“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday


BOOK  UPWritten and Illustrated by:   Jim LaMarche

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.


About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
This entry was posted in Children's literature, Picture Book Review and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to “Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

  1. Andrea says:

    The illustrations sound lovely and so does the story! I love the idea of a boy having a secret power.

  2. This is a great book. I was fortunate enough to see some of Jim’s original illustrations at our local museum a few years ago. Absolutely breath-taking! Thanks for the interview link. I can’t wait to watch it. Jim’s art for Rainbabies has always been one of our favorites.

  3. Oh- I’ve always wanted a super power—levitation would be amazing. Sensational resources…especially the interview. I’m envious of Joanne for seeing the original illustrations…will definitely check this one out – love the looks of it. Thanks for sharing, Diane.

    • You are very welcome Laura. Glad you liked the resources as well. Yes, it would be kind of magical to have some sort of super power, wouldn’t it. Imagine all the mischief we would get up to…hehe!

  4. Wendy says:

    I love Jim Lamarche’s work! This is a great choice, Diane. I always wanted a nickname but never had one, I never thought about the reverse point of view.

  5. This book interests me because I’m interested in how the author uses fantasy. It sounds like a beautiful book and the illustrations look captivating. I clicked on his website and saw some other interesting books. I don’t think I’ve read Jim Lamarche’s work before. Thanks for sharing.

  6. this looks fun… I always wanted magical powers when I was a kid. Never saw this book before, so thanks for sharing it.

  7. I really liked the soft glow of this book too.

  8. Joanna says:

    I am intrigued!

  9. Oh, this looks positively magical!

  10. The pictures seem almost luminescent. Very interesting.

  11. This sounds like an awesome story! 😀

  12. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    I hope our library has this one. Thanks for sharing it. It looks great.

  13. Sounds like a magical story about being brave or having self-faith that I’d love to read. The kind of illustrations is right up my alley, too.

  14. I LOVE Mr LaMarche’s books! His artwork glows with wonder. This looks like a good one. Thanks for sharing!

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