THE 9TH ANNUAL HOLIDAY CONTEST!!!

Once again at this time of year there is a Christmas treat on Susanna’s blog. A buzz of writing fever and excitement.   Writing a Christmas story of only 250 words (the title not included).  The rest of the requirements are here.

Here is my Christmas story is below.  Enjoy…

GRAN’S CHRISTMAS SHORTBREAD

Mina’s Gran always makes the best Christmas treats – cake, pudding and the prettiest shortbread cookies.

But Gran had a fall through the winter and was slowly becoming forgetful so now lives in a rest-home.

Christmas won’t be the same without Gran’s Christmas treats thought Mina.  Her lip quivers remembering how special she felt cuddled up in Gran’s arms watching television and munching on those shortbread cookies.

Christmas just won’t be the same.

While helping her Mom put up the Christmas tree Mina came across a box with paper clippings from Gran.  Among them was a picture and recipe of Christmas shortbread cookies. Mina’s eyes widened – Gran’s cookies! She could make them.

Racing round the kitchen pulling out a tray, on tippy-toe Mina grabs the flour. With softened butter she whips, slips and slides the dough round the bowl.  Mina wipes her sweaty brow.

Without them Christmas just won’t be the same.

She follows Gran’s tip and retrieves the dough from the fridge, rolls and cuts the shapes.

The smell as Mina lifts the cookies from the oven to decorate floats through the house.  She pipes colored squiggles, her eyes twinkle like the colored balls.

On Christmas morning Mina races into Gran’s room, dressed in her Christmas best she hugs Gran.

“Look what I made Gran!”

Gran’s face crinkles with joy. Her eyes sparkle at the Christmas shortbread.

“They look just like mine.”

Mina cuddles up with Gran, munching Christmas shortbread.

Mina sighs. This is the PERFECT Christmas.

 

 

Posted in Susanna' s contests. | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

SUSANNA’S HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST FOR CHILDREN’S WRITERS.


 

 

 

 

 

Hi everyone, it’s that time of year when pumpkins lit smiling toothy grins, hot potions are stirring in black pots over smouldering fires and spiders are dancing across their webs scaring children passing by and ghostly sounds come from dark places best not to venture too close. Oooooooo! It’s that time of year when Susanna’s Halloweensie Contest is here again for Children’s writers.

halloweensie-pumpkin

Here is what you need to do to enter…

Write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children (children here defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words potion, cobweb, and trick.  Your story can be scary, funny, sweet, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people.  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. potions, cobwebbed, trickery, whathaveyou!  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined! )

Post: your story on your blog between 12:00 AM EDT Monday October 28th and Thursday October 31st by 11:59 PM EDT and add your post-specific link on Susanna’s blog.

Here is mine at 100 words:

 

ONE SPECIAL NIGHT

Samara Spider stirred her secret potion

ready for guests on this special night.

Taste testing she felt something was missing

and stepping over her lit pumpkins,

slid down her silky cobweb to shop.

Locating her special ingredient hurried back

to finish cooking and set the table just right.

As the guests filed in one by one and sat down,

Samara took the seat beside handsome Sultan Spider,

and popped the question.

“Is this a trick?” he cried with surprise.

“Why certainly not!” said Samara.

“A girl can ask to go trick or treating with whoever she likes!”

“Sure!” He smiled.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

Don’t forget to pop over to Susanna’s blog and enjoy reading all the stories.

 

Posted in Literature | 40 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

ARCHIE THE ARTY SLOTH

Written and Illustrated by:  Heath McKenzie

 Published by:    Little Hare; First edition (1 May 2019)

Ages:    4 – 7 years

Theme:   acceptance, believing in oneself, art.

Opening Lines:  Archie was bored.  This happened surprisingly often, given that Archie was a sloth.

Synopsis:   (from back of book) Archie is given a 1000-piece art set and it gives him a great idea –  he can put on an art show with the other sloths! But when Archie spies his friends’ paintings, he wants to back out of the show – his painting isn’t half as good!  There’s only one animal who can help Archie find his inner-artist again.

 Why I like this:  This is a cute story about accepting what you can do – is what you can do. There is no wrong or right way to produce art.  It’s what you do that matters and not whether it’s as good as or better than someone else’s. Art like music or singing comes from within and it’s accepting that inner self that is the takeaway from this beautifully illustrated story. Archie is an unusually active sloth and feeling bored until someone gives him an art set.  He decides to put on an art show roping in all the other sloths to produce their art pieces and when they are put on display Archie is mortified and feels his is not a good as the others and hides behind his painting – UNTIL…   Sorry you’ll have to read it to find out what happens.  This is a great story for at home and especially at school when kids often feel they may not be as good if not better than another child.  It’s about believing in oneself, about acceptance and that no matter what – it is ok!

As a writer I found this to be also a great mentor text. It immediately introduces the main character and his problem. It shows how a lot is left to the illustration. Like when the text said someone had brought back something for Archie and the other sloths heaved sighs of relief.  Only in the illustration do we know what it is.  The next page says… Archie dabbled in a few different things. He tried this.  And he tried that.  Again only the illustrations show what they were.  The text also mentions the art fans, but again only in the illustrations do we see who they are. The bold illustrations also provide subtle humour. This is a wonderful read aloud.

Resources/Findings:   A bit about the author/illustrator. As you will see he loves to draw…    https://www.heathmck.com/about-me

This is a great page of down-loadable pages from Heath’s website for kids to create magic …  https://www.heathmck.com/things-to-do

I like Heath’s words… Just be YOU!

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

Posted in Perfect Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

TIGER WALK

Written by:  Dianne Hofmeyr

 Illustrated by:  Jesse Hodgson

 Published by:    Otter-Barry Books  UK 2018 and in USA 2019

Ages:    4- 8 years

Theme:   Art, Fear. Animals, reassurance

Opening Lines:  At the art gallery, Tom watches the tiger.  And the tiger watches Tom. From between the jungly leaves, his eyes follow Tom around the room.

Synopsis:   From Amazon…   One day Tom draws a tiger, inspired by his visit to the art gallery… That night, when Tom can’t sleep, the tiger pads out of his drawing and purrs, “Let’s go for a walk!” It’s the beginning of a magical and life-changing adventure, as the tiger helps Tom to overcome some of his biggest fears.

Why I like this:  The little boy in this book so reminded me of myself as a very young child.  I loved lions. Although I don’t remember when I first saw a lion I only remember I loved drawing them.  I remember very clearly in a classroom which I was looking after while the teacher was out of the room and the kids begged me to draw a lion. So on the huge blackboard I drew a lion with its’ long mane.  It must have been really good as I remember the teacher coming back into the room and standing there for some time before saying – I was her favorite lion drawer.  I think for me it was the softness of the animal, the thick mane and the sense of protection that drew me to love the animal.  (Although I probably had no idea of its voraciousness)  I loved how Tom went home and drew the animal and how in his dreams it came to life.  I love how the story shows how Tom learns to overcome his fears with the help and guidance of the tiger.  I love the use of page turns and the Tiger’s constant reassurance and the “Hold tight” refrain.  Along with Jesse’s beautiful deep colors of the night the Tiger is depicted as gentle even in his facial features – sometimes smiling.  The story builds to a gentle climax when two snow tigers appear- how frightening!  But all too soon Tom is tired and along with the realization of what he has overcome, I love how Jessie has Tom falling asleep between the Tiger’s paws.  This is both a sweet bedtime story as well as an introduction to kids realizing their dreams and to the beauty of art.

In the back of the book is a piece about Henri Rousseau and his painting “Surprised!” painted in 1891 and often called “Tiger in a Tropical Storm” which hangs in the National Gallery in London England.

Resources/Findings:    The author’s blog:    http://www.diannehofmeyr.com/2018/06/27/tiger-walk/

Facts about the painting….   http://mentalfloss.com/article/65593/15-things-you-should-know-about-rousseaus-tiger-tropical-storm

How to draw a tiger….   http://www.howtodrawanimals.net/how-to-draw-a-tiger

More info about the painter and painting…  http://www.theartwolf.com/landscapes/rousseau-surprised.htm

Henri Rousseau also painted The Sleeping Gypsy  – see my earlier post…  https://thepatientdreamer.com/2019/06/01/perfect-picture-book-friday-172/

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

Posted in Imagination, Perfect Picture Book Review, Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

THE BLUE PEBBLE

Written by:  Anne-Gaelle Balpe  and Translated by Kathryn Bishop

 Illustrated by:  Eve Tharlet

 Published by:    This edition published in 2011 by Michael Neugebauer Publishing Ltd Hong Kong.  Amazon has it published in May 2019.

Ages:    5 – 7 years

Theme:   believing in one-self, thinking ahead, sharing, treasures

Opening Lines:  Ali held a blue pebble in his arms.  He had found it under a daisy and decided to keep it.  It wasn’t quite round or square. But Oli had never seen a blue colour quite like it before.

Synopsis:   A little boy elf finds a very special stone and while out walking a boar, a wolf and three playful elves tell him it is useless because of it size and colour and to throw it away.  But Oli thinks it will come in handy and when he comes across a young girl crying holding her rag doll, Oli realizes he was right all along and that his pebble is special.

 Why I like this:  This story is in some way similar to a rough draft I wrote some time ago.  Just by the cover you can tell how special the pebble is to Oli and he’s dreaming of what he might do with it.  The cover begs you to take a peek to see what Oli will do with the pretty pebble and the characters he comes across.  I love the refrain of “Oli said nothing.”  Implying -his courage, stubborn, and earnest stance, as he walks away after being told to throw the pebble away. Even his face and chin is slightly upturned with his arm across the oversize pebble.  So cute! He appears to be a very shy little fella at first.  Interesting that the last line gives the impression that this could be a series, with little Oli.  I loved the soft blue and green hues by Eve and the adorable expressions on Oli’s face.  I was drawn to this book and I’ve had it at home for a few weeks and even extended the time from the local library with it, I just so loved this. It has such beautiful heart.

Resources/Findings:

Creative ideas for stones if you are collector….  https://www.pinterest.nz/t95lli/craft-creative-stones/

A little about the author and other works she does….     http://annegaellebalpe.blogspot.com/    If it is not in English there is a translation button to press which you can then set to any language you wish.

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

Posted in Perfect Picture Book Review, Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

“PERFECT PICTURE BOOK” FRIDAY

Just the Right Size

Written by:  Bonnie Grubman

 Illustrated by:  Suzanne Diederen

 Published by:    Clavis Publishing Inc, New York 2018

Ages:    3 – 6 years

Theme:   Big and Small, Being huggable.

Opening Lines:  Did you know… that a ladybug is small enough to land on the branch of a tree? A giraffe is not.

Synopsis:   From Amazon…    Did you know a ladybug is just the right size to land on the branch of a tree? That would be difficult for a giraffe. But then, a giraffe is just the right size to reach the highest branches. Did you know that a frog is small enough to perch on a lily pad? A hippopotamus is not (obviously), but he is big enough to scare even a crocodile away! In her latest picture book, Bonnie Grubman explores the basic concepts of big and small by putting all sorts of living creatures in odd oppositions. And you? What are YOU just the right size for?

Why I like this:  This is a beautifully illustrated book with a great message to help children realize their potential at any age or size. Bonnie Grubman’s story reminds us all that we are perfect the way we are, even for a hug, and we all have unique abilities. This story engages because it’s mostly about animals, and never feels preachy or didactic.  I love that small and big is highlighted to show opposites, the illustrations are in pencil and pale soft watercolors adding to the cuteness.  This is a very cute book.

Resources/Findings:

About the author… https://www.bonniegrubmanbooks.com/about-us

There are many ways in which we can teach young childen the difference’s between small and big…    https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/how-to-teach-preschoolers-the-difference-between-big-and-small/

Activities for kids showing the differences of big and small…    https://www.themeasuredmom.com/10-big-and-small-activities-preschool/

Love this website of fun activities such as making a book and singing a song for kids about you are only as small as what is beside you or around you.  Check it out here…   http://billygorilly.com/blog/2013/teaching-big-and-small/

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

 

Posted in Children's literature, Perfect Picture Book Review | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A FATHER’S LOVE: Nine Different Openings

 

Most countries follow the United States tradition and celebrate Father’s Day on the 3rd Sunday in June, however New Zealand and Australia celebrate Father’s Day on the 1st Sunday in September. …   So what better time than now to showcase a beautiful book for Fathers than “A Father’s Love” by Hannah Holt and illustrated by Yee Von Chan.

Many of you will remember Hannah’s debut book The Diamond and the Boy and the blog post she shared with me here showing her many ways of working out and finding just the right theme and opening sentences to be able to make such a unique and interesting book.

It is always a joy as a fellow critique buddy and friend when Hannah sends a story whether it’s a new one or another revision on a work in progress. Hannah not only preservers but also allows herself to open up to options, changes and new creative ideas and thoughts. Whether it is a change of animal, or animal to human, or male to female, Hannah is not afraid to try different approaches and put her characters in different positions and situations to get the best story. Hannah is a perfectionist in mining for heart, and also where rhyming and rhythm is concerned. As a prose writer I delight in not only reading her work but also in the lyrical infusion she brings to my works. If you are lucky enough to have Hannah as a mentor, be open to her thoughts and processes which I know will help your work shine. Dedicated to detail Hannah has kindly shared below her thoughts (in blue) and processes for producing those all important first lines… in a tribute to Fathers everywhere.

A FATHER’S LOVE: Nine Different Openings

Like most of my work, A Father’s Love, took many revisions. It started out as a love song to my twin babies, evolved into a general “Mommy Love Book”, and finally landed as a book appreciating dads. The following nine openings follow that evolution.

I hope that seeing my imperfect tries and clumsy early explorations help you as you revise! Happy writing!

#1

Some twins rock to sleep on ocean waves.     (manatee calves)

Some take their naps in forest caves.  (bears cubs)

But wet or dry, the land or sea,

Twins and mom three.

At this point, I’m not worried about rhyme or meter yet. I’m still shaping the idea. Hmm, do I really want my opening to be a math problem? No. This concept lacks resonance. Next!

#2

Some twins sleep under ocean waves. (manatee calves)

Some take their naps in forest caves.  (bears cubs)

But wet or dry, in woods or seas,

Mommies love their twin babies.

The rhythm and meter are still wonky. For example, babies and seas don’t rhyme. However, I have a better idea of the heart of my story.

#3

When mommies bring new babies home,

most come back with one hat and comb.

But sometimes mommies get the news

That babies also come in twos.

And who has babies by the twos?

Turn the page and read the clues…

I briefly flirted with the idea of this being a lift-the-flap book. Each page had a riddle and flaps would reveal “what twins?” This was the opening of that approach. Ultimately the concept didn’t work very well. Next!

#4

Some babies sleep beneath the waves. (manatee calves)

Some take their naps in forest caves.  (bear cubs)

But soft brown paws or sleek gray fins,

Mommy loves you, babykins.

In an attempt to make this story more universal, I abandon the twin concept and made it about all moms and babies. However, I’m still clinging to “twin” sounding end-rhymes—as you can see by my terrible made-up rhyme here. I had to let go of my darlings to move forward. ONWARD!

#5

Underneath the ocean waves (sea horses and wolves)

and in the heart of forest caves,

Daddies tend as babies sleep.

A father’s love runs fierce and deep.

As long as I’m switching things up, why don’t I make this story about DADs instead of MOMs? There are so many more mom books than dad books after all! I’m still just exploring this concept, but I have landed on my ultimate direction.

#6

In the whirling, swirling white,

a Papa snuggles baby tight. [emperor penguin]

With feathers fluffed and toe on toe,

a father’s love is soft as snow.

This one needs tinkering, but it’s not bad. However, the book as a whole is missing something. Wouldn’t it be better with an introduction before diving into specific animals?

#7

Dads come in all shapes and stripes…

The big. The bold. The silent types. (zebra) (nighthawk) (rabbits)

Although each Dad has his own flare, (jacana)

there’s something special all dads share.

I’ve settled on starting with an introduction, but I’m not loving the flare/share pairing. It doesn’t really capture the heart of this story. Also the rhythm of the first line needs some help.

#8

Papas come in many stripes…

The big. The bold. The silent types. [zebra] [nighthawk] [rabbits]

Beneath the ground [rabbit] or high above [nighthawk],

each father’s heart comes filled with love. [zebra]

THIS IS IT! I’ve finally found the direction, heart, and start of my story. However, zebras aren’t awesome dads and rabbits don’t spend much energy raising young. Also nighthawks are a lesser known animal and don’t create a strong opening hook. While I’ve got my beginning, I still need to nail down the animals in the story.

#9

Papas come in many stripes—

The big. The bold. The silent types. [lion] [wolf] [seahorse]

Beneath the ground or high above, [fox / falcon]

each father’s heart comes filled with love.

This is the final text. You can see it’s almost identical to the one before (just a minor punctuation change). However, I’ve finally found all the animals I want to use and paired it with the text. Huzzah!

A Father’s Love

Written by: Hannah Holt

Illustrated by: Yee Von Chan

Published by: Philomel Books  2019

Age: 3 -7 years

From Amazon: Throughout the animal kingdom, in every part of the world, fathers love and care for their babies. This book takes readers around the globe and across the animal kingdom, showcasing the many ways fathers have of demonstrating their love. Whether it’s a penguin papa snuggling with his baby in the frosty white snow, a lion dad playing with his cub in a yellow field, or a seahorse father protecting his young inside his pouch in the deep blue ocean, we see that a father’s love comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Why I like this:  With gorgeous sweet illustrations that bring the love between dads and babies to vivid, colourful life, this book is a celebration of the special bond that a father shares with his children. I loved how the marmoset and lion keep one eye open on their young even while they sleep. In the back of the book is the map showing some of the places where the animals depicted in this book are found and also a write up of each animal. Great for school projects, or fun family adventures this book would also be a sweet bedtime addition.  A beautiful treasure for every Dad any time of the year.

Thank you Hannah for your honest, candid look at the way you approach revisions and the beautiful book that has resulted.

Resources:  A Father’s Love can be found on Amazon… https://www.amazon.com/Fathers-Love-Hannah-Holt/dp/0525514201

Meet Hannah here…  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cD5csjzPg2k

and Hannah’s blog…   https://hannahholt.com/books

 

 

Posted in Children's literature, Picture Book Review | Tagged , | 24 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

The Glump and the Peeble

Written by: Wendy Meddour

Illustrated by: Rebecca Ashdown

Published by:  Frances Lincoln Children’s Books July 2016

Ages:   4 – 8 years

Theme: Friendship, being different

Opening Lines: The Glump lived alone, In a cave, in a wood. He tried to come out – but he just never could.

Synopsis: From the back of the book…   It’s not easy when you’re a glump that wants to be a peeble. And it’s not easy when you’re a peeble that wants to be a glump. But when the Glump meets the Peeble, magical things start to happen.

Why I like this: Wow! Well for lots of reasons I love this story. Firstly what attracted me to this book was the colourful cover and some of the quirky-cute illustrations inside. Like when the Clump goes to sleep sucking his finger, or when Peeble was sleeping she dreamt about being on Mars and all the animals had space helmets on. The other reason was I wondered what a clump was. In fact I still don’t know. I only know he lives in a dark cave and has bright orange spindly arms and legs and is rather shy and nervous. Even the peebles aren’t what we would expect them to be, being something between a flower bulb and a bird. Regardless, it is their friendship that is both unique and sweet. The jaunty rhyming text is a great read aloud both, in the library, at home, or in the classroom. I can imagine the teachers asking the kids to use their imagination and think of an unusual friend to write or illustrate. A feel good story about friendship and not conforming, it’s one that you’ll never tire of reading and a young child will never tire of hearing.  Aren’t those illustrations just the best?

Resources/Findings:

Help students chose a page of illustration and write about it. What do they see and what do they think is happening?

Ask students to draw their own invented animals. They can then create unique names for their animals. Write a poem about them.

During the revision process, help students focus on word relationships and nuances. Once the poems are complete, hold a poetry reading with treats for your stunning poets.

Ask students to write or draw what friendship is to them. Have they shared something with someone this past week? What was it? How did it make them feel?

Wendy has published over 15 children’s books including the latest…   Lubna and Peeble March 2019 and Stefano the Squid: Hero of the Deep also out March 2019   See here on amazon….   https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Meddour/e/B006UTQQB2

Rebecca’s website…   https://www.rebeccaashdown.me/profile

Wendy’s website…     https://wendymeddour.wordpress.com/

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

Posted in Children's literature, Perfect Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

Winter has arrived in all it’s gusty wind, rain and hail.  A tornado did quite a bit of damage up north and our Sky Tower was struck by lightning. Temperatures have dropped drastically and so it’s no surprise that this book caught my eye at our local library.

SOMETIMES RAIN

Written by: Meg Fleming

Illustrated by: Diana Sudyka

Published by:  Beach Lane Books, Imprint of Simon & Schuster Publishing   2018

Ages:   4 – 8 years

Theme: Seasons, Adventure, Fun

Opening Lines: Sometimes drizzle. Drip-drip drain. Sometimes picnic. Sometimes rain.

Synopsis: Sometimes it’s rainy. Sometimes it snows. Sometimes spring winds blow and blow… But any time of year is the right time for adventures outside in our beautiful world. (cover flap)

Why I like this: I’m loving books with a little something different. This is no exception. It not only is a beautiful story to share and introduce children to the different wonders of the seasons, the detailed illustrations show a brother and sister meeting and enjoying the fun seasons bring with another brother and sister. At the end of the story the seasons have come full circle and they part for home. Take a closer look at the clouds and the cold frosty air from the mouths of the children forming unicorns, birds and deer. Can you see them all? A great book for in the classroom and at home in showing what children would enjoy doing from one season to another.   Enjoy the outdoors, secret nature trails and more…

Resources/Findings:

Kirkus Review…   https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/meg-fleming/sometimes-rain/

Here are some fun things to do that I came upon…

Making snowflakes…   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkEu2tTiXgY

A toilet paperroll dandelion…   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpvIOpciq2Y

Sharing animal nature….     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqwszagVjfo

Hilarious video of nature kids exploring their nature playground….   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRmrmEBqlu0

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

Posted in Perfect Picture Book Review, Picture Book Review | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

The Sleeping Gypsy

Written by and Illustrated by: Mordicai Gerstein

Published by:  Holiday House September 2016

Ages:   4 – 8 years

Theme: Wonder, Dreams, Art

Opening Lines: One night, Henri Rousseau dreamed of a girl walking alone across a desert.

Synopsis: (on amazon) A girl, alone in the desert, lies on the sand and sleeps. But she is not alone for long. A lizard, a rabbit, a turtle and other animals come to scrutinize her, and a lion leaps into the scene and claims her for his own.

A silhouette approaches from the distance. He introduces himself as Henri Rousseau, the dreamer of this dream, who plans to paint a picture of it. The animals pose for the artist but criticize his work with comments like “You’ve made my nose too big.” So the artist removes complainers one by one from the painting, until only the girl and the lion remain

Why I like this: Wow! This is truly a beautiful book. A story within a story – a dream within a dream. The characters in Henri Rousseau’s painting, The Sleeping Gypsy, produced in 1897, inspired Mordicai Gerstein to create an elegant, beautifully illustrated story about them.   Mordical Gerstein imagines that the painter, Henri Rousseau, dreamt that he walked into a desert and came upon a number of wild animals and the girl sleeping with a mandolin by her side. How she got there? Why she is sleeping under the full moon in the desert? And what will the lion do, are questions answered by the imagination of Mordical’s version of events. The fact that Henri Rousseau is even there has meant he has stepped into his own painting. This is what Mordical imagines. Bizarre or amazing, it is all of those things and more.   It sparks imagination and the concept of dreams realized. It highlights the fact that criticism cannot always be erased, but being critical of others can cause you to miss out on opportunities. What is left after all the animals have stated their thoughts is a beautiful illustration of a girl and a lion. A thought provoking and insightful story. Great for interesting children in fine art.

Resources/Findings:       On this website is an audio of questions with answers and discussion by children regarding the painting…     https://www.moma.org/collection/works/80172#

I’m always happy reviewing Picture Books that come my way and share them with you.  If you would like to see more please pop over to Susanna Leonard Hills Blog where there are hundreds of books reviewed by other like minded authors and writers.  Thank you for popping in and I hope you return again soon.

Posted in Imagination, Picture Book Review | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Comments