Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Good Book is Timeless

The Creative Play Group kids talked about a book published 75 years ago. Ask Mr. Bear by Marjorie Flack is every bit as appealing to the 2010 child as it was to the 1932 child.

Aiden R.: My favorite animal was the hen because I liked the hen.

J.J.: The little boy needed a present for his mama. He asked all the animals if they would give him something for his mama's birthday party. My favorite animal was the cow.

Lindsey: It's his mama's birthday. I like the chicken one. A cow! Moooo! A hugging bear. [Looking at illustration of the boy giving his mother a bear hug.] He's so silly.

Olivia: He wants to give something to his mom. The hen said to give an egg to his mother. [I ask what he gives his mother.] Maybe a big bear hug.

Arthur: This is my first favorite page because it has a chicken. The chicken said, "Could I give you some eggs?" And then the little boy said, "My mom already has eggs." And then they gathered along and then they saw a goose. The goose said, "Could I give you some feathers to give you a pillow?" And the boy said, "I already have a pillow." And then they gathered along again, and then they found a goat. And the goat said, "Could I give you cheese and milk?" And the little boy said, "We already have cheese and milk." And then they gathered along again, and then they found a sheep. And the sheep said, "Could I give you some fur?" And then they gathered along again, and then they met the cow. And then the kid said, "Do you have anything for my mom for Valentine's Day?" "Yes, I do," the cow said. And then the cow said, "You should go to the bear." And then one person gathered along and it was the kid, and then he was running. And then he finally got to the woods and saw him, and then the kid said, "Do you have anything for my Valentine?" "No, but I could show you what I could give you for Valentine's." And then he whispered in his ear. And then his mom guessed all of those things that they wanted to give them, and it was a bear hug.

Carter: Carter didn't really like the book much. [I'm sure he wouldn't have liked it much as a 1932 child, either.] He said, "Nothing happened." He did like the boy, though.

Alec: Here's the bear and here's the little boy. I don't know what his [the little boy's] name is. He was a friendly bear.

Aidan C.: I like the part where the little boy said to his mother, "I got something to show you." It was the part where he gave her a hug.

Aria:  He's sad because he don't have anything for his mother's birthday. He saw a chicken. He runned with the chicken with him. Then they saw the goose. He saw a goat. And he saw a sheep. And they saw the cow. And then he ran up the hill. Then he saw the bear. I like the bear! And the bear whispered in his ear and said, "Give your mama a great bear hug."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lions and tigers and boats. Oh, my!

The CPG children read and discussed Toy Boat by Randall de Seve and Loren Long. As you read through their comments, you'll see the children were delightfully scared by the boat's misadventures. It's obvious that de Seve and Long have written the perfect "thriller" for the preschool set. They've given their readers just the right scare factor, with the happy resolution coming soon enough to diffuse the tension.

Aria: I like this part in the tub. I like the boy and the boat. I like this part, but he let go of the boat. The boat got lost. I like this part, 'cause he said, "Boat! Boat!" I like this part 'cause it's pretty scary. The weather blowed it away. I like this part, cause he [the big boat] said, "Move!" He's sad 'cause he misses his boy.

Alec: The [tub toy] shark looks happy. The boy's in the tub with his boat. [Flips to illustration of a speedboat with flames and teeth painted on its sides.] It's scary! Those are bad boats! [Flips to illustration in which the boy and boat are reunited.] That boy said, "Boat!" The end.

Teagan: [Flipping to illustration of a speedboat with flames and teeth painted on its sides.] I'm going to the shark one. The boat shark. It maked me freak out. The speedboat's yell did. When he said the thing. ["Move along!"]

John: I liked the picture with the speedboat. The speedboat had flames and some teeth and lots of yellow on it and a white cover on the top. The speedboat zoomed by and kicked up a lot of water and the speedboat went really, really fast. The toy boat got wet. The speedboat screamed, "Get out of my way!"

Maeve: [Flips to illustration of a speedboat with flames and teeth painted on its sides.] I like when the scary boat was shooting by. The boat's scary. My favorite part was the teeth.

Aidan C.: The toy boat escaped from the boy. I like the part when it was scary. The part when it was dark. The toy boat got lost and he couldn't find his friend. They were together in the end.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I wish I was in this book.

This week the EK kids are blogging about alphabet mystery written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by her son Bruce Wood. And, yes, I meant to write the title all in lower case letters because that's the way it appears on the cover.

Hayden: When the Big "M" said he was going to eat the little letters he was going to put them in his soup. He was yelling at the letters. I like when Little "x" flew on the pencil and got to the castle.

Brooke N.: Crooked "I" said, "If you wake up 'M' he's going to throw you in the soup!" It was funny. And then the flewed off and then they goed in the castle.

Sophie: I liked the end because it had a birthday cake. It said, "I love you Mom."

Bella: Little "x" floated away on one of the pencils. He ran away because nobody wanted to work with him. And then all the other little letters took one pencil and they floated into the night sky. They goed right here. That's a castle, and there's the pencil Little "x" took parked. Crooked "I" was so crooked because he crooked hisself by hisself.  Maybe. Big "M" had paint and beads on him. He was a little bit naughty, but then he started crying because he missed his Mommy. Look it. That's Big "M's" shadow. He made the little alphabet shake because he wanted to make them alphabet soup and they were sad because they were going to miss their mommy. And then the Big "M" misseded his Mommy, too. See? Now he's crying because he misses his Mommy. The big tears are falling on the little alphabet. And look it. They're all picking things for all their moms. My favorite was the beads. They flied off, and Crooked "I" and Big "M" flied off on a pencil with all the other little letters. They made a birthday cake and then they put kisses on the cake. It was little "x."

John: All the letters were sleeping in their beds, but little "x" wasn't because he drove in one of the pencil cars to a castle. He left because the kid who had the whole alphabet didn't use him. And there's something funny about when they went out the window -- "z" was in front and "a" wasn't in front. They went backwards not forwards. And there was a castle with lots of different color flags. And little "b" was the bravest and said, "We're looking for little "x." And Crooked "I" said, "Come in, but don't awake The Master!" And when the Big "M" said, "I'll cook you in the alphabet soup," the letters shivered. Little "x" told him M also stands for mother. Big "M" cried because he hasn't give his mother a present in so long. Big "M" told them they could each pick one present for the kid's mother. My favorite present was the "j" jack-in-the-box.

Arthur: The best part was when all the letters picked out things. My favorite was the "t" because it had a Teddy Bear. I like the pictures. I think the artist used crayons to draw the pictures. I like to draw stuffed animals and animals. I like Star Wars and one more thing. Actually two more. I like to draw cars and I like to draw Super Heroes. 

Annalee: I like when the "x" flied away. I like this picture. He's (little "x") singing a lullaby to the big "M." He's kind of mean. He was going to put the little letters in the soup. The little letters were shaky.

Leah: I really like the abcs in it. I think the artist made the letters so beautiful because he used colorful ink. And I love that they took home the "I" and the "M" 'cause they love them 'cause the "M" was going to make them into alphabet soup but then they made him into nice and then he was getting to put on the cake. It said, "I love you Mom." It was so cool that they took off on the pencil. It was so beautiful on the ground. I wish I was in this book.

Monday, February 1, 2010

You say goodbye, and I say hello.

This past weekend I went to Kindling Words (KW) in Vermont. KW is a retreat for published children's authors, illustrators and editors. Because so many folks want to attend, the retreat spots are awarded in a lottery.

The Picture Book Project actually came up in conversation over the weekend. A couple of the attending authors are regular Picture Book Project readers, and they had a few suggestions. (After scolding me for being such a blog-slacker last month.) They suggested if I keep each post to just a few kids, it will be easier for the reader to follow, and for me to manage.

As you read on, you'll see I took their advice. Each blog entry will include contributions from only a few of the children. I'll keep track of who has blogged, and encourage all of the children to blog at least once each month.

Today the PK kids read the 2006 Caldecott Medal Winner The Hello, Goodbye Window written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka. Chris Raschka was at KW this year, leading the illustrator thread. It was a complete kick to sit in on two of his illustrator sessions, and I couldn't wait to get back to school to read this book to the children.

Acadia:  [Looking at the dinosaur-in-the-window illustration.] It's not real! They're extinct! I don't know why she saw the head of a dinosaur in the window. I don't know why she saw the pizza and the queen. How come did she see these in the Hello, Goodbye window? [I ask, Were they really there?] Noooo! She was just pretending they were there. I like to pretend I'm a Princess Fairy.

Christel:  I liked that the Poppa was squirting the hose at the little boy. The little boy liked it. I liked that the Mommy and Daddy were going to work. I like that the Grandma has curly hair. I like that there's so many stars up in the sky so-o-o-o-o big. It's kind of cool how the artist did the circles in the sky. I like that she said the cat was a tiger. If I was there, I would just walk near the tiger. I want to show the Grandma that it's just a kitty. I like that he took a nap. I wish they were making so fun things and being noisy.

Camryn: I like it when the medal [Caldecott medal on cover] is gold. I like blond, pink, silver, purple and gold. I like that the end papers look like mustard. I like the very big house. I liked it when the Grandma said don't touch anything under the sink because it's chemicals. I liked when the Grandma thinked it was a tiger but it was a kitty. I call my grandmother my Grammy.

Eva: I liked the part when she stayed over at her Grammy's. I like when the Grandfather was chasing the little girl with the hose. He was being tricky and he was having fun.

Arthur: They were saying goodbye to their parents. Sometimes I stand on a chair and wave goodbye to Mommy and Daddy and blow them hugs and kisses.

John:  Sometimes when my Mom goes to work, I go to my Mom's work at her daycare. If we get there early, we get to go to her desk and we get to color whatever we bring. When it's time for Mommy to work, we go into the daycare. There's toys. At lunch, Mommy meets up with us and we have lunch then she goes back to work and we go play. And then after we go play, it's the end of work and we go home. The book made me think of it.

Interested in learning a bit about Chris Raschka and his work process? Check out this video.