Archive for October 21, 2010


Last Song

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Last Song by Eric Rohmann

Marry an old Scottish poem to contemporary art and you have this beautifully simple book.  Follow the day of a squirrel family as they wake from nestling together and dash out of their tree hollow into the sun.  Smile as they wrestle together on the ground in the bright day.  Watch as the day turns to night and the moon rises.  See the stars sprinkle the sky, linger a bit, then return with them to the warm snuggles of sleep.  This book embraces the simple pleasures of life, the joy of simply being out in a sunny day and a clear night, and the brilliance of being together.  Done with a die cut cover, this book is sized in an inviting small way for little hands.

The poem is brief in itself and sprinkled throughout the book, it offers short phrases for a framework for the book.  The treat here is Rohmann and his ability to take an old poem and breathe new, modern life into it.  He also manages to make it entirely accessible for children, something that would not be possible if they just were read the poem.  Rohmann’s watercolor illustrations are deep colored and buoyant with happiness.  This is not a book that asks deep questions, rather one that basks in the small things in life.

A warm, cuddly book that would make an ideal gift for a child.  Due to its small size, it will work best with smaller groups or single children.  It would also make a great jumping-off point for discussions about the small things that matter so much in children’s lives.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.

Also featured on 7 Imp.

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Dotty by Erica S. Perl, illustrated by Julia Denos

Wherever Ida goes, Dotty goes too.  Even on her first day of school, Dotty comes along: huge, horned and covered in red spots.  Once Ida is at school, she realizes that many of the others in her class have brought their own imaginary friends too.  But as the year goes on, the other children start to leave their imaginary friends behind.  Ida though is still connected to Dotty, still carrying the blue string that ties them together.  Eventually, the other children tease Ida about Dotty, even the children who had imaginary friends of their own just a few months ago.  When Ida reacts angrily and Dotty bashes into a girl who was once Ida’s friend, they have to write apologies to each other.  Ida’s teacher finds out about Dotty and turns out to be a kindred spirit, just what Ida needed.

This is a book that really embraces imaginary friends, tying it winningly with the first day of school and growing older.  Best of all is the ending of the book which took a turn that I had not been expecting.  It is a book that honors imagination and creativity, embracing being different and maturing at your own pace or just not maturing entirely at all.  Perl’s writing is charming and warm, really creating a world filled with imaginary creatures that dwindle away slowly.  Denos’ art is equally successful with a modern edge and children who are modern and yet not slick.  They look like the children I see every day.  She also has a great mix of ethnicities that is done effortlessly.

While this is a book about imaginary friends, I would also include it in any return-to-school unit because it addresses the larger issues of people being different in ways that are not immediately apparent.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

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Tiger Eyes

Image via Wikipedia

The Hollywood Reporter has the news that the Judy Blume novel Tiger Eyes will be made into a feature film.  Blume wrote the screenplay with her son, Lawrence Blume, who is also directing the film. 

Amazingly, this will be the first Blume novel to be made into a feature film!   Some were adapted for TV in the past.  Here is why in Blume’s own words:

Blume said she hasn’t been star-struck by Hollywood despite being continually approached. She describes going on what she calls "Judy Sweetheart" lunches (where execs ask her, ‘Judy, sweetheart, what do you want to do?") and being less than enthralled with the Fudge series.

"I know I have reputation for not selling my books. And now I’m glad," she said. "Because here I am, working with a director I trust, someone I know understands those characters."

Production has already begun with Willa Holland (from Gossip Girl) playing Davey. Newcomer Tatanka Means will be playing Wolf.

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