Monday, October 26, 2009

Review #48: The Adventures of Marco and Polo

Dad:  This is going to be a very special review today...
Isaac (age 11):  It is?
Dad:  This review marks one complete year of Bookie Woogie reviews!  Our first review posted in the first week of November '08, and this one will post in the final week of October '09.  So -- congratulations you dudes!  One year of Bookie Woogie!
Isaac:  Sweet!
Dad:  Does that mean we can quit now since we made it through a year?
Isaac:  No.  No.
Gracie (age 9):  Keep it up!
Isaac:  How many Bookie Woogies have we done?
Dad:  Well, 52 weeks worth, but shy of 52 reviews since for some of those weeks we did non-review posts -- an author interview, audio snippets, things like that.  We posted every week though.
Lily (age 6):  Today we are going to do "The Adventures of Marco and Polo."
Dad:  This book has my favorite illustrations of any picture book I've ever seen.
Gracie:  Really?
Dad:  Yep.  So I thought this would be a good conclusion for year one of Bookie Woogie.
Lily:  Marco is a Monkey.  And Polo is a penguin -- Oh!  I just thought of something about their names!  Penguin and Polo both start with P, and Monkey and Marco both start with an M.  It's alliteration!
Dad:  It is alliteration - good job remembering that big word!  Now that's interesting because this book wasn't originally written in English.  It was first published in German, and their names were "Pin Kaiser" and "Fip Husar."
Gracie:  "Pin" is penguin.
Dad:  You think so?  I don't know... could be.  We'll have to look it up somewhere.
Isaac:  Who wrote this book anyway?
Dad:  I have no idea how to say this name...
Isaac:  Dee-ter Wiz-im-myoo-lar...  Wiz-zim-u-ler...
Dad:  It's Dieter Wiesmuller.  We'll only be typing it anyway.
Isaac:  Dieter Wizz-mew...  Wiz-zoom-u-lar...
Gracie:  Die-tee-tooler...
Isaac:  Wiz-ZOOM-miller...
Gracie:  Dieter...  Wiz-a-ma-looger.
Isaac:  Wizama-lure.  It sounds like fish bait.
Dad:  Hopefully he doesn't hear us mangling his name.
Gracie:  Wizzamaloogader.
Dad:  He lives in Germany.  In order for this book to be in English, someone translated it.
Lily:  You made a book like that!
Dad:  Yeah, the Howie books eventually got translated into Spanish.  And they changed Howie's name just like they changed "Marco" and "Polo."  "Howie" got changed to "Fido."
Isaac:  What about "The Hiccupotamus?"
Dad:  That story would be hard to translate.  Too much nonsense.  How would you translate words like "cementipede"?  Anyway, back to "Marco and Polo"...
Isaac:  So it's about this monkey and this penguin.  The monkey goes on a cruise to the... North Pole... I think...
Dad:  South...  or maybe North...  Arctic...  Antarctic...  I don't know.  I can never remember which pole has penguins.  We'll have to look that up somewhere too.  This book just says "polar sea."
Isaac:  Whatever the "Penguin Pole" is...  the monkey goes there.  In this ship.
Lily:  Dad, are those bathtubs?
Dad:  They look like bathtubs, but I think they are boats hanging on the side of the ship.
Isaac:  They are kind of like escape pods for if your ship sinks.
Dad:  Lifeboats.
Isaac:  Anyway, the penguin shows the monkey around.  And he introduces him to all his millions and millions of penguin friends.
Dad:  Would it be hard to remember all their names?
Isaac:  It would be like, "Hi George, Hi Sam, Hi Cookie, Hi Dude, Hi Superman..."
Lily:  That baby penguin is a cutie!
Gracie:  The monkey is like "La, la, la, la... look at all the pretty sites."  Then he's like, "It's cold here," and he freezes.
Lily:  Then the monkey sails back to his home, and the penguin follows him.
Isaac:  The penguin wanted to see what "warm" is like.  When they got to the jungle... I don't know which jungle... the monkey showed him to all his friends, which were millions and millions of monkeys.
Dad:  Would you like to have that many relatives?  People think we have a lot of kids in our family.  What about these guys' families?
Gracie:  Aw, they should have done bunnies in this book!  Katie said that her science teacher said that a rabbit -- or bunny or hare or something -- could have 12 babies in, like, three minutes.
Dad:  Three minutes!?  I don't know about that.  Three months maybe?  Although sometimes it seems like you Zenz kids come along every three minutes...
Isaac:  Anyway, the monkey shows the penguin around and takes him to Victoria Falls.
Gracie:  That's my favorite picture in whole the book.  It's sooooo beautiful.
Isaac:  Victoria Falls are real, right?
Dad:  Yep.  Real place.
Gracie:  And the penguin is like, "La, la la, la... this is neat.  Oh, it's hot here.  Oh no, this means we can't be together!"
Isaac:  They wanted to find a place where they could both live.  So they tried a city - like New York, I think.  The temperature was fine for both of them.  But it was too loud and noisy, and the cement was too hard and bumpy.
Dad:  The monkey's tail would probably get run over by a car.
Isaac:  He already has a big tail - it's huge!  It's as big as a whale.  That would make it even longer.  It's already like 5 feet long... if it got run over it would be 10!
Gracie:  So the penguin and the monkey went back to their own homes and sent each other postcards to stay in touch.
Isaac:  Dad, my favorite picture in this book is the same as your favorite.  The one in the jungle with the three parrots flying.  The monkey is swinging in a tree and the penguin is walking on the ground amazed.
Gracie:  Look at his face!
Lily:  He's amazed.
Gracie:  And everything is green.  Everything is bright yellowy greenish.
Isaac:  It's amazing coolness.
Dad:  I'd like to go to that place... walk across that little bridge...
Isaac:  I'd jump in the river.  And I'd find piranhas in there.  So I'd jump out of the river.  And piranhas would start chasing me.
Gracie:  My favorite is the picture of Victoria Falls.  It's this giant waterfall - actually it looks kind of like two waterfalls.  There's this huge mountain thing coming up out of the waterfalls.  The monkey and the penguin look half of an inch tall compared to the waterfall.
Dad:  Do you remember ever seeing a waterfall?  You have seen Niagara Falls - twice.  But I bet Isaac is the only one who remembers.
Isaac:  That was awesome.
Dad:  Once we were passing by that way.  Isaac and I quickly hopped out of the car, ran over, and I said, "This is the biggest waterfall you'll ever see."  And then we just jumped back in the car and drove away.
Gracie:  The colors in this book are so pretty.
Lily:  At the jungle there's all these warm colors, and back here in the ice there's all these cool colors.
Dad:  You're right - warm and cool.  Good job - you remember those terms!  In fact, when I do art lessons, I always bring this book out to demonstrate warm and cool colors.
Isaac:  I like all the warm colors and cool colors.
Dad:  Now, here's something that I think is awesome.  Look at the difference between these two pictures.  The characters are in the exact same pose -- they've just switched places.
Lily:  But this picture is cold, and this one is hot.
Dad:  Right, and here's the thing -- you don't need any words to tell you that.  Just because this is done in all cool colors, and this is done in all warm colors, this one feels incredibly cold and this one feels incredibly hot.  Just because of color.  There's not even anything in the background except for color.  But you know exactly what's going on.  That's how powerful color can be.
Lily:  Even I feel hot when when I see this picture.  And I feel cold when I see that one.
Gracie:  Mm-hm.  It even works on us!  I feel cold!
Dad:  Isn't that neat?  You can use color to change the way a person's body feels while they are reading!
Lily:  Aw - look at this one...  Now I feel hot...
Dad:  Let's go put ice cubes in your pants...
Isaac:  No thank you.
Dad:  Now, which place would you rather visit?  The jungle or the icy world?
Gracie:  Jungle!
Lily:  I'd rather go to the jungle.  It's warmer there.
Dad:  Me too.  We live where it's cold, so I've had enough of ice over the years.  Although, those ice chunks would be fun to climb on.  Do you remember when we went to the beach that one winter, Isaac?
Isaac:  Yeah!  That was awesome!  I was walking on water!
Dad:  It looked a lot like this picture.  There were giant ice chunks washed up all over the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Isaac:  We hopped around on them...
Dad:  And there were huge cracks between them...
Isaac:  I knew the beach was behind us and we were over the water.
Dad:  So maybe it would be fun to go visit the penguin.  Climb around on the giant ice chunks.
Isaac:  That was awesome.
Dad:  So any last thoughts on this book?
Isaac:  It's a good book that you have to read.  It's super cool.  It has lots of colors and a really good story.
Gracie:  People should read this book.  Because if you don't read this book, then you are missing out on lots of things... you are missing out on beautiful paintings and great imagination and wonderful use of color...
Dad:  That's a good blurb right there!  If I were a publisher, I'd type that up and stick it on the back cover.
Gracie:  Sweet.
Lily:  I have a blurb!
Dad:  What's your blurb?
Lily:  "I like monkeys."

penguin and monkey swinging, by Lily

very hot Marco and Polo, by Isaac

Victoria Falls, by Gracie

Author/Illustrator: Dieter Wiesmuller
Published, 2000: Walker Books
Like it? Find it

Be sure to visit next week!  We'll be celebrating Bookie Woogie's 1 Year Anniversary with an Author Interview and a Giveaway!


Unknown said...

Happy One-year bloggaversary!

I think I saw this book somewhere. I'm pretty sure I want to take a look now. Thanks for the review.

Jennifer said...

Ooh, I missed this one. Must go find it right away! btw, in German, whichever comes first, i or e, gets pronounced first. And Ws are generally Vs. So it's probably pronounced Deeter Vise-muuler. Or something like that.

RubyMcDime said...

Happy anniversary!

I love all of the pictures you created for this story!!!

Carrie said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! =D That's so awesome!

HA ha on translating Hiccupotamus (which, btw, is referenced everytime Bookworm1 gets the hiccups....which he has quite a lotamus.)

And I can't decide which of the three pictures you artists created is the best this week. They are all awesome!

To many more years of Bookie Wookie!

Hull.Margaret said...

Happy Blog One Year Old.. Please never never stop writing/blogging. Even when you kids are grown up and off to your own places, you have to keep writing with each other, even if it has to be via Internet....or whatever is invented by then..:))

Anonymous said...

Congrats on one happy year of blogging! You are all so fun fun to read!

Swati said...

That seems like another book to covet - just for learning about the colours! And, happy anniversary! Incidentally, talking of giveaways, what happened in the last one - who won all your books?

Nina Crittenden said...

Lily- great characters and colors!
Isaac- way to capture a feeling, it looks Africa hot!!!
Gracie- love how you used your paint, so rich and thick! Great art, guys!

Britt said...

Awesome pictures! You kids amaze me. I can't draw a decent stick figure. (True story, I got in trouble for drawing them incorrectly in Kindergarten.)

The author's name would be Deeter Vees-mule-er, more or less. "ie" in German is always pronounced "ee" and "ei" is always pronounced "eye". :D

Off to put this book on hold....

Unknown said...

I found your blog for the first time while blog-hopping today, and I think it's brilliant. By chance, I picked up a copy of Hiccupotamaus yesterday and thought IT was brilliant (I'm a children's librarian in Springfield MO). When I found out these two brilliant things were connected, I was even more amazed. I hope to follow your reviews for a long time. Congratulations on one year!