Friday, October 21, 2016

PPBF: What Degas Saw

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

What Degas Saw,
by Samantha Friedman and Cristina Pieropan
What Degas Saw
Written Samantha Friedman
Illustrated by Cristina Pieropan

Museum of Modern Art, 2016
Ages 5-10, 40 pp

Art History, Biography, Nonfiction

       The world was changing. Paris was alive.
       From his studio on rue Victor Masse, the artist Edgar Degas could see pedestrians strolling on wide, new boulevards. . . smoke rising from new factories. . . grand new buildings of iron and glass.

This book introduces readers to the person of Edgar Degas at a point in his life where he was searching for a new form of expression. The narrative follows him as he experiences the busyness of Paris and longs to capture it. It alternates illustrations of the scenes with copies of Degas's actual work, like puzzle pieces, fitting into people's everyday lives.

What I Love:
I love the viewpoint the author chose. She distilled Degas's philosophy down so succinctly in the line, "He wanted to find a way to capture the beauty of the passing moment." The text does not talk down to its audience, but invites them into the artist's thought process. I love how the illustrator depicts the scene going on around the famous paintings. The book also highlights some of the artist's work which is rarely seen: not just his ballerinas, but charcoals of passersby, sketches of average Parisians. Friedman's work as a curator at the MOMA gives her a unique perspective and adds authority to both the text and the backmatter.

1. Find out more about modern art on the Museum of Modern Art's webpage and to learn more about their publishing arm, check out the recent article from Publisher's Weekly.

2. Author Sarah Friedman has collaborated with MOMA on another biography, Matisse's Garden. Buy it at the online store, or explore inside.

3. Artist Cristina Pieropan has illustrated another
art biography, this one about architect Andrea Palladio.

4. Degas used charcoal and pastel to blur the figures in his drawings, conveying the feeling of life and motion. Have students experiment with chalky media. Show them photos of movement caught on film and Degas's pastels. Have them draw their own surroundings with the side of the crayon to imply movement.

5. Kids Play Box has a tutorial for painting roosters with a fork. It's not impressionism, but it produces an amazing impressionistic effect.

6. Mr. Otter Studio produced a creative art project video where kids can recreate one of Degas's ballerina pieces. See video above.

7. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Barbara
Reviewed by Joanna

Reviewed by Lynn Marie
Reviewed by Kirsten

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Leslie

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, October 21, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

MMGM: Disappearing Act

Today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday pick

Disappearing Act, by Sid Fleischman
Disappearing Act

Written by Sid Fleischman
Cover art by Chad Beckerman

Greenwillow Books, 2003
Ages 8 and up
144 pages, 21500 words

Humor, Mystery

       Hear that screaming? That's my sister, Holly. It's not exactly screaming. It's singing. She's practicing to be a world-famous opera singer. She thinks people will actually pay to listen to her.
       I have to listen because she's driving. We're heading for California in her old VW with about a million miles on it. The only thing holding it together is the green paint. Holly couldn't find Los Angeles without me, Kevin. She gets lost going around the block. Aside from her sense of direction, she's brilliant.
       We have to get out of New Mexico. Some guy is stalking her. Us,  I mean.

Holly and Kevin are orphans on the run from a mysterious stranger. They try to disappear among the colorful residents living and performing in Venice Beach, California.  But a middle-schooler and an opera-loving twenty-one year old are hard to hide, especially when they may hold the key to a lost treasure. Their pursuers are not above murder. It will take all the kids' ingenuity, plus a little help from their friends, to unravel the mystery and get their lives back to normal. As normal as it gets in their eccentric neighborhood.

All of Sid Fleischman's books are brilliant, but I have a fondness for this particular book. I can't tell you why. Normally I am drawn to stories set in the past or something with a bit more magic, but Disappearing Act probably appeals to me because it is so fresh. The voice is spot on. The setting so welcoming. The main characters plucky, pathetic, and likeable. The ludicrous, yet true-to-life characters they meet win your heart. Oh, and it's just plain funny.

 1. If you enjoyed Disappearing Act, you can read dozens of other books by Fleischman. The Ghost in the Noonday Sun is my all-time favorite, though not a comedy like this one. Fellow MMGMer, Janet, recommends the classic The Whipping Boy, reminiscent of both The Prince and the Pauper and The Ransom of Red Chief.

The Ghost in the Noonday Sun, by Fleischman.
Cover art by Tim Jessell, illustrated by Peter Sis
The Whipping Boy, by Fleischman.
Cover art by Dan Andreasen, illustrated by Peter Sis

2. If you love comedy, you can read more about the winners of the Sid Fleischman award for humorous kidlit on the SCBWI website. You may find a few new favorite authors among them.


3. Interested in the man himself? Bookpage posted an interview about The Giant Rat of Sumatra, and Reading Rockets did another amazing interview. View the transcript or watch the video below.


Have you reviewed a Marvelous Middle Grade Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations for October 17, 2016.

MMGM started way back in 2010 by Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of Lost Cities. Each week, participating bloggers review our favorite books for ages 8-12. Why not join us?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Star Wars Reads 2016

Say what you want about the Disney Company, but I am thankful they are using their formidable licensing power for good. In this case, it looks like Star Wars Reads Day has turned into Star Wars Reads Month. 

Check out the Star Wars website for history, posters and printables, and look for an event near you.

BB-8 rolls into reading! See what's happening on Facebook

Better yet, share a Star Wars book like Barnes and Noble's top 10, Brightly's picks for pre-K through YA, or one of the books below. After all, literacy surrounds us, penetrates us, and binds the galaxy together.

Cozy Classics, Epic Yarns
Abrams, Origami Yoda
DK's Incredible Cross-Sections

Friday, October 14, 2016

PPBF: Around America To Win The Vote

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Votes for Women!
Around America to Win the Vote,
by Mara Rockliff and Hadley Hooper
Around America To Win the Vote
Written by Mara Rockliff
Illustrated by Hadley Hooper

Candlewick, 2016
K-3, 40 pp

Historical, Biography, Nonfiction, Women

       On April 6, 1916, a little yellow car set out from New York City.
It carried:
spare parts,
a teeny-tiny typewriter,
an itsy-bitsy sewing machine,
one stout leather trunk bursting with useful things,
two smiling women,
and a wee black kitten with a yellow ribbon tied around its neck.
       The taller woman was Nell Richardson. The smaller one was Alice Burke. Together, they planned to drive all the way around America. It was a great big country, but they had a great big cause.

During the early twentieth century, two women drove across the country and back again in "The Golden Flier." They held rallies and passed the word for women's suffrage. These plucky women fixed their own car, mended their own clothes, avoided hazards and bandits, and earned the respect of a nation. They believed so strongly that women had both a duty and a right to vote, that they devoted six months to their daring adventure. This is the story of that amazing trip.

What I Love:
This book is written in an engaging style. The text is as spunky as the women it tells about. The art is vibrant and fun, as Nell and Alice were, whether at a formal party or stuck in a mud puddle in a back-woods back road. Full of facts and interesting tidbits (many from the ladies' own journals.) Plus Back matter and notes. Perfect for an election year.

Vintage votes poster by H. Dallas,
 turned into a coloring page, thanks to Sinergia
1. Read all about it on the Smithsonian web page. More info on Nell Richardson and her gorgeous car from America on the Move. Plus additional photos at the Library of Congress. Young readers can make a list of items they might need for a cross country road trip.

2. Visit the National Women's History Museum or read from the website concerning the suffragettes.

3. Just for fun, check out the sheet music and artifacts on the Women's Suffrage Memorabilia website. Have students write their own rally song.

4. University of Houston has a digital copy of a suffragette flyer, listing reasons women thought they ought to have the right to vote.

5. School Library Journal offers a huge list of books and suggestions for Demystifying an Election Year.

6. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Miranda
Reviewed by Julie

Reviewed by Vivian

Reviewed by Myra

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Grade Onederful

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, October 14, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

2016 Cybils Awards Nominations

 Just three days left to nominate your favorite books for the Cybils Award!
What are you waiting for?
See the nominations or submit one of your favorites.

Have a treasured graphic novel, picture book, chapter book? Fairy tale, coming of age, science, biography? Which YA book kept you glued to the page? Which middle grade read had you in stitches? Eligible books must be published from Oct 2015 to Oct 2016. See the Rules for further details.

Please forward your favorites by category on the Cybils website . . .

                                                                                                        . . . and spread the word!


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Illustration Is Art

"Children's literature is the first literature and the first art that children are exposed to. It should be good. And when it is, it should be given respect."
 - William Joyce*

Bookplate by Celeste Gagnon

*Via Muddy Colors