Published by: Chronicle Books LLC
Ages: 3 – 8 years
Theme: Magical, persistence, a gift, imagination
First Lines: “Hey, Mouse, have fun making cookies with Mommy today!” Michael yelled over the screeching gulls. “Dad and I will take care of the fishing.”
Synopsis: From the front flap – Daniel was tired of being little Mouse! They’d been calling him that since he was born. He hadn’t used to mind it, even liked it once, but not anymore. He poked at some crackers on the table. “Someday I’ll be so strong.” He mumbled. “Someday…”
And then it happened. Something so strange, Daniel wasn’t sure he could believe his eyes. One little cracker lifted up off the table. Not much Not even an inch. Then just as suddenly, it dropped right back down. Donald blinked. Had that really happened? How? Had he done it?
Up is the story of an ordinary boy with an extraordinary talent, a talent no one knows about, but him. Can Mouse really lift things off the ground? Or is it enough that he believes he can? Once again Jim LaMarche has mixed the magical with the everyday to create a book that stretches our imaginations and our dreams.
Why I like it: The beautiful large pictures drawn in soft pencil and dashes of water-colour are life-like, show great expressions and capture the eye. I love these kinds of illustrations most. This is a soft sweet story of a boy who wishes everyone would not treat him as a little boy. The reality of his secret power is weaved into the story so that only he and the reader know about it. When a beached whale is needing help, no one believes or even notices the whale lifts upwards and slips into the sea, believing they did it all themselves. I love the fact that Jim brought the story round to the beginning in just a couple of sentences.
This is the second book he has both written and illustrated, having illustrated many others and winning world-wide acclaim.
Resources/Findings: – Here we learn a little more about Jim and some of his other books… http://www.childrenslit.com/childrenslit/mai_lamarche_jim.html
Here is a wonderful insightful up close and personal interview with Jim, and talk about up close and personal with his to-die-for illustrations …. http://www.chroniclebooks.com/landing-pages/pdfs/Up.pdf *sigh* I love pencil drawings.
This is not about “Up” but one of his other books “The raft” Here we watch the artist in action and listen as he shares his thoughts about illustrating picture books. Beautiful! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2Fx0QjW8mg
Here’s a website full of easy how to sketches for kids…. http://drawsketch.about.com/od/kidsdrawingpages/
Here is some good advice about name labelling…. http://www.parentstalk.com/expertsadvice/ea_pa_0022.html
Pop over and visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors.