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The Little Parrot and the Angel's Tears is a powerful allegory of overcoming insignificance.Add a Comment
I Like Your Shoes is a suspenseful read that will satisfy audiences interested in contemporary mysteries featuring dynamic characters and inventive plots.Add a Comment
This is your chance to own a unique piece of original art by one of the UK’s best and most popular illustrators. Come along on the night to bid on one of several framed pieces of art – each depicting the famous Bath Children’s Literature Red Chair.My picture is painted using all materials I have picked for the art lessons and workshops I'll be giving soon via The Kraken Studio - all cheap stuff but really nice.
Amazing artists including including Chris Riddell (Goth Girl), Ben Cort(Aliens love Underpants), Nick Sharratt (The Story of Tracey Beaker), Korky Paul (Winnie the Witch), Alison Jay (Welcome to the Zoo), Michael Foreman (War Game) and Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo) have all donated pieces featuring their own, entertaining interpretation of the Festivals’ iconic red storytelling chair.
Help secure the future of the Bath Festivals internationally renowned programme of popular Festivals and be in with a chance of acquiring a piece of artwork to treasure for your family, school or business.
An Online Auction of many more Artworks will be launched on the night.
Enter to win a copy of The Sky Painter, by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Aliona Bereghici. Giveaway begins April 28, 2015, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends May 27, 2015, at 11:59 P.M. PST.Add a Comment
Margarita Engle, author of The Sky Painter, selected these five family favorite children's books.Add a Comment
His plumage is not like the others so he sends off for dotty supplies: he wants to fit in by matching his friends. Boxes of all sorts arrive, filled with spots of different colour and size, but will any of them be spot on and what he thought he needed?
This is an amazingly illustrated, stunningly produced book about how one guinea fowl’s quest to be like all the others leads him to discover that we don’t all need to be the same to get along; smiles, not colour of spots, is what brings us together.
Helen Ward’s text is a delight to read aloud, full of bouncing, lively word play. Her illustrations, detailed and finely painted, zing off uncluttered white backgrounds, giving them a real sense of impact with each page turn. Not only beautiful to look at, they are also funny! From the guinea fowl with a box on his head to his dancing as he wears silvery, sparkly spots, there’s something reminiscent of the great black and white comedy heroes like Laurel and Hardy or Buster Keaton in the bird’s characterisation.
With die cut holes, foil and sparkle, this book has been produced with great attention to detail. The pages are such that you will want to explore them with your fingers as well as eyes as you read or listen (there’s even a spread where you’ll want to get out your pencils and make your own mark – the illustration will lure you in).
Humorous and inventive, with a subtle message about diversity and finding out who you are, Spots is a prize-worthy picture book.
We decided to create our own flock of guinea fowl each with their own style of spots. I created a guinea fowl silhouette which we printed and cut out – you can do exactly the same by downloading this left-facing fowl and this right-facing one (in pdf format).
We then let ourselves loose with spotty and dotty ideas, mixing stickers with printing (corks and lids), using the hole puncher to create mini dots to glue on, ink splats, collage circles, buttons, sequins – anything went as long as it was spotty or dotty.
All in all this made for a rather grand flock – imagine how well this could work in a classroom or group setting?!
Whilst decorating our guinea fowl we listened to:
Other activities which would go well with Spots include:
Do you go in more for spots or stripes? What are your favourite picture books about either?
Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.
acrylic on canvas 11x14
©the enchanted easel 2015
|turner's initial pantings|
©the enchanted easel 2015
This edition of the Picture Book Roundup features "jampires" (!), two Stanleys (one dog, one hamster), and a new Kadir Nelson book for which I can't find enough superlatives. Enjoy!
As I came to the end of the Sweet Easter collection yesterday, doubt started to overwhelm me. It had already begun creeping into the space of my heart, but yesterday I was submerged and left bobbing for some kind of clarity. Did I do ok? Was this strong enough?? Is it what my agent wanted??? Will it sell????
The art licensing realm is quite different than what I'm accustomed to. I had a system to my art, always got great feedback, and I thought I knew what I was meant to do! I thought "I'm going to paint fantasy, and that's that. That's me! It's what I do!". I am learning, quickly, that nothing, NOTHING, is "That's that.". EVERYTHING is changing, all....the.....time.
That includes my art. What I'm accustomed to is, as my friend put it best, being comfortable. Art for licensing is stretching me so thin that I'm being redefined, challenged, pulled out of my box. I am usually the one teaching my students to get outside of their comfort zone, and to get outside of the "box" we choose to place ourselves in. Time to take a big bite out of my own teaching! I'm comfortable with my subject matter, my compositions, and techniques. I'm not playing anymore.
This has led to doubt. I feel helpless, lost, without faith, no trust, and begin to think I just don't have what it takes. But doubt is a LIE. It's the biggest lie out there that you'll ever find. It just takes a grain of doubt to bring your entire soul down. At least...that's usually how it rolls with me. That doubt must, I repeat, must be replaced by JOY.
It's time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter.Add a Comment
Are you ever too old for a picture book?
Walk into a bookshop, and you’ll rarely find a picture book on the shelves labelled 5-8, 9-12 or Teenage/Young Adult (the age bandings used in the most widespread chain of bookshops in the UK), implicitly telling buyers that picture books are only for those under 5.
But what if you have a picture book about Descartes’s philosophical statement “Je pense donc je suis” or to put it another way “Cogito Ergo Sum”?
A book which not only explores learning to listen to yourself, to trust your own instincts but also what it feels like when you think you have failed and how to fight against the dark thoughts that then crowd in.
Gosh, if only we all knew everything we needed to know about these issues by the time we were five! Wouldn’t life be much simpler?
I am Henry Finch written by Alexis Deacon and illustrated by Viviane Schwarz is a new picture book which makes readers and listeners think about every one of these big concepts and more. It’s about being brave, about being independent, about feeling secure enough to not follow the crowd (though also being happy to be part of a community).
It’s also about totally adorable little birds and one terribly monstrous beast who wants to eat them all up.
Henry is just one of a huge flock of finches. They make a racket all day long, doing the same as each other over and again but one day Henry starts thinking for himself. He starts to have his own dreams, his own vision of who he could be, independent from the community he’s grown up in.
Alexis Deacon has written (although not specifically about Henry Finch):
“It seems to me that if every character in your story is entirely on message and engaged with the world you have created it can be very off-putting for the reader. I find that I am drawn to stories where not every character follows the grain: Reluctant characters, perverse characters, selfish characters, irreverent characters. They are often the catalysts for action too.”
And Henry Finch does indeed go against the grain, doing things differently to those around him, daring to be different. But he’s not selfish. In fact, his ability to think for himself gives him the courage to tackle the monster who threatens his family and friends.
Danger, doubt and darkness beset Henry, but he survives and shares what he has learned with his fellow finches, sparking a cascade of individual ideas and wishes as they each set off to explore the world, though not before reassuring each other that “We will come back“; the finches are thinking for themselves, but individuality doesn’t have to lead to the destruction of their community.
Deacon’s story is full of food for thought, opportunities for discussion and debate, whether you’re 4 or 40 or more. The meaty issues explored never become overwhelming, not least because Viviane Schwarz’s illustrations bring so much humour, delight and simplicity into the story.
The use of fingerprints to illustrate a narrative about what it means to be an individual is a stroke of genius; is there a more powerful symbol of individual human identity than the imprint left by the small ridges on the tips of our fingers? They also bring massive child appeal; mucky fingerprints on walls and furniture are unavoidable aspects of life with children, and so there is nothing like these marks to proudly proclaim, “Hey, I’m here, me, this child, and I can make a mark on the world around me!”.
I really like how Schwarz sometimes brings her real life community into her artwork. In her graphic novel The Sleepwalkers there are crowd scenes filled with real people she knows, and in I am Henry Finch, she’s included fingerprints from friends as well as her own. The joy she’s had in creating these images can be seen in the hugely expressive faces and wings of the finches, and that seeped into us: we just had to make our own flock of finches using the same technique.
We started out with inkpads, paper and lots of messy fingerprints…
…but soon we were experimenting with other sorts of prints too…
Then we added beaks and wings…
And soon we had our very own chattering of finches:
One or two elephants interloped! (these were made from prints using the side of our fists – click here to see what Viv Schwarz created with similar prints)
These finches were born from toe-prints, whilst the beasts were heel-prints:
They just kept on coming, causing havoc, and just getting on with doing their own thing.
Whilst fingerprinting and making our own flock of birds we listened to:
Other activities which could work well alongside reading I am Henry Finch include:
I’ve more philosophy in the form of illustrated books coming up soon on the blog, with offerings from the Netherlands and Spain. What are your favourite picture books which deal with the big issues in life?
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of I am Henry Finch from the publishers.
Esther Ehrlich’s debut novel, Nest, is an arresting story of an eleven-year-old girl named Chirp Orenstein, whose life becomes acutely sharp and complicated as her mother’s illness overtakes the familyAdd a Comment
As I've mentioned before, I had the great honor and opportunity to serve again as a second round judge on the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction book award panel for the Cybils Awards. If you're not familiar with the Cybils awards, they are the Children and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards.
Our judging panel chose the following as the 2014 Cybils Award winner for best Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction book:
Using child-friendly similes, Feathers shows that there is both beauty and purpose in nature and that, although we do not fly, we have many things in common with birds, such as the need to be safe, attractive, industrious, communicative, and well-fed. The simple, large text is suitable for reading to very young children, while the inset boxes contain more details for school-aged kids. The scrapbook-style watercolor illustrations show each feather at life size, and provide a nice jumping-off point for individual projects. Science, art, and prose work together to make this the perfect book to share with budding young artists, painters, naturalists, and scientists, and it will be appreciated by parents, teachers, and kids.