Tag Archives: Mo Willems

Weird Dream

11 Jan

Last night I had a weird book dream. It was a good dream, just weird.

I dreamed ( or dreamt ) that Mo Willems called me. That alone is weird, but he wanted me to review Kate Di Camillo’s almost wordless picture book La La La.

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In this weird dream, I not only spoke with Mo on the phone, but I also spoke with Kate in person. After this dream, I feel I am on a first name basis with both. It was a good dream and very vivid. I can’t share more than this  brief description of my dream with you, but you can read La La La. Maybe it will fill you heart with hope and a song.

Publisher’s Summary: “La la la . . . la.” A little girl stands alone and sings, but hears no response. Gathering her courage and her curiosity, she skips farther out into the world, singing away to the trees and the pond and the reeds — but no song comes back to her. Day passes into night, and the girl dares to venture into the darkness toward the light of the moon, becoming more insistent in her singing, climbing as high as she can, but still there is silence in return. Dejected, she falls asleep on the ground, only to be awakened by an amazing sound. . . . She has been heard. At last. With the simplest of narratives and the near absence of words, Kate DiCamillo conveys a lonely child’s yearning for someone who understands. With a subtle palette and captivating expressiveness, Jaime Kim brings to life an endearing character and a transcendent landscape that invite readers along on an emotionally satisfying journey.

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Happy Father’s Day

21 Jun

DAD

My dad’s name is Earl. Here we are in the late 60’s. Dad is obviously in the centre. I am on the left and my twin sister, Andrea is on the right. We might have just woken Dad up from a nap, during which we put a teddy bear beside him and a blankie over him. I wonder now if he was awake the whole time we were doing that.

I won’t get to see Dad this year. I was planning on calling him this morning, but he fell and broke his hip a few days ago. He had surgery yesterday. He is 83 and has Alzheimers and I am feeling more than a little worried. If you are someone who prays, please put in a word for his recovery.

Since it is Father’s Day, I’m sure that most of you would agree that Atticus Finch is THE best Dad in literature. And when I think of Atticus Finch, I see Gregory Peck.

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Another great Dad, who loved unconditionally and did a lot with very little was Danny’s Dad, William, in Roald Dahl’s  Danny the Champion of the World. 

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This is a Dahl book that doesn’t get read as much as the others, but is definitely worth reading.

And how about the  Knuffle Bunny  Dad by Mo Willems? That man has the patience of Job.

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Or the Dad in Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon?

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Sneed B. Collard III takes a different twist with Animal Dads.

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What are your favorite Dad books?

What’s Your Favorite Animal?

27 Feb

In their interactive journals,the 4th graders often ask their correspondent about their favorite animal. I usually answer “otter”, because I like their playfulness in water and the nimbleness of their hands. And they are cute.

Imagine the answers if you asked book illustrators! Here’s what you’d get:

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Eric Carle, Nick Bruel, Lucy Cousins, Susan Jeffers, Steven Kellogg, Jon Klassen, Tom Lichtenheld, Peter  McCarty, Chris Raschka, Peter Sís, Lane Smith, Erin Stead, Rosemary Wells, and Mo Willems all answer the question. Each draws their animal and tells a little bit about themselves and the animal of their dreams.

Some are simple

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some more complex

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but all are delightful.

Aside from the obvious “draw & write about your favorite animal” lesson, this book has plenty of classroom applications: author/illustrator studies, art lessons, genre writing lessons…..

All the royalties from book sale are planned to be donated to theEric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.

Be yourself: Standing out or blending in

4 Oct

Tigers. They are significant features in two new picture books about being yourself. They both remind me a little of Mo Willems’ Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, which is my favorite Mo Willems book.

In Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown, the situation is quite the opposite of Naked Mole Rat’s dilemma.

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All the animals wear clothes, walk on their hind legs, mind their manners and act, well, civilized. Mr. Tiger feels the need to cut loose a little.  He takes baby steps at first.

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Then he really runs wild.

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Well, haven’t we all felt a little constrained sometimes? Maybe you’ve never wanted to run naked on all fours, but I bet you get tired and just want to ROAR once in a while. I do.

And then we have the strange case of Maude Shrimpton in Lauren Child’s Maude The Not-So-Noticeable-Shrimpton.

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She is a quiet soul, surrounded by a flamboyant family. Can you see her? Second from the end.

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Instead of getting her the quiet, calm goldfish she wanted for her birthday, her family got her a tiger. Oh my!

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Let’s just say, it doesn’t go well for her flamboyant family members. Maude ends up OK because “Sometimes. Just sometimes, not being noticeable is the very best talent of all.”

It would be fun to read these to your class, then have them write a story about a person who ran wild or didn’t stand out.

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