PPBF: WE4 – Oh, No! Where Are My Pants?+2

To close the series this month on Wolf Erlbruch, I’d like to introduce three titles that he illustrated for other authors. To read the other posts, click HERE, HERE, or HERE. Enjoy!Oh,No!WhereAreMyPants?CoverEdited by: Lee Bennet Hopkins
Illustrator: Wolf Erlbruch
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2005
Age: 4-8
Themes: conduct of life, children’s poetry, emotions
Opening: This isn’t the way it was supposed to be- You in Room Two. Me in Room Three.

Oh,No!WhereAreMyPants?1Summary: Poignant and funny American poems for children selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Oh,No!WhereAreMyPants?2Why I like this book: I love suggesting books of poetry for emerging readers, especially humorous ones. These all touch on the feelings we all share of what it is like to have a really bad day. I love the simplicity in rendering and arresting compositions that snuggle up perfectly to each poem.

Resources/Activities: write poems about a bad-day experience you may have had.

ButterflyWorkshopCoverAuthor: Gioconda Belli, translated from the Spanish by Charles Castaldi
Illustrator: Wolf Erlbruch
Publisher: Peter Hammer Verlag/Europa Editions, 1994/2005
Age: 7-11
Themes: imagination, inventors, insects
Opening: Butterflies are almost weightless. They are ever so light, like the batting of an eyelid, the sun blinking red and yellow.

ButterflyWorkshop1.jpgSummary: (from fantasticfiction.com) Odair, one of the “Designers of All Things” and grandson of the esteemed inventor of the rainbow, has been banished to the insect laboratory as punishment for his overactive imagination. But he still dreams of one day creating a cross between a bird and a flower. Then, after a helpful chat with a dog . . .

ButterflyWorkshop2Why I like this book: Every illustration is a gem! For illustrators this is a beautiful edition from which to study what the silhouette of a character can lend to visual storytelling. And I believe children and adults alike can relate to the inventive main character who is one of the ‘Designers of All Things’.

Resources/Activities: consider the kinds of insects or flowers you might like to invent.

BearWhoWasn'tThereCoverAuthor: Oren Lavie
Illustrator: Wolf Erlbruch
Publisher: Verlag Antje Kunstmann/Black Sheep, 2014/2016
Age: 6-8
Themes: itching, bears, identity
Opening: Once upon a time there was an Itch. Simply, an Itch.

BearWhoWasn'tThere1.jpgSummary: (from my library catalog) One day, a few minutes after Once Upon a Time, a bear awakes to find he has lost something very important: himself! He sets out into the Fabulous Forest to find himself, using only a few clues scrawled on a piece of paper: the bear he’s looking for is a nice bear; he is a happy bear; and he’s very handsome too! These sound like pretty good qualities to Bear, and so begins his memorable journey. With the help of Fabulous Forest critters like the Convenience Cow, theLazy Lizard, and the Penultimate Penguin, Bear finds that he himself is just what he’s been looking for all along: a nice, happy bear–and handsome too!

BearWhoWasn'tThere2.jpgWhy I like this book: The text is full of gags, silliness and wordplay that are accompanied by equally playful and light illustrations making wonderful use of collage.

Resources/Activities: make a list of character traits you believe belong to you.

For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: Ear Muffs for Everyone

EarmuffscoverAuthor/Illustrator: Meghan McCarthy
Publisher: Paula Wisemann/S&S, 2015
Ages: 4-8
Themes: ear muffs, ear warmers, inventors, patents
Opening: The word “muff” has been around since the Middle Ages. Starting in the 1700’s, people wore muffs on their hands to keep them warm, like this: ‘This muff keeps my hands so very warm!’
Summary: (from my library catalog) This picture book biography of Chester Greenwood explores the invention of the earmuffs and the patenting process.

earmuffsendpapersI like this book because: it’s not all about who invented earmuffs, or as the title says, ‘How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs’, it goes into depth about the information we get and how we need to look deeper into the history of an invention – or patent – to really know how the object came about. It will help them to question things they hear and take for granted. The art is fabulous – McCarthy has such a wonderful way of bringing to our attention what could otherwise be seen dry information yet it’s all so much fun in her books – do check out her website: http://www.meghan-mccarthy.com/; or this article in School Library Journal.

earmuffs1Resources/activities: try and make your own earmuffs – video instructions here; if you are lucky, maybe there is a patent museum near you, like the Hagley Museum I visited in PA – HERE

earmuffs3For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HEREearmuffsback


Tandem with Karyn

Karyn and I got to chatting about inventors and decided to do a tandem post (art and poetry) on George Washington Carver. Go to Karyn’s blog HERE to check out what Karyn put together!

GWC_04 (1)

George Washington Carver is well known for his discovery of 300 uses for the peanut. His work helped save the livelihoods of many farmers struggling to make use of soil depleted of nutrients from years and years of cotton-farming. And George was more: a botanist, a researcher, an inventor and teacher; he started his career studying art and music.

But first he was a boy, born into slavery, who yearned for an education. From his own account, as a young boy he traveled 10 miles to get to a school he was allowed to attend. A woman he met there, Mariah Watkins, told him something that would shape his life – “You must learn all you can, then go back out into the world and give your learning back to the people.” And these are the words I imagined him listening to while drawing the silhouette above.

And I imagined what he might say, years later:

Those words fed me. They skimmed along the lobes and slipped into my ear, my brain, my heart. I hungered for knowledge and took what I got. I digested it. From those words, I fed all that I could.

This post is the perfect excuse to share a favorite song: