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    9. Tether’s End ~ part two

    tether - two


    Filed under: finding norway, journeys, sea

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    10. a very immature rant, mostly about things without wings

    immature-whole


    Filed under: journeys

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    11. Review – Teacup

    I want to frame this picture book and hang it on my wall. To label Teacup as having bucket-loads of appeal for audiences familiar with and sympathetic to displacement, migration, social disruption and family change strips away the myriad of other sophisticated, elegant qualities this book deserves to be described by. It is simply sublime. […]

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    12. for Brian Tappin ~ joy and sparrows, seagulls and sky and hope and… ~ part one

    Sometimes we’re lucky enough to fleetingly meet a someone who changes us, bursts heart open, adds three feet to your height and shows you where your forgotten wings are buried. And it’s mutual. The following (and the rest of the song which I need to illustrate) are for you Brian Tappin ~ roaring lion, gentle angel, boy I miss you right now, dude! xx

    for brian - july 29 2015


    Filed under: Brian Tappin, flying, journeys, love, sea, songs

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    13. For Brian Tappin ~ two ~ clouds and mountains chatting close

    for Brian Tappin ~ two ~ clouds and mountains chatting close 2


    Filed under: Brian Tappin, journeys, love, one-tooth dog, sea

    1 Comments on For Brian Tappin ~ two ~ clouds and mountains chatting close, last added: 8/2/2015
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    14. For Brian Tappin ~ two ~ clouds and mountains chatting close

    for Brian Tappin ~ two ~ clouds and mountains chatting close 2


    Filed under: Brian Tappin, journeys, love, one-tooth dog, sea

    0 Comments on For Brian Tappin ~ two ~ clouds and mountains chatting close as of 9/7/2015 10:52:00 AM
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    15. for Brian Tappin ~ joy and sparrows, seagulls and sky and hope and… ~ part one

    Sometimes we’re lucky enough to fleetingly meet a someone who changes us, bursts heart open, adds three feet to your height and shows you where your forgotten wings are buried. And it’s mutual. The following (and the rest of the song which I need to illustrate) are for you Brian Tappin ~ roaring lion, gentle angel, boy I miss you right now, dude! xx

    for brian - july 29 2015


    Filed under: Brian Tappin, flying, journeys, love, sea, songs

    0 Comments on for Brian Tappin ~ joy and sparrows, seagulls and sky and hope and… ~ part one as of 9/7/2015 10:57:00 AM
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    16. Review – Vanilla Icecream

    Vanilla Icecream 2You might as well know my weakness. It’s ice cream. Any flavour, most kinds, regardless of country of origin. I am extremely ice cream tolerant and I wonder if Bob Graham had similar thoughts when he penned his latest picture book masterpiece, Vanilla Icecream.

    Vanilla Icecream is an eloquently articulated tale about a young curious sparrow whose world revolves around a dusty truck stop in the heart of India. He enjoys his existence and relishes his freedom with the blithe objectivity of all wild things until one day his pluck and appetite hook up with fate, which escorts him south across rough seas and through dark nights, eventually delivering him ‘into a bright new day’.

    Unperturbed by his new environment in a different land, the truck stop sparrow chances upon a new eating hole and Edie Irvine, a toddler whose young life is inextricably changed forever because of him.

    Bob Graham Graham’s dramatic narration of the little sparrow’s epic journey stuns you with its beautiful brevity and makes you want to follow the courageous new immigrant and know if Edie’s and his paths will ever cross again. This is a largely self-indulgent desire on my part as I get quite caught up in Graham’s snapshots of life, wanting them to never end. Nonetheless, end they must and this one’s delicious denouement is as immeasurably satisfying as a bowl of vanilla ice cream.

    Vanilla Icecream EdieThere are numerous wordless pages in this picture book as Graham shapes much of the narration visually with his splendid, slightly sassy, culturally sensitive illustrations. Graham has the unique, unaffected knack of suffusing modern day nuances with old-fashioned appeal into his pictures that draw the eye of young and old alike deep into the story in spite of the apparent simplicity on shown on the page.

    This story allowed me to sift through memories, mostly glorious of my own ‘firsts’ and it reminded me of my daughter’s wonderment when discovering her first time, life-changing tastes, notions, and realisations. What Vanilla Icecream evokes in you depends entirely on your own memories and attitude towards new people and new experiences, and your fondness for ice cream of course. However, you will be hard pressed to find a better way to introduce the complex ideals of human rights, fate, and immigration to young ones where a lightness of touch is more readily comprehended than harsh dry facts. As Amnesty International UK proclaims through its endorsement of Vanilla Icecream;

    ‘…we should all enjoy life, freedom, and safety. These are some of our human rights.’

    Vanilla Icecream is quite simply a stunning picture book. Quiet and unassuming in its appearance. Complex and multi-layered enough to warrant spirited discussion with 3 to 103 year olds.

    The perfect scoop.

    Walker Books UK  2014

    Bob Graham fans in our southern states should not miss the ACT Museum+Gallery Exhibition: A Bird in the Hand! Bob Graham: A Retrospective on now until 24th August 2014, in Canberra. A must see.bobgraham_banner

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    17. my favourite books

    These are taken from an interview with the amazing Zoe Toft

    page-six[1]

    page-seven[1]


    Filed under: children's illustration, dances, flying, journeys, snow, songs

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    18. captain

    captain-onecaptain-two


    Filed under: children's illustration, finding norway, journeys, poetry

    2 Comments on captain, last added: 8/27/2014
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    19. Nuts to You


    "Nuts to you" might have been what I was saying on Saturday when the class cold hit me so hard there was nothing I could do but lie in bed and create a mountain of soggy kleenex on the floor beside me. When I felt better enough to sit up for some soup and hot tea with honey and lemon (and more than a small splash of Old Charter), I picked up this recent library reserve and within 20 pages was laughing out loud and thanking my class for sharing the germs that stopped me from doing anything more than sitting up in bed reading:


    Nuts to You 
    by Lynne Rae Perkins
    Greenwillow Books, 2014

    This story was ostensibly told by a squirrel to the author. That may or may not be the factual truth, but since it's a rollicking good story, let's just go with that. Like another favorite Perkins title, As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth (my gushing review here), there are interruptions by the (human) author, footnotes, and illustrations that clearly demonstrate that Perkins has done her fair share of squirrel-watching.

    The story begins when the grey squirrel Jed is carried away by a hawk, manages to trick the hawk into dropping him, and lands fairly softly on a dog and then in a pile of leaves. (Journey #1) Luckily, his friend TsTs sees where he lands and sets off with another squirrel friend, Chai, to find him. (Journey #2) Along the way, they discover that the rumblings they've been hearing are a crew of humans who are clearing the trees from the "buzzpath" (power lines). And the crew is headed right to their home grove. After they find Jed, they have to get back and warn their friends and family. (Journey #3) Convincing squirrels to do anything as organized as run away from a danger they cannot yet see is as easy as herding cats (apparently). But Jed and friends manage. (Journey #4)

    Fun stuff. Perfect middle grade (grades 3-5) novel. Will be a fabulous read aloud.

    You're welcome.


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    20. books fly with us

    booksfly


    Filed under: children's illustration, flying, journeys

    5 Comments on books fly with us, last added: 9/23/2014
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    21. new beginnings ~ and searching for stories…

    muse-one
    muse-two


    Filed under: autumn, children's illustration, flying, journeys, love, poetry

    1 Comments on new beginnings ~ and searching for stories…, last added: 11/10/2014
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    22. new beginnings and searching for stories ~ parts three and four

    muse-three
    muse-four


    Filed under: autumn, dances, journeys, love, poetry, songs, trees

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    23. …continuing ramblings about muses and inspiration and finding stories, I give you: Erato, the muse of love poetry (warning: this page is fairly messy and filled to bursting with words)

    muse-five


    Filed under: journeys, love, poetry, songs

    2 Comments on …continuing ramblings about muses and inspiration and finding stories, I give you: Erato, the muse of love poetry (warning: this page is fairly messy and filled to bursting with words), last added: 11/26/2014
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    24. …miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and…

    darren-1darren-2darren-3darren-4darren-5


    Filed under: flying, journeys, winter

    1 Comments on …miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and…, last added: 2/5/2015
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    25. Sailor’s First Story (that you’ve heard, that is)

    (written between the 18th and 19th of February, 2015 in one straight sitting (a story written when time crosses midnight, is likely to have a few more strands and maybe bad words, than others)

    Title: Sailor’s First Story (that you’ve heard, that is)

    There are stories for the telling
    and there are those which ain’t
    – that’s what I’ve been told,
    but I still can’t see no difference.

    So I’ll throw a whole
    flock of them at you
    and you can decide
    which is which.

    s1

    I blows the stories out
    as they come
    – just as they come,
    so sometimes there’s two middles,
    or no end,
    or even just three beginnings.

    And if you want to know more about me
    – well that’s definitely the one story
    I know’s not worth telling.

    All I give is my name
    and that’s Sailor.

    s3

    How dee doo?
    Good I hope
    and if not so,
    spin three times,
    blink at the sky
    hard and long,
    then think on this:

    ~~~~~

    They called her Butterfly,
    sometimes Terfly for short.
    Not because of some airy, light beauty,
    no, more because she’d never stop,
    never alight in one damn place longer than a flea bite
    (I’m telling of them fleas that bite for nanoseconds,
    not thems others that grip on long and not be shaken
    even on the brutalest fairground Waltzers).

    And this goes for lovers too
    – soon as some poor fret
    had been dazzled by her shimmery
    blizzards of soft words,
    she’d be off with their hearts
    and on to the next habitation
    and over and over again.
    Three a month. More.

    Some say she’d never been held,
    time-stopping slow and gentle,
    s’why she’d never stay, get cosy
    and ease into her self and surrounds.

    Others say her old man’s bark,
    – approx. three per minute – startled her so bad,
    she couldn’t stop still for longer than
    a third of a minute

    s2

    (you see – now I know that last bit’s
    dreadful storytelling for at least three reasons,
    but it came out that way,
    puffed out crooked.
    And now it’s out there,
    there it stays.
    them’s the rules).

    Terfly had more skills and talents than
    an army of circuses and every single one in them,
    including the animals.

    It’s easier to tell
    what she couldn’t do.
    And that’s cook, sew and clean.

    But the others
    she’d do so well,
    there was always and every
    opportunities flowing
    wherever she landed.
    So that suited
    her flit-flight nature.

    s5

    Now that’s a long beginning.
    And we ain’t yet got no middle
    and certainly no inkling of an ending.

    I’m never sure what’s its shape
    when it’s coming out.
    This one feels like a two middler,
    so hold your horses
    (and don’t forgets to give thems a sugar,
    or apple, and tell thems they the best.
    And anyone else hanging round
    as long as them’s deserving.
    Respect’s earnt, you know that, right?
    There’s no respecting no one who ain’t worthy of that respect, thems like a barking-three-times-per-minute Pa, or a cold-heart Ma with no soft in her arms for snuggling and comfort).

    ~~~~~

    Here’s the two middles.
    Them’s short.

    1) Terfly falls in love for the first time
    with SkyLock, a cloud-tenter
    (thems that make the hovering, giant bauble things for circuses – look just like bubbles, but there’s windows and seats so folks can get a good look from all angles – and you have to be trained for hundreds of years, so easy it is to get it wrong and have families flying they won’t have you back, that particular habitation).

    2) SkyLock’s heard her reputation
    and builds a special cloud-tent
    – sets out backwards to make one
    that goes against all the training
    – one that will take them away, away,
    keeps her with him,
    no flit-flighting this one no more.

    ~~~~

    Now here’s the thing.
    He’s not liking that there’s no cooking, cleaning, sewing
    – he’d made this cloud-tent fixed up to the nines with all the latest a chief chef could desire
    but all she does, Terfly, is fret
    – fret so loudly, wolves can hear her
    twenty one summers away.

    SkyLock regrets keeping her
    – useless he thinks
    and barks for the third time that minute.

    s7

    Now. He knows well
    there’s no ties for her
    – no family wanting and wishing and missing her soft heart,
    or sweet song, or tip-tap dancing so mesmerising
    you can’t do for anything after, just gaze long-lost into nothing.

    So he shoves her out
    cruel as war,
    shoves her out, barking every bad a sailor’s ever heard
    and that’s the baddest bad ever of all. And then three times more.

    Okay, but here’s the thing
    (and I think this might be something of an ending,
    or is it another beginning?
    Who know, who cares,
    I’m puffing hard and fast now,
    couldn’t stop if you corked my straw).

    s11

    Sudden, Terfly discovers
    she’s got a skill she never knew:
    she can fly! Well, more like a kind of flitty-swooshing
    (have you watched a feather fall lately?
    If not, do. it gives you the answer to everything.
    Everything.
    Straight up.
    And down).

    So she’s flitty-swooshing,
    soft and grinning, singing free
    and happy-to-bursting.

    She scoffs love.
    Maybe that’s why Pa barked
    and Ma was ice-cold
    – maybe that’s what love does.

    But no sooner this sad thought’s out there,
    almost like it’s visible or something,
    there’s this creature – a humale kinda,
    but his legs joined like a merman
    and fins as well as arms, but ohhhh, so handsome,
    just thinking of him I’m getting half-lid dream-eyes.

    He catches her
    (she ain’t quite mastered all them sky-diving tricks yet).
    And holds her long…
    And holds her soft…
    And holds her gentle…

    And slow-by-slow,
    her cheek finds his upper arm
    – it feels good enough she cries,
    fist time ever. And he brushes and strokes
    her hairs and head and that little tiny bit
    where somes of us can grow bristle-hairs.

    And she’s thinking:
    no, this is love.
    This is DEFINITELY love.
    This is something all shades of new,
    new as flying,
    new as tomorrow’s sunrise,
    new as the butterflies
    beneath my tum-button
    and she stays absolutely mushy-soft-still
    in that place
    for longer than all the time
    she’s been on this god-forsaken land.

    s12

    That’s the first.

    Will you stay for more?
    They come plenty.
    Long as there’s ears and eyes.

    I also like, every now and then,
    the odd pat and smile,
    or treat, you know
    – that little something that says
    I’m here and that’s
    not too much hell of a thing…

    end

    ~~~~~

    PS: Shhhh. This next bit’s not for sharing:

    (“Thanks Sailor!”

    That’s me, typing up the words.

    I love this little feller that came into my life as a surprise gift from the cafe owner where I sit painting pigeons and other all-kinds-of-odd most days. I think he’s seen me drooling over it every time I get a new napkin to wipe brushes. There’s something just so sweet, funny and compelling about him – can’t put my finger on it, but I’m so glad he’s landed in my life.

    I’m to bed now. I pat Sailor, pass him a sugar. Tell him he’s lovely.
    He grins. I nod and grins back :-).

    PSS: I’ve found out Sailor likely came from the HMS Warwick Castle, biggest navy ship in both wars – went down in 1944, with Lucky Lady, a small ship, sailing out to help any survivors.

    ~~~~~~~~


    Filed under: flying, journeys, love, sea

    1 Comments on Sailor’s First Story (that you’ve heard, that is), last added: 3/7/2015
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