Monday, July 27, 2009

Review #37: The Arrival

Isaac (age 10):  "The Arrival."
Dad:  A wonderful wordless book.
Lily (age 6):  It is written by Shaun Tan.
Gracie (age 9):  This book is about a boy...  a person, not a boy...  well, it is a boy - he's an adult though.
Dad:  A man?
Gracie:  A man!
Dad:  That is what an adult boy is called.
Gracie:  HA ha hahha ha ha!  A man going to a new country.
Isaac:  The man had to leave his family because it was too dangerous where they were.  Later on he would bring his family with him to the new country.
Lily:  There were dragons where the guy lived.  Dragon tails.
Isaac:  Shadows of dragon tails.
Gracie:  A thousand black dragon tails all over the city.
Isaac:  The man had to go days and days on a ship, crossing the sea.  Finally he got to the new country.
Gracie:  This new world is strange.
Lily:  It was weird.  It had different animals and things.
Isaac:  Everything was new.  Including lampposts in the water, which I've never heard of.  And there were floating boats.
Lily:  The new country has animals that are strange and cute.  And some of them were freaky.  And the plants and trees were even different.
Isaac:  When the man first got to the new country, he had to get all checked out, and he had to get a million stickers all over his coat.  Then he got a passport-thing.  And then he went up in this air-balloon-elevator which took him to his new apartment.
Gracie:  His house has weird stuff in it.
Isaac:  I wonder what you use that pot-thing for.
Gracie:  I wonder what you use that giant fire-thing for.
Dad:  The man in the story is probably asking the same questions.
Isaac:  The fire could be for roasting marshmallows.  But they don't have "marshmallows" in this country, so it's for roasting "Garshkallobs."
Gracie:  He feels strange.
Lily:  He feels sad without his family.
Gracie:  Why did he leave?
Dad:  Well, that happened a lot in the olden days.  Even nowadays.  People leave their families to go to a new country, and they try to make enough money so they can send for their families to come join them there.
Lily:  The man was lonely.
Gracie:  "I'm lonely, oh no, what do I do?"
Lily:  But then he got a pet!
Gracie:  His buddy!
Isaac:  He finds a weird little monster.
Dad:  Everyone in that new country ends up with a pet.
Gracie:  All the pets there are really, really cute.  And when the man got his pet he was like, "Now I have a friend.  My friend helps me.  I'm not sad."
Dad:  The man had a lot of helpers in this book.
Gracie:  That makes us want to help people too.
Dad:  After reading this, we have a better idea what someone in a new place feels like.
Gracie:  Next, the man has to find food and a job.
Isaac:  But he was all confused, and he met some people who helped him.  They were trying to be nice.
Lily:  He had to get a lady to help him.  And his pet found a new friend.
Gracie:  What is that lady's pet?  An owl-bunny?
Isaac:  An animal that you've never heard of before.
Dad:  If you moved to a new place, you couldn't let yourself feel embarrassed about asking people for help.
Isaac:  We can all say we've been embarrassed at least once.
Dad:  But you don't have to be embarrassed about not knowing something, right?  It's always good to ask questions.
Lily:  Can I sit on your lap, Dad?
Dad:  See, that is a good question.
Isaac:  When the man went food shopping, more people helped him.
Dad:  These people are helping him even though they will probably never see him again.
Lily:  But they can still be friends for that short time.
Isaac:  He found the weirdest plants in the world.  Including those weird-strawberry-fruits.  Crazy new food.
Dad:  How did things go when he looked for a job?
Isaac:  Not so well.  He tried two jobs, and they did not go well because he couldn't read their language.
Dad:  It was cool writing that Shaun Tan invented.
Isaac:  You know what it looks like?  It looks like Cambodian writing.  Finally the man finds another job, working at a factory that makes baby-bottle-container-things, and he stands all day picking out the bad ones.
Dad:  Not fun, but it gave him the money he needed.
Isaac:  Yep.  And he met a friend at work.  They went out and played a game, and the man did really good on the game even thought he didn't know what in the world he was doing.
Dad:  The man ends up meeting lots of people that moved to this new country for different reasons.
Lily:  There was a guy who ran away from monsters in his country too.
Gracie:  His old country had gi-normous dudes with bazooka-vacuum-cleaner-things sucking people into their air tanks and using them for who knows what.
Dad:  Like a nightmare.
Gracie:  Why were they doing that?
Dad:  Don't know.
Lily:  Because they are naughty.
Gracie:  Because they are monsters.
Lily:  They were worse than the dragon tails.  They suck up everything and they are dangerous!  And the dragon tails are just spiky.
Isaac:  We don't really know what the dragon tails do.
Dad:  So, time passes...  the man has his job...  he saves some money...
Isaac:  And after a while, he was finally able to bring over his family.
Gracie:  They all got happy.
Isaac:  And hugged and kissed and became a family again.
Gracie:  Awesome!
Isaac:  It all ends in happiness.
Dad:  This book is cool because it's almost like we are going to the new country.  We don't understand all the strange new things either.  It's like we're experiencing it all right along with the man.  Instead of just telling us what it's like to be an immigrant, the book shows us.  It makes us feel it.
Gracie:  It's a country of weirdness.
Lily:  It's the country of stickers-on-your-coat.
Dad:  I know what Gracie would think is the worst part about going to a different country.  You wouldn't eat any of the strange new food.
Gracie:  Nope.
Dad:  Even if it was the most delicious food ever -- you'd never even try it to find out, would you?
Lily:  I wouldn't do it either.
Dad:  You wouldn't try new food?  Eventually you'd guys would have to, or you'd starve.
Lily:  I would bring food from my own country.
Dad:  That wouldn't last forever.
Lily:  I'd go back to my own country then.
Dad:  Remember, the man rode a big boat for days and days to get there.  He can't just go back and forth.
Lily:  Then I wouldn't go away from my country.
Dad:  What if there were big dudes with sucker-vacuums?
Lily:  Then I would go into the basement.
Dad:  Forever?
Lily:  Yes.
Dad:  You would rather live in a basement forever, in a country with big sucker-dudes outside, than go to a new country and try new food?
Lily:  Yes.
Isaac:  Lily?!
Dad:  Alright, who wants to tell me about the pictures in this book...
Lily:  The pictures are cool and awesome, and I love them.
Gracie:  The pictures are all black and white.  Sometimes brown and yellow.
Isaac:  But it's not boring.
Gracie:  Because they have lots of detail.
Isaac:  This book must have taken a year to finish.  Or two.  One or two years.
Dad:  In the back of the book it says that it took "four years of research, development, and drawing."  So he was working on this book for longer than Elijah has been alive.
Gracie:  That's a lot of years.
Isaac:  That would drive me nutso.  That would drive me crazy.  Would it drive you crazy?
Lily:  Oh yeah.  It would drive me really, really crazy.
Dad:  But are we glad Shaun Tan did it?
Lily:  If he didn't make this book, I'd be crying my head off.
Gracie:  I want to hang this picture on my wall!
Dad:  Tell everyone about it.
Gracie:  It's a picture of these paper-plate-bird-things flying in some leaf-grass-plants with a huge beautiful sun, and it's really, really pretty.
Isaac:  Shaun Tan has a good imagination.
Lily:  And I really like the cutie animal guys.
Gracie:  Yeah, my favorite part of the book is seeing all the cute little animal-pet-thingies.
Isaac:  I like that one guy's pet in the basket.  It's cool.
Gracie:  I like the vegetable man's pet.
Isaac:  What are those things?  Bunnies?
Gracie:  I think they're bunny-mice.
Dad:  Would you like to go to a new country like the one in this book?
Gracie:  I would like to live in a city like that.  It's cool.  And I could climb on the statue of the giant candycane-bird-thing holding an egg.
Isaac:  It would be cool to go there if you knew the language.
Dad:  What if you didn't know the language?
Isaac:  It would be maddening.
Dad:  It would be scary, wouldn't it?  To set out into a world you didn't know anything about?  Imagine if I just plopped you down in a big city in Germany and said, "Alright, fend for yourselves."  Would you know where to go?  Would you know what to do?  Would you know how to get around?
Gracie:  I would go to a German orphanage.
Dad:  How would you find a German orphanage?
Gracie:  I would find a big German map of the world.
Dad:  But how would you know where the orphanages were?  You wouldn't be able to read the map.
Isaac:  How could the man get a job if he didn't know the language?
Dad:  Are there people that come to our country that don't know the language?  And they have to find jobs.  How do you think they do it?
Isaac:  They learn the language.
Dad:  Over time.  But they would still need a job in the meantime.  Think how hard that would be.  This book is a pretend story, but things like this really do go on aaaaall the time.
Isaac:  They could do painting.  That doesn't require talking.
Dad:  Sure.  And they have to find nice people who are willing to give them a chance... people to be gracious to them.
Gracie:  So far the man in the book has been in luck.  So far he's found nice people to help him.
Lily:  Maybe the idea for this book came from real life.  Maybe the author went to a different country and he explored it.
Gracie:  I know a girl who moved here from China.  She's in my drama camp.
Dad:  Any last thoughts on the book?
Gracie:  This book is a cool adventure.
Lily:  It is a nicely, strangely, weirdish story.
Isaac:  It's a magical new world.
Dad:  Did this book teach you anything?
Lily:  It taught me not to whine when I move to a different country and to try new foods that look disgusting.

the man discovering crazy new food, by Isaac

boat floating over an island, by Lily

the man's daughter finding a new pet, by Gracie

Author/Illustrator: Shaun Tan
Published, 2007: Arthur A. Levine Books
Like it? Find it

Monday, July 20, 2009

Audio Snippets

We have a special Bookie Woogie post this week...

Our review process has a few stages.  Isaac, Grace, Lily, and I take turns picking the next books for review.  Then we read the stories, we record the conversation that follows, and later I type it all up by my lonesome.  We started out using an old cassette player, and it wasn't too long before it bit the dust.  The transcribing process was brutal on it.  Too much Play > Pause > Play > Rewind > Stop > Play > Pause.  Assuming we'd keep up with Bookie Woogie for a while, I sprung for a nice little digital recorder.

We've been asked a few times now about sharing some audio.  So, since a digital recorder makes it easy enough, I thought I'd collect and post a few favorite audio snippets.  After revisiting the recordings, I quickly realized two things.  First, I say the word "Alright" an awful lot.  And second, Gracie commonly speaks three times louder than a normal human being.

Hearing your own voice on tape is excruciating (a widespread sentiment, I know), but hopefully you won't mind my voice as much as I do.  Now, on to the clips.  I've included a link with each one in case you are inspired to re-visit the original review...

Update: In case anyone's computer gets bogged down from so much audio all loading in one post, I've added an alternate version of this post: Here

The first clip is my favorite one.  Every so often the kids say something, and the written word will never do it justice.  Like in the Inkheart review.  Here's what Lily said: "The Shadow is a shadow who has bright red stars for eyes."  But here's how she said it:

Here, we are remembering our long lost friend Mr. Sandford:

Every once in a while, someone sends us a book.  Sometimes for fun, sometimes for review.  This is always cause for much excitement.  How cool is it to get a book from Mordicai Gerstein himself!

A little background on this next one, because as you'll hear, Gracie rats me out.  This whole Bookie Woogie endeavor is lots of fun.  We get silly.  As we become familiar with the work of authors and illustrators, we play around.  Sometimes we make silly little songs with authors' names.  For instance, not knowing how to pronounce Vivianne Schwarz' last name, we often sing "Viviane "SchwaRTZ" do you wear shorts?  Vivianne "SchwaRS" do you start wars?"  (Many apologies Ms. Schwarz)  I also started referring to her as "Viv," which the kids found hilarious.  (Many, many apologies Ms. Schwarz).  Anyway, all this fun eventually backfired...

Gracie: "Read the B-O-O-K..."

"Jazzmatazz" was one of my favorite books to read with the kids.  Here, they start making their own sounds:

Gracie catches onto the wonderful parallels in "Adam Raccoon."

A spontaneous group reading of "Beware the Tickle Monster."

Lily tells us about hippos:

The coolest kid ever...

Poor Lily.  If we didn't make purposeful efforts to get feedback from her, she'd be content to sit and listen to Isaac and Gracie review away.

This one is a bit embarrassing.  But I thought I ought to include a clip of what it sounds like when we read.  This is from "Babymouse the Musical"

Gracie: "Babymouse had to be the under..."

Gracie: "Paro..."

Dad: "You are so weird..."

Wondering if Babymouse had stopped by...

Gracie describing life on a 2-dimensional planet:

Lily has something to tell Mom:

Dad's "Belinda the Ballerina" story:

Isaac sings a little "spot art" song:

Why Lily thinks you should read "Scribble."

Dad imagines the "How Are You Peeling" creators grocery shopping:


Dad voices a piece of fruit:

Lily describes Seymour Snail:

Seymour Snail inspires Lily:

Lily loves "Black and White."

Admittedly, "Black and White" is a hard book to review.  Here, Gracie tells us why you should read it:

We talk about poetry and write the next verse to "Flip, Flap, Fly."

Why does Isaac like picture books?

I want to say thanks to all the folks who visit Bookie Woogie!  Thanks too for the many nice comments you've left for the kids over the months.  I hope we've introduced you to some new favorite stories.  And I hope you enjoyed these audio clips -- I think we'll have to do this again after another 25 posts or so...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Review #36: Flip, Flap, Fly!

Gracie (age 8):  "Flip, Flap, Fly!"  Ha ha!  I said the title first!
Dad:  It's written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by David Walker.
Gracie:  It has such cute little characters!
Dad:  David Walker is one of my new favorite illustrators.  I look for every book of his that comes out.
Gracie:  David Walker, you have the cutest drawing skills ever!
Dad:  And Phyllis Root... we own a few books by Phyllis Root.  She always manages to land awesome illustrators.
Isaac (age 10):  This is a good book.
Dad:  Lily, why did you pick this one today?  We have lots of library books to choose from.
Lily (age 6):  It has the cutest duck in the world.
Gracie:  The duck is adorable!
Dad:  What do people need to know about Lily and ducks?
Lily:  They are my favorite animal.  I have a whole bunch of ducks in my room, like a collection.
Dad:  How many do you think there are?
Lily:  Uhhhh, 23.
Dad:  23?  That sounds like a very specific number.  Did you count them?
Lily:  No, ho, ho...
Dad:  I bet you have way more than 23.
Lily:  Yah.
Dad:  But we've seen lots of books with ducks.  Why this one?
Lily:  This one has the adorable-est duck in the world!  My favorite duck!
Gracie:  He has such a round head.
Lily:  He's cute.
Isaac:  Yup.
Gracie:  He looks so fluffy.
Dad:  So, there are cute pictures.  Tell me about the story.
Gracie:  It rhymes.
Dad:  But each verse leaves off the last word of the rhyme and instead ends with "dot dot dot..."
Gracie:  So you know that it's going to continue on the next page.
Dad:  Right, and the reader can guess which animal completes the rhyme.
Gracie:  And it also shows the animal's tail on the page before.
Dad:  So between the clues of seeing the tail and anticipating the rhyming word, a little kid can guess the animal that comes next.
Gracie:  The story also lists colors.
Dad:  "Green, green lake."
Gracie:  "Pink, pink roses."
Dad:  Lots of elements go into the cycle.  Every verse has...
Gracie:  A baby animal.
Lily:  A mother animal.
Gracie:  A color.
Dad:  A hanging rhyme-word.
Gracie:  Every one shows a tail.
Isaac:  Except for the kid.
Dad:  Right.  The kid doesn't have a tail.  What about: "Flip," "Flap," "Fly."  Do you remember what that's called?  We talked about it before...
Gracie:  When we reviewed "Jazzmatazz."
Dad:  You're right -- you remember the book.  But what is it called?  "Splish," "Splash," "Swim."  They're not rhyming words.  Do the ends of the words sound the same?
Gracie:  Nope.
Dad:  "Ziggle," "Zaggle."  What's the same?
Gracie:  The beginnings.
Dad:  And that's called?
Gracie:  Wonga-snozzer...
Dad:  Not wongasnozzer.
Lily:  Wichitak?
Isaac:  It's... that one thingie.
Dad:  It's called "allit...."
Gracie:  Alliteration!
Dad:  You remembered!
Gracie:  ALLITERATION!!!  Yeah!!!
Dad:  2 points for Gracie.
Gracie:  Alliteration!  Alliteration!
Dad:  Can you guys make up some new alliteration?  Actually, let's make up our own verse.  "In the..."  wait, where should we be?
Isaac:  In the jungle.
Dad:  And what color should the jungle be?
Lily:  Green.
Dad:  "In the green, green jungle where the bushes grow..."
Lily:  High.
Dad:  "...high, 'Look,' says the..."
Gracie:  Monkey.
Dad:  "...'Look,' says the baby monkey, I see a..."
Lily:  "Fly!"
Gracie:  Hee hee hee hee!
Dad:  I see a tsetse fly that's going to bite me and give me diseases!
Kids:  Ha ha ha...
Dad:  "...'Bite,' says the tsetse fly..."
Gracie:  "Bite, bite, bite!"
Dad:  " the mama helps the tsetse fly..."  now we've got to come up with some alliteration.
Gracie:  "Bitty buggy bite."
Dad:  There you go.
Gracie:  Yea!
Dad:  So, do you think that's the sequel?  We'll have David Walker draw a book that has monkeys and tsetse flies?
Isaac:  That give monkeys diseases!
Gracie:  "In the green, green jungle where the bushes grow high, 'Look!' says the baby monkey, 'I see a fly!'  'Bite!' says the tsetse fly, 'Bite, bite, bite!'  So the mama helps the baby take a bitty buggy bite."
Dad:  Ahh, lovely.
Isaac:  And then they give him diseases.
Gracie:  And the monkey gets diseases and dies!  Hah hah ha!
Dad:  Oh, wonderful.  Silliness from all.  Now, Isaac, who is "Flip, Flap, Fly" for?  Is it for 10 year olds?
Isaac:  Naw.
Dad:  Do you like it anyway?  Now, that's a good question...  Why do a 10 year old and an 8 year old have a blog reviewing books like "Flip, Flap, Fly"?  Is it weird, or is it good, that you guys still like picture books?
Isaac:  I like picture books.
Dad:  Why?
Isaac:  Because the paintings are cool.  I like learning different ways to paint -- how people paint and draw... and techniques.
Dad:  So you're learning techniques as an artist?
Isaac:  Yeah.  And because picture books are just cool, and I like them.
Gracie:  I'm learning how to make things look cute.  These animals are adorable!
Dad:  So what did you learn?  What does David Walker do to make them cute?
Gracie:  He makes things round.
Dad:  Right!  Good observation!  And how about the eyes?
Lily:  They are all little dots.
Dad:  And where does he put the eyes?
Gracie:  He puts them right by the mouth.
Dad:  He puts them down low so the animal has a big...
Isaac:  Forehead.
Dad:  Right.  Big foreheads make things look cute.  Some people might freak out about mice in real life.  So artists have to know tricks and secrets to make them cute.  And what did you guys just discover the trick is?
Gracie:  Big foreheads, tiny dots, and round heads.
Lily:  Little ball-heads.
Dad:  So even big kids can learn things by taking time to look at picture books, huh?
Gracie:  The people who made this book did a really good job.  This is an adorable book of animal cuteness.

snake, mouse, and duck, by Gracie

fish, otter, and snake, by Isaac

duck and boy, by Lily

Author: Phyllis Root
Illustrator: David Walker
Published, 2009: Candlewick Press
Like it?  Find it

Monday, July 6, 2009

Review #35: Black and White

Lily (age 6):  I want to tell them what the book is.  This is "Black and White" by David Macaulay.
Dad:  Now, this is one of the weirdest books you'll ever see.
Isaac (age 10):  And one of the coolest.
Dad:  And out of all the books in our house, out of all the books I've ever read -- kid books, chapter books, grown-up books, fiction, non-fiction -- this is my very favorite book in the entire world.
Gracie (age 8):  What.
Isaac:  I knew that.  It's one of my favorites too.  That's why I picked it.
Dad:  Of course, that's after the Bible -- obviously the Bible is in a category all its own.  But after that, this is my favorite book.
Lily:  I love this stor-yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
Dad:  Here's the reason it's my favorite.  I find some new detail, some new connection, every single time I read it.  And that's not an exaggeration.  EVERY time.  And I've read this countless times.
Isaac:  It's an awesome book.  It's just crazy though.  Sometimes it's really hard to understand it.
Dad:  This book even has a warning on the jacket flap.
Isaac:  And on the first page too.  There's a lot of warnings.
Dad:  So, is anyone brave enough to try to describe this book?
Isaac:  At the beginning, it seems like there are four different stories.
Gracie:  It tells all four stories at the exact same time.
Dad:  Each page spread is divided into four sections.
Lily:  But it's still just one story.
Dad:  This is a hard book to describe, isn't it?
Gracie:  It's a book with four parts.  Each part tells a story.  It's kind of fun, because you can imagine it as one story because the parts kind of hook up when it gets toward the end of the book.  But sometimes it's a little confusing.  You could imagine it as four different stories or as one big, very unusual story.
Dad:  Tell me about the individual stories.
Gracie:  One story called "Udder Chaos" is about cows and a robber.  One called "Waiting Game" is about waiting for a train.  One called "Problem Parents" is about parents dressed in newspaper-clothes.  And one called "Seeing Things" is about a little kid sitting in a train riding back to his parents because he went on a big trip all by himself.
Dad:  I like how there are four different styles of art for the four stories, even though there is one artist who made the book.
Gracie:  I like the way he drew "Problem Parents" because everything is brown, except for the dog and the newspaper and the son's shirt which are black and white.
Lily:  I like 'Udder Chaos" because you can find stuff hidden in the cow shapes.
Dad:  Tell me some of the elements that show up in more than one of the stories.
Isaac:  Traintracks.  That robber.
Lily:  Newspaper.  Singing.
Dad:  How about hats?
Gracie:  And cows.  Clouds.
Dad:  Yeah, see - that's something that I never noticed until this reading...  How clouds work their way into more than one story.
Isaac:  That dog looks like the masked bandit.
Dad:  You said all the stories "hook up."  How do they come together?
Isaac:  I think the mom and the dad from "Problem Parents" are at the train station waiting for the train.  And the train got blocked off...
Gracie: the cows!
Isaac:  Yeah, the cows from "Udder Chaos."
Gracie:  And the train that the boy rides in "Seeing Things" is the same train the people are waiting for in "Waiting Game."  Everybody has to wait and wait and wait, so they start making clothes out of their newspapers.  And then the "Problem Parents" mom and dad come home in newspaper clothes, and they make the kids sing and jump around in the clothes.
Isaac:  I think this is ONE story.  Not four.  See, look in this picture...  The boy is playing with the train station, so that's why at the very end a giant hand picks it up -- because it's a model!  A train model.  It's a train model.
Dad:  So you think the story "Waiting Game" is happening inside "Problem Parents"?
Isaac:  Yeah!  Everything is happening at the same time.  Right now.
Dad:  But earlier you said the parents were at the train station in "Waiting Game," and then came home in their newspaper outfits in "Problem Parents."
(long pause)
Isaac:  That's one of the things that I don't get.  It confuses everything up.
Lily:  That is crazy.
Dad:  You can ALMOST try to figure out how all the stories fit together, but not quite.  As soon as you think you know how it works...
Isaac: ...something goes wrong.
Dad:  You see some other little detail, and you go, "Aww, but that can't be how they fit."
Isaac:  It's a weirdo book.  It's a really crazy-noodle book.
Dad:  This book feels like a riddle, but it doesn't necessarily have any answers.
Isaac:  It's just really confusing.
Gracie:  And I like being confused!
Dad:  Are there any other books you can think of that are ANYTHING like this?
Isaac:  No.
Gracie:  No.
Dad:  That's why I like this book so much.  There's nothing else in the entire world like it.  Maybe the movie "The Fountain," but you guys have never seen that.
Isaac:  I was thinking, it would have taken the guy who made this years and years and years of planning to get everything just right in this book.  All those details.
Dad:  It would be fun to talk to him and see what he thinks about this book.
Gracie:  He must like cows.
Isaac:  What if he had a master plan of how you can figure it out.
Dad:  The four individual stories probably make more sense each on their own.  I think it's only when you try to hook them together that it gets confusing.  But that's part of the fun game  ...for me, at least.
Isaac:  Hey, I know -- the robber goes through all the stories.  So that's why it's "One."  He shows up in all the stories.
Dad:  Okay, so that's your second theory now.  Or do you think one of these stories is the "Real" story going on?
Isaac:  "Problem Parents."  And these other stories are just going on in the son's mind.
Dad:  So they're all in his imagination?  That's our third theory.
Gracie:  I figured it out!  The CHOIR!  The robber is in the choir, the train-boy hears singing, the waiting people are singing, the parents are singing!
Dad: ...fourth theory.
Isaac:  Maybe the mom and dad are aliens, and they can shrink and grow...
Dad:  HA ha ha ha ha HA Hah!!!  So now, we've got aliens in the story?!
Isaac:  Why is this book called "Black and White" anyway?
Dad:  Well, let's see if you can answer your own question.  Let's name all the things that were black and white.
Isaac:  Cows.  The robber.
Gracie:  Newspaper.  Dog.  Striped shirt.
Isaac:  Newspaper shreds.
Dad:  There's a well-known expression.  When an issue is "black and white," it means there's no confusion.  It's obvious.  There's black, and there's white.  No gray areas.  Is this book very obvious about what's going on?
Gracie:  No-ho ho ho!
Dad:  It blurs what's real and not real, so the title itself is sort of a funny joke.
Isaac:  Is this a famous book?
Dad:  Well, it's got a big, gold sticker on the front.
Isaac:  Ahhh, so it won that one Thingamajigger.  A Caldecott.
Dad:  However, even though it got a Caldecott, I'm guessing the author/illustrator is far more well-known for his other books.  And not only is there no other book in the world like this, but the author has made lots of other books and they're nothing like this book either.
Isaac:  What are they?
Dad:  I should show you.
(Dad runs into the other room and back)
Dad:  So here are three other David Macaulay books we have.
Isaac:  Woah.  Out of all the books in the whole world, I did not expect those would be the three.
Dad:  We have "Castle," "Rome Antics," and "The Way Things Work."  They are cool, hyper-detailed, non-fiction books.
Isaac:  I bet the people who read this review are going to have no clue what we've been talking about.
Dad:  Yeah, that's my fear.  I worry that since the book is so unique, the review will be confusing, and no one reading this will want to go find this book.  SO...  tell me one reason why they should go find this book.
Isaac:  Because it's my dad's favorite book, and it's one of my very favorites.
Dad:  But give them a reason.
Gracie:  If you really like cows and reading the newspaper, go read this book.
Isaac:  Ha ha ha ha ha!
Dad:  So... that's a lot of people.
Kids:  Ha ha ha ha ha!
Lily:  And if you like to make paper hats!
Dad:  Okay, all those people that make paper hats and love cows are just going to storm the bookstores!  Demanding this book!
All:  Ha ha ha!  Hee hee ha!
Isaac:  Read the book.  It's a great book.  And then read the book again.

cows riding a train, by Lily

cow reading a newspaper, by Isaac

cow wearing a newspaper outfit, by Gracie

Author/Illustrator: David Macaulay
Published, 1990: Houghton Mifflin
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