“Perfect Picture Book” Friday

Wake Up, Island

Written by:  Mary Casanova

Illustrated by:  Woodcuts by Nick Wroblewski

Published by:    Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1 edition (February 24, 2016

Ages:    4 -7 years

Theme:   nature, animals, woodlands

Opening Lines:   While you sleep, the day is dawning. Sunlit fingers touch the shores. Water tickles island’s edges.

Synopsis:   on amazon:  Wake up, little one, a soft voice beckons, the world around you is already stirring. As Wake Up, Island gently rouses the sleepy child; it summons a world of nature coming to life on a summer island in the magical North Woods. Sunlit fingers touch the shores, pine trees stretch their limbs, and lichen warms on ancient rock. Doe and fawn rise from their grass bed and pearls of dew bead a spider’s finely woven web. Mallards skim the water’s surface. Ravens perch and gargle greetings, chickadees call dee, dee, dee, and a heron swoops—minnows flee! The moose and her calf wade, munching on plants. The red squirrel chatters. The black bear lazily scratches her back against a tree.

Conjuring the morning life around a cabin fragrant with berry pancakes, this timeless book wakens the child in every reader to the wonders of nature that greet every new day in the charmed world of a northern woodland island.

Why I like this:   With its beautiful soothing words the lyrical text feels like it is stretching and yawning with the reader. Noticing the wonder of nature, stirring, and shimmering awake the well-chosen word of sparse text leaves much to the illustration.  This book makes for a great mentor text for writers of children’s picture books.  “Sunshine pokes inside your window…”  isn’t that interesting word choice?  Apparently Mary was inspired by an early morning canoe ride around an island in her pajamas when she then wrote this. The full page wood carved illustrations give it that lovely woody look and feel.  This is an interesting book reflecting the author’s surroundings, for both small children and adults alike. What better way to interest the little ones than discovering the surrounds and what little animals live in their own back yard or local park or on a walk. You’ll be surprised at what you find!

Mary Casanova has written more than thirty books from picture books to novels, and her books have received many awards. She lives in Minnesota near the Canadian Border.

Nick Wroblewski specializes in handmade woodcut blockprints and printsfrom his home in Wisconsin.    Check out Mary’s blog with links to Nicks website  below.


Mary’s Website…    https://www.marycasanova.com/pages/books/bk_wake-up-island.html

Nick’s website.  Watch him prepare and woodcut one of the pages for Wake Up, Island…     http://nickwroblewski.com/

This is a great book to use in the classroom with discussions on the words used and the language.

Also ask the students to write down all the animals in the book and what they know about them.

Also list down the activities they would do if they were stranded on an island.

Also list items they would take if they were to spend a night on an island.

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.


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, Perfect Picture Book Review, Susanna's PPB Fridays and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to “Perfect Picture Book” Friday

  1. Your wonderful review of this gorgeous nature book has won me over completely! I’m looking forward to finding a copy to read – hopefully sometime soon. 🙂 In addition to the lovely text, I’m intrigued by the woodcut illustrations. Growing up, my parents made beautiful woodcut prints they sent out for the holidays. It’s an art form I am quite fond of.

  2. Pamela Harrison says:

    This looks like a beautiful picture book. I love the lyrical language showing the island awakening. Thank you for sharing, Diane.

  3. Diane, what a gprgeous cover. Great review. I put it on my TBR list for when my library opens back up! Thanks.

    • Ha yes Maria, we also have to wait for our libraries to open up. For now we are allowed to keep hold of the books we have without penalty. So I get to keep this gem for a while longer. 🙂

  4. Such a beautiful book about nature waking up in the spring! Your choice of words, made me yawn! I love woodcut artwork and it would be very effective in a nature book!

  5. I’m just now discovering the wonderful picture books published by the University of Minnesota. This one looks beautiful. Will find it once our libraries re-open. Thanks for the rec!

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