Monday, March 30, 2009

Review #21: Jazzmatazz!

Gracie (age 8):  This is "Jazzmatazz!"  It is by Stephanie Calmenson and illustrated by Bruce Degen.
Dad:  Bruce Degen is the guy that does the Magic School Bus books.
Isaac (age 10):  He does?!
Gracie:  This book is about jazz!
Isaac:  Super Jazz!
Gracie:  "Doo-dat, ditty-dat, Ditty-dat, doo!"
Dad:  You guys loved how they made shapes and colors represent different sounds in this book.
Gracie:  The illustrator really had to use his imagination.
Dad:  Do you remember that time when we listened to classical music, and we drew pictures of what the songs "looked" like, even though we were just listening with our ears?
Gracie:  No.
Dad:  That was a lot of years ago.  We'll have to do that again sometime.
Gracie:  Tomorrow.  Let's do that tomorrow.
Lily (age 6):  Let's do it today!
Dad:  So in the book, when the piano makes noise, what does the illustrator make the sounds "look" like?
Isaac:  Yellow puzzle-flower thingies.
Gracie:  Puzzle pieces.
Dad:  What does drum music look like?
Lily:  Fire!
Gracie:  Lightning!
Isaac:  Explosions!
Dad:  What does violin music look like?
Lily:  It looks like rainbows.
Gracie:  It must have been hard to think of all the ideas for how noises look.  It would be so fun to draw!  And hard.
Isaac:  Look - the bird's song looks like little comma thingies.
Gracie:  Like ninja tadpoles!
Isaac:  Evil boomerangs.
Gracie:  "Doo-dat, ditty-dat, Ditty-dat, doo!"
Lily:  Fish music is sweet!
Gracie:  It's the blub-blub sound...
Lily:  It is green waves in different shades with lots of bubbles!
Dad:  How about when the characters all make music together?
Kids:  Ahhhhhhghhhh!
Gracie:  The white space is getting all covered up with all the noises!
Isaac:  The house is exploding with sounds.  And everyone is coming over to see it.
Gracie:  Even an old lady with a goat.
Dad:  If you were in there, what sound would you make to join the jazz festival?
Lily:  Clack! Clack! Clack! Clack! Clack!
Dad:  Woah, Lily is doing a loud tongue-clicker noise.
Isaac:  Squirk... squirk... squirk... squirk...
Dad:  And you sound like a duck.
Gracie:  Haha hah ha haa!
Dad:  Isaac is making a squeaky duck sound from his cheeks.
Lily:  Grace, would you toot your armpits?
Gracie:  Ha ha ha ha!  YEAH!  Ha ha ha ha!!
Dad:  That's a pretty good sound for Gracie.
(A symphony of bodily noises ensues:  Pbbt... Pbbt... Pbbt...  Click... Click... Click...  Squirk... Squirk... Squirk...)
Dad:  Gracie, if you had to draw a picture of tooting armpit noises, what would it look like?  We know what they sound like, but what would they look like?
Isaac:  Little brown bubbles?
All:  HA ha ha hah ha ha!!
Gracie:  Little brown bubbles would be good for an armpit sound!  Little circles and waves... and colorful bubbles... and brown lines....
(Noises continue all through this conversation...  Squirk squirk sqruirk...  Click click click...)
Dad:  What would your squeaky-cheek duck sound look like, Isaac?
Isaac:  Little half-circle line things...  outlines of circles...  but if you split them in half...  they would be...  uhh...
Dad:  Ha ha... That's sounds very complicated.  I think you even confused yourself.
(Pbbt... Pbbt...  Click... Click...  Squirk... Squirk...)
Dad:  How about your sound, Lily?  What would tongue-clicks look like if we could see the sound?
Lily:  It would look like a whole bunch of colorful squiggly lines and then a whole bunch of stars.
Dad:  Ooo -- Stars would be good for clicks!
Lily:  My favorite picture from the book is when the patterns all joined together.  When the page is all covered with colors.
Isaac:  It's cool how he uses white space in the beginning of the book.  It makes all the colors and lines and bubbles from the music pop out more.
Gracie:  Then at the end, the white space gets completely covered -- except for the part where it's going Doo-dat, Ditty-dat, Doo!
Isaac:  It's like giant stained glass.  A whole bunch of stained glass.
Gracie:  It looks like a big rainbow of shapes!  All colors and sizes and shapes and beautiful things.
Lily:  They were crazy and drum-banging and cool!
Isaac:  It looks like all the colors exploded and found different places to go.
Dad:  We've mostly talked about the pictures.  Is there anything you want to say about the rhyme?
Isaac:  It's super cool, like "Doo-dat, ditty-dat..."
Gracie:  "Doo-dat, ditty-dat, Doodly-dat..."
Dad:  There are lots of sound-words like, "Plink, plink, plink" and "Blub, blub, blub."
Lily:  "Bang, bang, bang..."
Gracie:  And "Fiddle-dee-dee!"
Dad:  What did we learn about the rhyme?
Gracie:  There was End Rhyme.
Isaac:  And some other kind of rhyme, like Diddledash Rhyme.
Dad:  Diddledash Rhyme?!
Isaac:  Ha ha ha!  I can't remember what it's called!
Dad:  Internal Rhyme.  Do you remember the example?
(Gracie turns to the page)
Isaac:  The dad in this book has puffy hair.
Gracie: (Reading)  "While you're washing the dishes / He'll step on your feet / Then scurry in a hurry / To the piano seat."
Dad:  "Step on your feet... Piano seat."  That's end rhyme because both of the lines end with words that rhyme.  "Scurry in a hurry" is internal rhyme because those words are next to each other in the same line.  So this has both end rhyme and internal rhyme.
Isaac:  And the dad has puffy hair.
Gracie:  Ha ha ha - look at the big hair!
Dad:  So much for the poetry lesson...
Gracie:  I wonder if the illustrator has big poofy hair like the daddy in the book.
(Gracie keeps reading)
Gracie:  "Mouse points to Dog / With his bones and bowl / I play my drum with / My heart and soul."
Dad:  Now, the dog could have drummed with anything.  But Bones and Bowl both start with B, and that's fun to say.  That's called alliteration.  Rhyme is when the ends of words sound the same.  Alliteration is when the beginnings of words sound the same.  Can you make up an example?
Gracie:  With a Zip and a Zap I play my Xylophone...
Dad:  Good one!
Isaac:  Diddy Dat Doo?
Dad:  Yeah, you're right -- that whole refrain is alliteration.
Gracie:  "Doo-dat, ditty-dat, Ditty-dat, doo!"
Dad:  With a Plunt and a Plit, I Pump my hand in my Pit.
Kids:  Hah hah ha ha ha!
Isaac:  With little brown bubbles!
Dad:  Like toots from some toys, my armpit makes a noise...
Kids:  Ha ha ha ha ha...
Gracie:  Jazz is crazy, bumpy, loud - Woo!
Lily:  A clickin' from a chicken, and a chicken is a-tickin'!
All:  Hah hah ha ha!
Gracie:  The chicken is a-clickin' and he went to the dickens!  Ha ha ha ha ha!
Isaac:  An elephant made a smellaphant!
Dad: ...Diddy-dat, Doo!

guitar and tuba music, by Lily

drum and flute music, by Isaac

do dat didee dat, by Gracie

Author: Stephanie Calmenson
Illustrator: Bruce Degen
Published, 2008: HarperCollins
Like it? Find it

Monday, March 23, 2009

Review #20: Tale of a Tail

Dad:  We had a very special request.
Isaac (age 10):  We did?
Dad:  A nice fellow named László emailed us saying how much he likes Bookie Woogie.  And guess what -- he's from the country of Hungary.
Isaac:  Huh?
Dad:  Isn't it cool that you have people from other countries visiting Bookie Woogie?  He wanted to know if in our collection we had any Hungarian books that have been translated into English that we could review.  I looked - and I even checked all the local libraries - but I couldn't find any.
Isaac:  So there's not any books in our whole house that have been translated from Hungarian?
Dad:  Then I remembered - we do have a book that's close!  It's wasn't originally published in Hungary, but it's written by a lady who was born there and moved to America as a child with her family.  Her parents told her Hungarian folktales, and when she grew up she wrote one of them down.  And here it is!
Isaac:  "Tale of a Tail" -- I didn't know that was a Hungarian story.
Dad:  And look who did the pictures...
Gracie (age 8):  John Sandford!!!
Dad:  So it's doubly cool!  We get to do a Hungarian folktale, and it's illustrated by our good, good friend.
Gracie:  John Sandford!
Dad:  In the back of the book the author, Judit Bodnar, says that although this is written in English, she tried to keep the rhythm and flavor of the Hungarian language.  Did you know stories could have a flavor?
Gracie:  I'll taste it!  (Gracie licks the book)  It tastes like...
Dad:  Chicken?
Gracie:  Like...  cardboard.
Elijah (age 3):  Let me lick it!
Dad:  If you're done dining, shall we read?

Reading commences...
...Reading concludes.

Dad:  So, tell me about "Tale of a Tail."
Gracie:  It was about a fox who was trying to trick a bear.
Lily (age 6):  The bear was saying to the fox, "Please, oh please, may I have some of your fish!  I've still never caught any fish!"
Gracie:  Give me the fish, baby!
Lily:  But the fox was like, "Go away!  If you want to catch fish, stick your tail in the water."
Dad:  How long did the fox tell him to wait?
Lily:  All night.
Dad:  So did the fox really want to help the bear?
Isaac:  No way.  He was tricking him.  He was just trying to get him to go away.
Lily:  The bear stuck his tail in the water, and he waited ALL NIGHT!
Gracie:  He thought if he stuck his tail in the water, the fish would come up in the morning and think it was a worm and, chomp chomp chomp, "I got the tail."
Lily:  But his tail got frozen to the lake.  His tail got stuck in the ice.
Gracie:  Poor bear.
Lily:  I feel sad for him.
Gracie:  He looks cold.  The picture is painted with blues and greens and whites.
Isaac:  He's going to freeze his tail off in the ice.
Dad:  In the morning he tugged and pulled, and he yanked the whole frozen lake, stuck to his tail, right out of the ground!
Gracie:  That would be hard to get through squeezy places with.
Isaac:  I think his tail would get ripped off.  All the fur on his tail would.
Dad:  What happened as the bear marched back to the fox's house dragging the frozen lake on his tail behind him?
Gracie:  The lake was melting.
Isaac:  And all the fish got left behind.
Lily:  Look at all those fish!
Isaac:  The fox thought the bear wouldn't catch anything, but the bear gets millions and millions and billions of fish!
Gracie:  This time the trick is on the fox!
Dad:  Do we have a new fishing technique to tell Grandpa about?
Gracie:  Ha ha ha!  No.  He doesn't have a tail.
Isaac:  Stick your feet in the water.  No - stick your forehead in the water so you will get a giant hat of ice with fish stuck in it!
Dad:  Is there anything we could learn about the way people tell stories in Hungary?  Or did it sound just like any other story?
Isaac:  It's pretty cool that the author put all those different sounds in the story.
Gracie:  Like, "Kop kop kop" when the bear knocks on the door.
Dad:  And "Hom hom hom" when the fox eats.
Gracie:  And "HOPLA!"
Dad:  What were some of the things you liked about the pictures?
Gracie:  The characters have cool clothes.  Pretty patterns are on the clothes.
Isaac:  All kinds of designs.  Lots of different fabrics.
Dad:  Do you think those are traditional Hungarian outfits and patterns?
Gracie:  Mr. Sandford probably had to do lots of research.
Isaac:  The birds have little hats.
Gracie:  And the squirrels do too.
Lily:  The squirrels even have shirts.
Isaac:  There are all kinds of creatures in this book.
Gracie:  Why does the fox have a pigeon wing in his hat?
Dad:  Hmmm, I don't know...
Gracie:  Mom would freak out about that.
Dad:  She doesn't like people touching feathers found lying around outside.
Elijah:  Why does the bear have a reindeer hat?
Dad:  Yeah, do you see what the bear has in his hat?
Lily:  An antler.
Dad:  Actually, all the animals have things sticking out of their hats.  Maybe that comes from Hungarian culture.  Do you think László has feathers in his hats?
Gracie:  This is my favorite outfit.
Dad:  The bear's pajamas?
Gracie:  What?  They're pretty!
Lily: (Flipping through the book)  I like that picture!  Ha ha ha ha ha!
Gracie:  The bear took three days to eat ALL the fish.  His belly is so fat!
Lily:  Read this book and you'll see!
Isaac:  If he fell backwards, how would he get up?
Gracie:  In Hungary, are people really that hungry?
Dad:  I don't think in Hungary the word Hungary means hungry.
Gracie:  What if he gets stuck between trees again?
Lily:  Ahh - and look - fish bones!
Dad:  Now he's got fish bones in his hat.  Maybe the characters stick things in their hats that they've eaten.  Maybe the bear had eaten a caribou and the fox ate a chicken...
Gracie:  But the rabbit has a peacock feather.  Why would a rabbit eat a peacock?
Dad:  That's true - my theory has been shot down.
Gracie:  There are lots of animals in this book, like birds...
Isaac: ...lots of birds.
Gracie: ...squirrels, rabbits, goats.
Dad:  And they're not even characters from the story -- they're just off doing their own thing in the backgrounds.
Gracie:  There's a hedgehog and he's adorable!  He's got a candle.  He's adorable!  Oh my adorable little hedgehog!
Dad:  There are so many neat details.  Like, look... there's a mole, and he's just out cooking a hotdog!  Isn't that's so weird!  All these funny little guys tucked around everywhere.
Isaac:  It's not weird.  It's cool!
Gracie:  But tiny birds don't really wear big puffy hats.
Lily:  The goat has a coat.
Gracie:  Look at the cute little bunnies!
Lily:  I'm that little bunny.  That pink one.  That's me.
Dad:  Anything else that you like about the pictures?
Isaac:  The borders are cool.
Gracie:  Borders.  Stick borders.
Dad:  Around the words Mr. Sandford made neat frames that look like twigs and sticks latched together.  And they are different on every page.  All different shapes.
Lily:  Look at this one -- it's like, Rip, rip, rip, rip!
Gracie:  When the wind is blowing in the picture, all those stick borders are breaking apart too because the wind is blowing so hard.
Lily:  This border is kind of like a Bible.
Isaac:  Like an open book.
Lily:  Ohh, and this border is the shape of a fish - because look, there's the tail!  And this side is the lips.
Dad:  Check out the border on the title page...
Gracie:  Sweeeeeet!
Isaac:  That's the coolest border of all!
Dad:  Look at this...  I wonder why the fox has that wheel tied to the tree?
Isaac:  I have no idea.
Gracie:  For a tire swing?
Dad:  It's not attached in a way that you would swing on it.  It's just a wheel tied to a tree.
Isaac:  Is it just there for decoration?
Dad:  Maybe it's a Hungarian thing.
Gracie:  If any Hungarians know what a wheel tied to a tree means, can you email us to tell us?
Dad:  Ha ha ha!  Maybe we'll get an answer.  Is there anything else that you want to say to our friends in Hungary?
Gracie:  Hi Hungarians!
Lily:  Hi!
Isaac:  How are they going to know what we are saying if they don't speak English?
Dad:  Well, the person who wrote to you knows English.  Maybe we could learn some Hungarian so we can say hello to them in their own language.
Isaac:  But what if they write back in Hungarian so we have no idea what they are saying?
Gracie:  Don't write us back in Hungarian...
Isaac:  That would be a little difficult.
Dad:  Final thoughts?
Gracie:  Read the B - O - O - K!!!  For little ones, that spells book!  For the little ones who don't know how to read.  Well...  they...  they wouldn't be reading this review then...
Dad:  Ha ha ha!
Lily:  Grace, calm... down...

springtime at the lake, by Lily

fox's fish dinner, by Isaac

fox finds an empty lake, by Gracie

Author: Judit Z. Bodnar
Illustrator: John Sandford
Published, 1998: Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard Books
Like it? Find it

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Fantastical World Around You

Howdy do!  A quick note of explanation from Z-Dad here.  Due to technical difficulties, I wasn't able to post a review on Monday.  But rather than skip a week, I raided the Z-Kids' other blog, Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty, and crafted a children's-book-related-post each day this week.  That explains the following seven posts...  I hope they're enjoyable for you!

We'll close out the week with some fan art Isaac and Gracie made based on Tony DiTerlizzi & Holly Black's wonderful Spiderwick Chronicles Field Guide...

First, three pictures by Isaac at age 9:


Wood Elf
colored pencil on black paper

cut paper

And here are some Sprites from Gracie at age 7:

Orchid Sprite
cut paper

Flower Head
colored pencil

Thicket Sprite
colored pencil

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Designing Dragons

Last year, Tony DiTerlizzi had a Design Your Own Dragon contest on his blog to mark the release of his great book "Kenny and the Dragon."  The prize was a copy of his new book containing a special drawing of Tony's dragon Grahame shaking hands with the winner's dragon.  Isaac and Gracie took up the challenge and created these guys:

Pistachio the Party Dragon, by Isaac at age 9
He throws parties at home in his castle, and everyone is invited.  He likes cotton candy, and he enjoys both giving and getting presents.

Tutu the Dancing Dragon, by Gracie at age 7
She likes to dance.  She likes to boogie.  She wears this outfit all the time.  She dances for the king of TwinkleLand.  Tutu dazzles with her dancing tricks.

And, oh happy day!  Isaac and Gracie won a book together with their entries!  And here's the cool drawing Mr. DiTerlizzi added to the endpapers:

You can check out the other winners by clicking here.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Monster Haiku

One of our family favorite author/illustrators is Adam Rex.  Last year with the launch of his most recent book, "Frankenstein Takes the Cake," he hosted a Monster Haiku contest on his blog.  For the prize, Mr. Rex would illustrate the winning poems and send his original art to the lucky poets.  The Z-Kids had fun learning about haiku and submitted these poems:

by Isaac at age 10:

Flying straight for us
Furry clawed feet, mighty wings

Run and hide! Griffin!

by Gracie at age 8:

Fuzzy pink monster,
she dances for kids at night.

I want to see her.

by Lily at age 5:

His fingers wiggle
He reaches out his long arms

Stop, Tickle Monster!

It turns out there were over 180 entries and two grand prize winners selected by celebrity judges.  And one of those lucky winners was our own Lily!  Here's the art she won, which is now proudly displayed in the girls' room:

Lily wrote a nice thank-you note and mailed it to Mr. Rex along with this picture she drew of Frankenstein's monster and his bride:

After which, Mr. Rex then emailed Lily in return.  Lily thought his reply was hilarious and still talks about it:

Hi Lily,

Thank you for the lovely art you sent me.  I don't think Frankenstein has ever looked so sweet.
Now, I know that I'm thanking you for your picture, which was itself a thank you for your contest prize, and the contest prize was sort of a thank you for your great haiku.  So don't write back to thank me for this thank you or we'll never stop and it'll be impossible to get anything else done.

Take Care,

And there it stopped.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Love of Reading

One of the best children's book review sites around is Just One More Book.  Last year Mark and Andrea put out a call for folks to send in illustrations for a Love of Reading Gallery.  Isaac, Grace, and Lily wanted in on the fun and worked up these illustrations for the gallery.

Love For Reading
by Gracie at age 7

Made with cut paper (snazzy cut paper!)

Critters Reading
by Lily at age 5

A bird, a snake, and a sitting duck

Just One More Book
by Isaac at age 9

Mmmmm... Gators love books...

I thought I'd also take a moment to mention that my love for Just One More Book directly lead to the creation of Bookie Woogie.  They have a feature where anyone can call into their hotline and leave a message telling about your favorite book.  I thought the kids would really enjoy doing this, but since it's a real-time recorded call, I figured we'd have to practice lots first.  I remembered back to a Christmas letter years earlier that I had put together with the family in an interview format, and was bemoaning the fact that it couldn't work that way... record it all and type up the best bits afterward.  Then I thought, hey we could do that.  And that would actually be fun!  We could do it on a regular basis!  Start our own blog!  And thus... Bookie Woogie was born.  And that is how most things work with me... simple ideas snowball into huge, complex endeavors.  What could have been a quick one-time phone call is now instead an ongoing weekly lengthy production!

Thanks Just One More Book for your fantastic podcast and also for the inspiration!  And we'll get around to leaving that phone message someday...

(For a taste of Just One More Book, you might want to check out the review of this book written by some guy.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Take a pick

When Isaac was 9, he made this game for us:

The large image is a detail of which animal?  The giraffe, the pigeon, or the rhino?  Take a guess and then scroll down to see if you are right!

Did you pick one? Find the correct answer below...






It's the pigeon wearing a mask!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

For the Birds

Author/Illustrator Mo Willems often puts fan art on his great blog (now see here). Kids send him their ideas for new pigeon books... he even turned it into a big event with his last book's release. A couple years ago the Z-Kids were inspired to think up their own "Pigeon" titles. Here's some of the fun ideas they came up with:

The Pigeon Finds a Sabertooth Mouse
Gracie at age 6

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Tank
Isaac at age 8

The Pigeon Finds Some Friends
Lily at age 4

Another one by Gracie:
The Pigeon Finds a Rocket
(Dad loves the beak on the pigeon rocket! And the curtains in the window...)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Z-Kid Favorites

Hi-ho!  Z-Dad here.  A couple weeks ago my computer broke, and since I'm an illustrator and we are therefore living off starving-artist-income, it's taking me some time to acquire all the items necessary for work (and Bookie Woogie) to get back up and running again.  But rather than skip a week of Bookie Woogie, I thought I'd raid the Z-Kids' other blog Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty for some children's-book-related posts.  So instead of a single review resting here all week long, check back every day for seven, count 'em, seven fun posts!

Through dedicated scouring of inexpensive avenues, we're fortunate to have right around 3000 children's books at home.  Last year I asked the kids what their absolute favorite books were out of the whole collection.  These pictures were based on their choices:

The Horned King from "The Book of Three" by Lloyd Alexander
by Isaac, at age 9

Dad has to say, I think Isaac's design here is the best imagining of the Horned King I have EVER seen!  Way cool!

Tribute to "Babymouse" by Jennifer & Matthew Holm
by Gracie at age 7

Gracie's picture depicts Babymouse approaching her homework-eating locker.  (I'm SURE we'll be seeing a Babymouse review here on Bookie Woogie sometime soon...)

Tribute to "Oink Oink" by Arthur Geisert
by Lily at age 5

Piglets falling from the sky into a cornfield...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Review #19: A Book

Dad:  Alright, who's excited?
Dad:  Oh for the love...
Kids:  We got a new book!  We got a new book for Bookie Woogie!
Dad:  What does it say on the package?  It says "Gerstein."  Do you remember who Mordicai Gerstein is?
Gracie (age 8):  "How to Paint the Portrait of a Bird!"
Dad:  Do you remember what Mr. Gerstein said in the email he wrote to you?
Gracie:  He liked our review, and he would send us his new book!  This must be it!
Dad:  Let's see what it's called... (opening package)  It's called...
Isaac (age 10):  "A Book."
Dad:  Of course it's a book.
Lily (age 6):  It's called "A Book."
Gracie:  It has a whole bunch of crazy guys on the cover.
Isaac:  A clown, a goose, a parrot...
Gracie: ...the "I'm-late-I'm-late-for-a-very-important-date" Rabbit.
Dad:  Alright, let's read it!

Reading commences....
...Reading concludes.

Dad:  So what do you think?
Gracie:  This is a funny book.  I liked it a lot!
Isaac:  The story is a story of a girl finding a story in her story!
Gracie:  That's a lot of "stories."
Dad:  A family of characters lives in this book, and each person has their own story.
Gracie:  But the girl didn't know what her story is.  So she tries to find it.
Dad:  She visits different kinds of stories to see if any of them are a good fit.  What kinds of stories did she check out?
Isaac:  Fairytales, a pirate story, a mystery story, a historical story, a science fiction story with aliens...
Lily:  The aliens are funny.
Isaac:  One of them says "Pipick" and the other one says "Pupick."
Lily:  I like the pink one -- it's a girl.
Isaac:  They look like little suns and they have one eyeball.
Dad:  Do you know what a "historical" book is?
Isaac:  From a long time ago.  Like "Little House on the Prairie."
Gracie:  Like me!
Dad:  Like you!  I think you belong in the historical story.  Tell everyone how you were dressed when the book arrived.
Gracie:  I'm wearing a dress that looks like it's from olden days, and an apron, and a bonnet!
Isaac:  Try jumping into the book!
Dad:  It's cool because the characters know they live in a book.  How did the girl find out that there are people reading about her?
Isaac:  The goose said to look up.
Gracie:  And the girl screamed "Ahh!  What's that big blobby thing that looks like a face!"
Dad:  You almost started crying when she said that!
Gracie:  I'm not a blobby thing...
Dad:  Maybe she was looking at Lily.
Lily:  No, you!
Dad:  Me?
Lily:  Yeah, because you were reading it!
Dad:  True enough.  I probably have the blobby head.  Besides, if she had been looking at Gracie she would have said, "What's that thing in a baby bonnet?"
Gracie:  It's a Little House on the Prairie bonnet!
Isaac:  She couldn't see me - I hid behind the book.
Lily:  I don't want to be seen.
Dad:  What do you think about the illustrations?
Isaac:  The pictures in this book are cool!  They look like 3-D popping up.
Lily:  The people look like they are walking on the pages.
Isaac:  One of the ways he makes it look like 3-D is with shadows.
Dad: ...cast shadows.
Isaac:  And he kind of makes the people look like they are tilted, coming up at you.
Gracie:  And when he makes speech bubbles, he makes them look like they're popping up too.
Dad:  If our family lived in a book, who do you think the main character would be?
Gracie:  All of us.  Or... probably Lily.  She's the one who is most interesting in our family.
Lily:  I am?
Isaac:  She is?
Lily:  I would like to be in the story of Cinderella because there was a prince in there.  All those kinds of stories are princess stories, so I would be a princess.
Gracie:  I want to be in a comedy story.  About candy.
Isaac:  I want to be in a book about cool stuff like how to build tree forts and how to make bows and arrows.
Dad:  You guys are kind of in a story every week through Bookie Woogie.  And you have Readers.  We just can't see them.  Or their blobby heads.
Gracie:  I know what story we are in.  We are in a story about an artist family.  A family where everyone is an artist - except Mom.
Mom:  I want to be in a book about a clean house.
Dad:  Anything else you want to say?
Gracie:  Thank-you Mordicai Gerstein!
Isaac:  We really love the book!
Dad:  "A Book" hits shelves in April.  Be on the lookout!

pipick, pupick, pepick, papick, popick, by Gracie

mysterious scene, by Isaac

hitchin' a ride, by Lily

Author/Illustrator: Mordicai Gerstein
Published, April 2009: Roaring Brook Press
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Review #18: Museum Trip

Dad:  We just read "Museum Trip" by Barbara Lehman...
Gracie (age 8):  Read it?  How do you read it?  There aren't any words!  You make up the words.
Dad:  Would the book have been better with words?
Isaac (age 10):  It's best the way it is.  Words could have wrecked it.
Gracie:  They should have called this book "Maze" because that's the main part of the book.
Dad:  Tell me about it...
Gracie:  A boy got lost in a museum, and then he went into a secret room where he found a bunch of mazes on pieces of paper.  He shrunk down and did all these mazes.
Lily (age 6):  They're cool.
Isaac:  This book is different than other books.  It's a story about someone who found mazes, but parts of the book turn into real mazes that he goes through.
Lily:  If you want to, you can do every single maze.  And you can do it over and over again if you want to.
Isaac:  I like the cover.  He's pulling the mat back, and behind it you can see a maze.
Dad:  So was it real or a dream?  Did he really shrink down tiny and go though the mazes, or was it his imagination?
Isaac:  Real.
Gracie:  Well, at the end he still HAD the medal he got in the last maze.
Isaac:  The museum guy and the kid both have medals.  So the museum guy did the same thing.
Gracie:  It... was... magic...
Isaac:  It was magic!
Lily:  It would be cool to shrink down and go around a maze on paper.
Gracie:  But what if you never got out? What if you got stuck in there?  Lily IS the wandering one in our family.
Isaac:  It would be cool to shrink down onto paper because - what if somebody saw you?
Gracie: ...and they were like, "Look, Daddy!  Little tiny miniature robots are crawling in the maze!"
Isaac:  But what if you got wrinkled up...
Gracie: ...and thrown in the trash can!

maze, by Isaac

entering the tower, by Lily

receiving a medal, by Gracie

Author/Illustrator: Barbara Lehman
Published, 2006: Houghton Mifflin
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