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Illustrator Sam Usher burst onto the scene two years ago with with a riot of colour and pattern in Can You See Sassoon?, which was shortlisted for the Red House Children’s Book Award 2013. When your first book gets flagged up as a potential prize winner, there is some expectation and anticipation when it comes to future publications.
More than two years after Can You See Sassoon? was published, Usher is back, and like all good things, it has been worth the wait.
Snow by Sam Usher celebrates that wonderfully exciting feeling in the pit of your stomach when you open your eyes in the morning, draw back the curtains and… your world has been transformed by a deep blanket of snow. The potential for play, the white world waiting to be explored, the possibility to really make your own mark….ahh! Just how quickly can you get out there to delight in at all?
A young boy zooms through getting ready, frustrated by the time it takes his Grandfather to join him. Will it be worth the wait for other kids are already out there leaving footprints everywhere?
A whole lot of snowballs and a little bit of childhood magic later, Grandpa and child agree “some things are definitely worth waiting for“. With Snow, I couldn’t agree more.
Usher’s illustrations are full of life and energy; there’s a comfortable looseness about them, and I cannot help but draw comparisons (in the best possible way) with Quentin Blake. Perhaps it is because the Grandfather in this story physically reminds me of Blake, with his bald pate and avuncular manner. But it’s also in the noses, the wonky fingers, the hand gestures and I love this stylistic echo. Indeed I get a real kick from these potentially vulnerable pen lines that speak to me of a real person, drawing a line that connects creator, story, reader and listener together.
With another contender for my favourite page turn of the year, showing how an almost plain white page can produce both gasps and a burst of warm delight, Snow is a wintry classic that will bring much delight and joy, however long you have to wait for it.
Alas weather in our part of the world has been unseasonally warm so I don’t hold out much hope of snow any time this year. Ever the optimist, I instead made some snow to play with in the warmth of our kitchen.
Snow dough is a moldable yet friable substance akin to commercially available ‘moon sand’, made out of corn flour (corn starch) and oil. We mixed about one part sunflower oil to four parts corn flour, and just for good measure added in a few drops of peppermint essential oil so that our snow dough smelt like Christmas candy.
I smoothed out the snow dough to recreate that blissful untouched vista of snow, and brought out a load of playmobil people and plastic animals (matching those in the book where possible). A small pot of glitter, for pinching and casting over the scene to add a little extra sparkle completed the invitation to play.
Lots of tracks in the snow were made, and because the snow dough is moldable, caches of snowballs and even an igloo were also prepared.
The snow dough has a wonderful crunch to it when you mold it – satisfyingly just like real snow!
Cake and hot chocolate completed our afternoon playing in the “snow”.
Whilst playing in the snow we listened to:
Other activities which could work well alongside reading Snow include:
I know at least one of my readers has already got snow this November (Hello Donna!), but has anyone else had the chance to play in snow yet this year? Or are you heading into Summer?
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Snow from the publisher.
I've been busy at college. Started learning metalwork recently and it's wonderfully fascinating. I've done a couple of rough, small pieces and will show them off soon. Meanwhile I've managed a few doodles when time permits, adding colour to my Float Like A Balloon drawing and sketching a few ravens for fun, all in my moleskine blank book ...
So yes, I'm still fascinated by the black birds and their mythologies and fables, so will pursue that further whenever I find spare moments to do so. Right now I'm occupied with filling in college sketchbooks and drawing tons of shoes ... so expect to see loads of footwear up here soon.
Wishing you a week full of blessings and lightness. Cheers.
A busy place with no door but when you enter you still use your buzzer.
Then back again from flower to flower, collecting the pollen that gives you power.
It’s home again, little bundles carried to feed the Queen
With a humorous voice and multiple anecdotes, Joey, a chocolate Labrador who enjoys digging and escaping beyond his home’s fence, provides an entertaining narration for both children and adults.Add a Comment
Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate illustrated by G. Brian Karas Clarion Books, 2014 Grades K-5 The reviewer received a copy of the book from the publisher. In an accessible, narrative style, Katherine Applegate shares the story of the Ivan the Shopping Mall Gorilla with young readers in this nonfiction picture book. Many readers will beAdd a Comment
Elephant’s day doesn’t get off to a good start. He wakes up GRUMPY.
When the doorbell rings, it only annoys him. When he thumps downstairs to see who it is, there is a mystery present waiting for him and this unexpected gift – a most spectacular hat – turns his day around and puts a great big smile on his face.
Keen to share his good fortune Elephant visits his friends. They too have woken up out of sorts but Elephant knows a great way to spread his happiness: by sharing his present and giving each friend a fabulous hat to wear.
Hooray for Hat by Brian Won is a wonderfully up-beat and joyous ode to friendship, the good things that come from ‘paying it forward’ and teamwork. It perfectly captures the transformational magic of hats; a little bit of frivolity and exuberance bursting out of your head can indeed do wonders to how you feel!
From the deftly humorous grumpy facial expressions in a range of animals, to the appealing candy colour palette beautifully set off against stark white pages, Hooray for Hat‘s illustrations and design are a delight. The dapper carnival procession of animals are sure to make young readers giggle and banish any blues, helping us remember how little acts of kindness in life can make all the difference. A treat, pure and simple!
In response to Hooray for Hat we set up our own millinery studio, using old lampshades as bases for our hats (we were able to source lots of old lampshades from a local recycling centre).
Lampshades, ribbon, paper, hot clue, sequins and a whole lot of imagination and craziness later we had our hats:
As you can see, they made us feel very happy!
Whilst making our hats we listened to:
Other activities which would go well alongside reading Hooray for Hat include:
Are you a hat person? If so, I’d love to hear about your favourite hat!
Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of Hooray for Hat from the publisher.
In Eric Carle’s What’s Your Favorite Animal, he collaborates with fourteen renowned children’s book artists to create mini storybooks about a favorite animal.Add a Comment
The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.
I’m back from OKC and trying to get all caught up at work and on the blog. I have to say, I enjoy going out of town, but I miss my puppers when I’m gone. Here are some pix of them.
Check out my current contests! See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!
New Arrivals at the Café:
I got slammed by books over the last two weeks. It’s like a book explosion. It’s scaring me.
The Winner’s Crime
The Millionaire Rogue
The Secrets we Keep
Embassy Row #1: All Fall Down
The Tears of the Rose
Her Winning Formula
Texas Mail Order Bride
Riding for the Stars
The Sin Eaters Daughter
I also received a nice assortment of picture books that will be reviewed starting Jan 2015.
A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!
What did you get? Please leave links and share!
The post The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves: Home Sweet Home Edition appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.Add a Comment
Super Sniffers: Dog Detectives on the Job By Dorothy Hinshaw Patent Bloomsbury. 2014 ISBN: 9780802736185 Grades 3-6 To review this book, I borrowed a copy from my local public library. I couldn't resist reviewing another book about dogs who use their incredible sense of smell to help get the job done. Take any dog, any dog, for a walk along a sidewalk or in a park, and you won’t beAdd a Comment
This is one of the projects I've been working on recently, for an art college class. Yes, birds and mail art. Wonderful. Loads of cutting, slicing, collaging, and then drawing and painting, was done. I ended up with a couple of options to work on, and liked them both but ended up picking this one below for the final review.
I went through a bit of exploration and research and managed to develop quite a fascination with ravens, sifting through poems such as Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven', folklore, fairy-tales, fables--almost picked Aesop's The Crow and the Pitcher--so it isn't too surprising that I went with this pair in the end ... In Norse mythology, Huginn (from Old Norse "thought") and Muninn (Old Norse "memory" or "mind") are a pair of ravens that fly all over the world of Midgard, and bring information and news back to the god Odin. Flying messengers. Perfect.
I've depicted them as a white and black raven, and addressed the envelope to them. Their names are written in ancient Nordic runes just above their respective beaks. Yes, there's a message inside as well, written on rice paper 'parchment'. Private, of course. Let's hope that the envelope will eventually be returned to sender (me!) with a postal mark to show that it's been in the system. Here's a glimpse of the bit of mess I made while researching and working on the project ...
Here's the back of the envelope with a depiction of the Nordic mythical Tree of Life, Yggdrasil ...
The ravens and the tree were paper cuttings (my sketch book suffered somewhat) that I painted (watercolour for the birds and some marker pen on the tree) and collaged onto the envelope. On the front I'd also glued crosswords (to symbolize thought, naturally) onto the original white envelope, and then placed a thin sheet of rice paper over the whole thing so that it looked like parchment, slightly aged. I quite like the result, what do you think?
The other attempt at mail art was slightly a different one: I made an envelope from black paper and then cut straight into it, collaging and shading only the white bird on the front. Then I placed white paper inside the envelope so that it showed through the snipped out leaves, flowers and insects.
Simple, but I think it's quite cute. The back is a more abstract representation of a (meaner) raven and its wings, can you see it?
I did like this black and white bit of mail art, but once I'd begun on the research for the winged messengers of Odin, I fell in love with them and that was pretty much that. I think I made the right choice picking them as my final piece, what do you think? There are infinite possibilities for both options though, and I may end up using them somehow on cards and other goodies, so keep an eye out for them up at the Floating Lemons shops in the near future ...
Meanwhile, I wish you a fantastic week. Cheers.
Cheetah ISBN: 9781847803016 Elephant ISBN:9781847805188 Gorilla ISBN: 9781847802996 Tiger ISBN: 9781847805171 Written and photographed by Suzi Eszterhas Frances Lincoln Children's Books. 2014 Preschool to Grade 2 I received these titles from the publisher. After a long night of hunting in the forests of India, a mother tigress carefully returns to her den. She crawls into this secret placeAdd a Comment
There are many kinds of habitats, and each supports certain animal populations. Animals Everywhere! is an illustrated guide which provides some interesting information about them.
Habitats such as the rain forest, mountains, desert, and ocean are each presented in a two-page spread. In these pages, various animals that live in the habitat are illustrated in cartoon style, along with fun facts about them.
Kids will be fascinated to learn about the goliath bird-eating spider, which is as big as a pizza, or the male narwhal, which is also called the “unicorn of the sea” because it has a long, spiral tusk. These and other fascinating creatures fill the pages of this fun and colorful book.
Reviewer: Alice Berger
Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy David Macaulay Studio (Roaring Brook Press), 2014 Grades 2-5 The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her school library. The shark section gets a lot of traffic in my elementary school library. Many young readers are fascinated by the creatures, so I was excited when I heard aboutAdd a Comment
In a follow-up to the bestselling board book Peek-a-Who?, Nina Laden creates another must-have for parents.Add a Comment