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Read Aloud Thursday

Last week, I highlighted a wordless picture book for Read Aloud Thursday.  This week’s books include an almost wordless picture book.  Actually, that’s not true.  Hug by Jez Alborough contains twenty-nine words, and twenty-five of them are the word hug. Three year old Louise loved this book.  Bobo, the sweet little monkey in this story, is lost and forlorn among all the other jungle and grassland mother and baby pairs because he has no one to “hug.”  Of course, the story has a happy ending when Bobo is reunited with his mommy.  Louise got a kick out of the repetition in this story, and the sweet expressions on the animals’ faces make this a real winner.

Based on my affinity for books about artists and art, I’ve decided I must harbor a secret desire to explore my own creative side.  Actually, it’s not so secret; the older I get, the more I value art and creativity.  This is something I really hope to foster in my children; hence, I read them beautifully illustrated stories about artists.  What caught my eye about Painting the Wind, though, is the author.  I positively love Patricia MacLachlan, so I figured any book by her and another author whom I presume to be her daughter would have to be good, and it is.  This is the story of a little boy who lives on an unnamed island which is the seasonal home of all kinds of artists.  The beautiful (WHAT?  oil paintings?  watercolors?  see–I’m no expert, just a fan) illustrations by Katy Schneider contribute to the gentle feel of life on this island.
I’m pretty sure that Frances deserves her own post, but I couldn’t resist posting a teaser for this Read Aloud Thursday.  If you haven’t read any of this spunky little badger’s stories, run, don’t walk to your nearest library and check them out.  I have such fond memories of Frances which go all the way back to not my own childhood, but one semester of graduate library school.  I can still remember my children’s literature professor reading Bread and Jam for Frances and positively singing Frances’  little made up songs.  I was hooked.  I’m just glad my children like to go along for the ride.  Seriously, these little I Can Read gems by the husband and wife team of Russell and Lillian Hoban are not to be missed.

What’s in your family’s read aloud basket this week?  Link here or leave me a comment!  Oh, and be sure to check out yesterday’s post if you want to be introduced to a very prolific author whose books make great read-alouds!


Author/Illustrator Spotlight::Lois Ehlert

We picked up Lois Ehlert’s Waiting for Wings at the library a few weeks ago, and after reading it to my girls, I realized two things:  first, I want us to grow a butterfly garden this year; and second, this was not the first of her books we’ve enjoyed over the past few years, and her books warrant a closer look.  (I guess that’s three things, isn’t it?)

I think we first encountered Lois Ehlert’s engaging text and colorful artwork in the book Fish Eyes:  A Book You Can Count On which we purchased as a souvenir from an aquarium for Lulu when she was a toddler.  This is a perfect book for board-book format, with Ehlert’s trademark graphic and brightly-colored illustrations and fish (and eyes!) to count on each page.

Ehlert is a prolific author and illustrator, and she utilizes different mediums for her illustrations.  I am no art expert, but using my very limited knowledge of types of art, I would classify hers as mostly collage.  The element of her illustrations that I enjoy the most is her use of cut-work or die-cut pages.  For example, the cover of Pie in the Sky has cut out circles on the top of the piecrust so that the bright orangey-red of the title page shows through (and hints at what type of pie is growing in the sky).  The first couple of pages are actually only half-pages which look like a tree trunk.  Waiting for Wings is also made up of half-pages that help move the story along through what is hidden and revealed.

One of the things I really love about Ehlert’s books is their simplicity of design but their amazing detail in terms of content.  Growing Vegetable Soup is a perfect example of this.  The text is simple and in a very large typeface.  In fact, the whole book is comprised of only seven sentences.  However, each bright, graphic picture in this book is identified with a smaller word.  There is plenty to look at in discuss in even this simple book.  Pie in the Sky is a more complex story, but even it has explanatory notes in a different font about what can be seen on each page.

Ehlert’s books are ones that can be enjoyed by children (and adults!) of all ages.  One fun thing about them is that because she uses found objects in her illustrations, children could even make their own illustrations in the style of Lois Ehlert.  Her books would be useful in any nature or science curriculum.

While tooling about the internet in search of more information about Ehlert, I happened upon this great interview with her.  Parents, never underestimate the power of letting your children make a mess!

Check out Lois Ehlert!  You’ll be glad you did!