Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How This Book Was Made

I once had the opportunity to ask Mac Barnett at a book fair about how authors and illustrators worked together (or maybe didn't) on a book. I don't remember all the details of what he said. I thought I might find it in this book, How This Book Was Made.

The author gets an idea, then he writes his first draft which isn't as good as he hoped, so he rewrites it, in this case 20 more times until he thinks it is perfect. Then it goes to his editor who who thinks it is perfect, too as long as the author makes a bunch of changes. The manuscript goes back and forth until both the author and editor are satisfied. Then the editor sends the manuscript to an illustrator, Adam Rex. Since Adam is busy (or not) it takes a long time to get the pictures to the editor. but finally the book is ready to print in Malaysia. A pile of books so huge is printed that it can be seen from space. How do the books get back to the United States? By slow boat, of course; made even slower by an attack from a pirate ship. Lucky for us pirates don't read and aren't interested in the boat's treasure. When it gets to the harbor, the books are loaded onto a truck which delivers them to a bookstore (or Library) waiting for one final step in the book making process: a reader.

The Sonoma County Library has five copies. This book was published on Sept 6, 2016 and as of yet has not been assigned an AR level.

But that didn't answer my question about how authors and illustrators work together, so I looked at a book they worked on published in 2012, Chloe and the Lion about who is more important in making a picture book the author or the illustrated?

In Mac's story, Chloe gets lost in the woods and meets a lion, but Adam thinks a dragon is cooler. Mac begs to disagree and tells Adam to draw whatever he writes. Mac and Adam are played by claymation representations of themselves. Their conversation occurs in its own space or over Adam's drawings.Eventually the argument ends with Mac firing Adam. Just then, Hank walks out of the woods carrying  brushes and a palette and is hired on the spot to illustrate the book. Hank's lion swallows Adam whole.

Mac suggests that Hank make the lion scarier, Hank says if you want scary, why didn't you make the lion a dragon? This leads to Hank being fired. Mac decides to draw the pictures himself, but that doezn't work so well either. He wants to quit, but Chloe talks him into asking Adam to do the drawings again. This leads to a phone conversation between Mac and Adam who is trapped in the lion's belly. In order to do the drawings he need to get out. Chloe asks a woodcutter, a crone and a knight for help, but they were no help. What finally worked was a redrawn (by Mac) cartoonish lion who was so embarrassed by his not so fierce new body that he agreed to cough up Adam. Everyone is happy but Chloe, what kind of thanks does a girl get for saving the day?

So do you think that's how authors and illustrator's work together? This video and this one from Reading Rockets may get us a little closer to the answer.

There is a short  You Tube video about the making of this book that is pretty funny. The Sonoma County Library has two copies. The AR is 2.7.

All this made me wonder about how Adam Rex worked with Christian Robinson when he wrote School's First Day of School

Monday, September 26, 2016

Reading Aloud

Why should you read aloud to your child?

Read aloud tip: Have books everywhere so they are always handy.

Hat tip: Raising Readers

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled

After a particularly bad day on the soccer field, Frank's parents take him to the pound where he gets Lucky. The two of them hit it off right away and together learn about the world. Lucky is particularly interested in Science. One day, when Lucky is investigating skunks, Frank learns about Chemistry and experimenting to see what treatment gets the best results. None of the results are acceptable to Frank's mom, so they sit outside for awhile and learn about Astronomy.

Both Frank and Lucky love Math. How many biscuits is Lucky willing to eat? How much hair can a dog shed in one week? How much does he have left? The answer to that is both a Science and a Math problem. Other questions involve the number of legs each of them have and how much birthday cake is left if someone leaves a chair pulled out from the table? Which leads to a History of dogs and humans and an answer, perhaps, of what happened to the birthday cake.  Maps and Geography are necessary when Lucky is briefly lost while learning duck language and Frank is learning some Spanish when Ana joins him to help find Lucky. Tomorrow Ana will join them in their exploration of the world around them.

Frank and Lucky Get Schooled  by Newbery Medalist, Lynne Rae Perkins answers the question for younger kids, when will I ever use this (Math, Geography, Science) in real life? The author's illustrations add information that is not in the text to make a richer story. There is a great deal of talk in education circles about the value of play, whether she intended to or not, the author has created a beautiful illustration of it.

The Sonoma County Library has five copies. There has been no AR level assigned to this book yet.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Elephant & Piggie Like Reading

Last spring, the final Elephant & Piggie book, The Thank You Book, was published. Now Mo Willems and a series of writers are bringing you the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series. Each book has a book within a book: Gerald and Piggie introduce each book, we read it with them and then they come back and comment on it. Like every book in the original series, there is plenty of humor and drama in each one.

The first book, We Are Growing by Laurie Keller is as Gerald (Elephant for the uninitiated) says about watching grass grow.  We meet eight blades of grass, one after another start to grow, each in their own way. One is the tallest, one is the curliest, one is the silliest and one is a dandelion. Two are pointy and one is crunchy but one, named Walt,  does not know what he is. What is that buzzing noise? It helps Walt find out. 

The Cookie Fiasco by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat is the next book in the series. Again Gerald and Piggie introduce the book. The story involves  a crocodile, a hippo, two squirrels and three cookies. How can everyone have an equal share of cookies when there are four of them and and three cookies? After much mayhem, the answer involves a hippo who breaks things when he is nervous and division. Gerald feels hungry after reading the book and Piggie brings just the right number of cookies and glasses of milk for them to share.

The Sonoma County Library has eight copies of We Are Growing! and six copies of The Cookie Fiasco. Since both books were published today no AR level has been assigned yet. The original series had AR levels from .5 to 1.3, these books have bigger words but can be sounded out by kids with the phonics skills of mid to late first grade. The font is large and there are limited words on each page. Fans of the original series will love this one, too.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Talk Like A Pirate Day

September 19th is Talk Like A Pirate Day. In honor of this special day, a couple of pirate-related links: A Pirate's Guide to the First Grade and Talk Like A Pirate fiction and non-fiction book lists with a special added bonus of a pirate's code of conduct

Hat tip: Raising Readers

Sunday, September 18, 2016

School's First Day of School

It is the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary not only for the students but for the school in School's First Day of School, story by Adam Rex and pictures by Christian Robinson. The School is a bit nervous. Will the children like him? Will he like them? The day starts out rough, there are lots of kids and some of them don't want to be at school and just as the day is getting going there is a fire drill. Things settle down after lunch in the Kindergarten. The students learn about shapes, the School learns some things, too.  The Kindergartners draw pictures using glitter and paste. One little girl with freckles, draws School. He thinks it is the best drawing of all and so does the teacher. At the end of the day, School hopes the children will be coming back tomorrow.

Christian Robinson's simple, flattened paint and collage artwork is perfect for this first day of school book. Look at the door on the school, does it look like a face to you? Which makes sense since the story is told from School's point of view.  Look for School's expression as the children arrive on the first day andthen when is thinking about them returning the next day.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

The Sonoma County Library has six copies. There is no AR level available for this book as of today.

Fly Guy Presents Weather

Buzz and Fly Guy take us on a tour of a weather station to learn about the weather in Tedd Arnold's latest book in his non-fiction series, Fly Guy Presents: Weather. Buzz and Fly Guy learn a couple of things I didn't know (or remember, same thing). Cirrus (SIR-uhs) clouds (the thin wispy ones) are made up of ice and lightening is hotter than the surface of the sun. We learn about the water cycle, hurricanes, blizzards and tornadoes. Meteorologists (mee-tee-uh-RAH-luh-jists) study and forecast the weather. Climate (KLY-muht) is what the weather is usually like in an area: temperate, tropical, desert or polar. Some places can have more than one of these climates, Antarctica is both a polar and a desert climate. Buzz and Fly Guy have some tips at the end to help keep the earth healthy: use less energy and water, recycle and plant trees.

Tedd Arnold is writing for beginning readers so he puts the phonic pronunciation in parenthesis next to harder to pronounce words so his readers will learn weather vocabulary.  As in the other Fly Guy Presents books, pictures are used to illustrate weather phenomenon like tornadoes, clouds, hail and flooded streets.

The Sonoma County Library has eight copies. The book was published this week and hasn't been given an AR level yet. The previous books in the series have ranged from 2.8 to 3.9.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Monday, September 5, 2016

Reasons to Read

Books Rock My World

Hat tip: Imagination Soup

The Great Pet Escape

Three furry friends have been rescued from the wild and are now class pets,: George Washington or G. W. in the second grade classroom, Barry in the first grade and the notorious Biter in the Kindergarten classroom. G.W. longs for the glory days of freedom and antics in the wild, so he carefully plans his escape from his cage hoping his old friends are eager to escape the confines of Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary School, too. He looks for Barry in the first grade classroom. He finds Barry reading a book and seemingly content but willing to go find Biter. They find Biter, now Sunflower, doing yoga in the Kindergarten. Sunflower likes being a classroom pet and has put her rowdy past behind her, but eventually G.W. and Barry convince her to join them. As they are planning their escape from the school, a mouse named Harriet and her minions confront them. There is no way she will allow them to escape from the school because that will lead to tighter security and tighter security is not good for Harriet. What follows is an increasingly slapstick effort to keep Harriet and her minions from spoiling the next day's school lunch ending in a food fight. 

Victoria Jamieson, fresh off a Newbery Honor for Roller Girl, wrote and illustrated this funny and clever graphic novel. The Sonoma County Library has eight copies and the AR is 2.8.