105 Ways to Give a Book

The Thursday Three II

OMG! I spent more than two hours at Big Universe creating a book. Two hours that I badly needed today to Take Care of Business. I just wanted to see how the whole thing worked, and next thing I knew I was finishing The Princess and the Peppers. It’s ready for viewing if you want to see what kind of picture book I would write with two hours and limited clip art.

Here’s your Thursday Three:

Old MacDonald Had a FarmOld MacDonald Had a Farm, by Jane Cabrera
All right, we all know the song, so there are no real surprises there. Well, one surprise. Okay, maybe two. In the first verse we learn that Old MacDonald has a wife, with a kiss, kiss here and a kiss, kiss there. I think it would be advisable to not think about the here and there those kiss, kisses are going. They’ve also got a little May-December thing going on. Not that anything’s wrong with that. The rest of the book is the standard animals, but with the Cabrera-style bright lively art. At the end, surprise again. A baby! Hey, what did you expect with all that kiss, kiss here and there?

It's Not Fair!It’s Not Fair! by Anita Harper, illustrated by Mary McQuillan
The inside cover says that “Anita Harper is an author and pyschotherapist whose books focus on the emotional lives of children.” In this title, you can definitely feel the pyschotherapist coming through, but it’s not completely distracting. I’d give the credit to illustrator Mary McQuillan for making this feel like a “real” picture book and not just an “issue” picture book. Her cat family is adorable, but with a funky little spin to the pictures that keeps it from being cutesy. For the story — originally written in 1987 — a girl cat is upset that her new baby brother is getting all the attention and treats, and it’s not fair! But then it turns around and she sees all the things that she can do that he can’t do, and he doesn’t think that’s fair. The only thing I really didn’t like is that the book seemed to end suddenly. Without the “I guess there are things that both of us find unfair” wrap-up, I felt like there was a page missing. Still a good book for siblings, but watch out for that last page turn.

Jazzmatazz!Jazzmatazz! by Stephanie Calmenson, illustrated by Bruce Degen
Someone was watching Schoolhouse Rock! videos before he illustrated this book. Honestly, the last few pages of the book would look totally at home in the seventies. Totally groovy. Not in a bad way necessarily, but notable. A little mouse creeps into the house and starts playing jazz on the piano, which inspires the dog, the cat, the bird, the baby and the parents to each contribute their own part in mulicolored, psychedelic patterns. Fun and bright. Really bright. Oh, I loved the note from the author and illustrator on how this book got started from emails they were sending to each other.

2 comments:

TadMack said...

Oh, how fun! That's actually kind of a fun tool for making a picture book dummy -- for yourself, I mean; a publisher would be not best pleased to see illustrations... but what a fun idea.

And I had a little snort over the Iconic Latino Man by the cactus.

MotherReader said...

Oh, and Iconic Latino Man was the best of my possible choices for that scene.

One thing that I did learn from the experience - other than how addictive it can be - is that the clip art needs some work. I'll talk to the president of BU about that, you know, because I'm so important.