PPBF: Colors! Colores!

Author: Jorge Luján
Piet Grobler
Groundwood Books, bilingual edition (February 28, 2008); Translators:
Age Level: 5-9
Themes: colors, children’s poetry, Spanish American, English
Opening: Rocked by the tide, beige fell asleep on the sand. El beige se durmió en la arena de tanto que lo arula la marca.
Summary: (From Amazon) Noted Mexican poet Jorge Luján and South Africa’s illustrious illustrator Piet Grobler have teamed up again to produce this exquisite celebration of color. As day turns into night, young readers see fleeting, evocative glimpses of the qualities inherent in a range of colors. An antelope and a group of children are pictured inhabiting this delicate world. This bilingual book presents a gorgeous vision of a planet in which nature, words, and the rising and setting of the sun and the moon exist in harmony.

Why I like this book: I found another treat sifting through the world languages section of my library. If you didn’t know colors could sing, you will after reading the short poems bursting at the seams with image-inducing emotion. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for this skilled watercolorist to do the same thing with his images – they look simple, yet are able to lift you into a dream.

Resources/Activities: Now who doesn’t want to pick up a brush? A class could also make a list of objects of a certain color, shape, taste, touch – explore all the senses!

This will be the last PPBF pick for the summer – see you in September! For more PPBF picks go to Susanna Hill’s blog – any day!



PPBF: My Father’s Arms are a Boat

Author: Stein Erik Lunde
Illustrator: Øyvind Torseter

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books, 2013
Age Level: 4 and up
Themes: fathers and sons, death
Opening: My dad isn’t listening to the radio. He’s sitting in the living room, where the only sound is the crackling of the fire. When I was there with him, I saw the tongues of the fire lick his face. I went over and put my hand on his arm, and he patted my hand. Then I went into my room and got into bed.
Summary: Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father’s arms and asks about birds, foxes, and whether his mother will ever awaken, then under a starry sky, the father provides clear answers and assurances.

Why I Like This Book: I don’t think I need to explain why I think the artwork is breathtaking, but so is the story it tells, and the concept – too rarely found in American books. Looking for images I found a touching review which ‘hit the spot’ perfectly – HERE, at A Teacher’s Perspective. Life’s stories don’t usually end on a high note – it’s what we make of them that matters. I have to return this book to the library. I’ve had it out for the maximum of weeks allowed. But you can bet I ordered it.  It won’t take much convincing to have my local indie bookseller stock this one.

Activities: I feel the illustrations will motivate any child to draw and cut his or her own pictures, to sculpt the paper and create a three dimensional scene, or a diarama in a capsized shoebox – like the ones HERE at Art Lessons for Kids. And if a child wants to talk about death, what better opportunity than while creating and expressing? My own daughter’s first experience came with the coverage of Princess Diana’s death. We drew a lot of princesses after that. Once she drew a rectangle around hers, and another preschool mom asked her what the box is for . Olivia informed her, “She’s dead.”

Go to Susanna Hill’s blog for more Perfect Picture Book selections and activities.