Posts Tagged ‘Sophisticated picture books’

Fuzzy Doodle

By Melinda Szymanik

Illustrated by Donovan Bixley

ISBN 9781775432500

Scholastic NZ

 

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This gorgeous book arrived at school today and the first thing one of the teachers said when I showed it to her was “it’s beautiful” and I wholeheartedly agree. I’ve read it a number of times now and see something different every time. I know I have to return this to school tomorrow so I am going to have to get my own copy when it comes out in a few weeks as it is one to keep.

It is a beautifully produced hardback, portrait size, sophisticated picture book. It is all about the creative process with the clever metaphor of a caterpillar’s life-cycle. And we all know what a caterpillar turns in to.

Fuzzy begins as a scribble and starts eating his way through inky bits and then words and then soon he is eating paragraphs. From paragraphs, stories grow and I won’t ruin the ending nor the metamorphosis of Fuzzy, except to say it is beautiful. Donovan Bixley’s illustrations are delightful. His charcoal and ink illustrations are more abstract that what we normally see in his work but these are perfect for Melinda’s story. As Fuzzy evolves, so does the page and so too, the black smudges to glorious colour.

The whole process of writing, beginning with the germ of an idea and the smudge on the page, to the final outcome is demonstrated with some wonderful poetic devices which children will love. My favourite is always alliteration.

“Then that parcel, it changed colour, creaked and cracked till it broke open…”

This is perfect and not just for schools or young readers, but would be a wonderful gift to writer friends you know or older students who love writing. It is simply, inspiring and makes you want to create your own scribbles and turn them into something beautiful.

Teacher notes can be found here. Well worth using to extend students use of this wonderful book.

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One minute’s silence

By David Metzenthen

Illustrated by Michael Camilleri

ISBN 9781743316245

Allen & Unwin

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As part of our school library’s current commemorations on World War 1 I purchased a copy of One minute’s silence.  I had known about this book and had been waiting for its publication for awhile so snapped it up immediately it hit our shops.

It is an impressive sophisticated picture book with beautiful illustrations, evocative language and insight into the terrible time known as the Gallipoli campaign.

The cover hits you straight way with two faces (one an Australian solder, the other a Turkish soldier) within a circle of never-ending soldiers and crosses. With its sombre sepia tones the message becomes clear that war is a global issue and its impact effects everyone, everywhere.

The book begins with a group of students who really would rather be anywhere else other than inside a classroom having a history lesson. Slowly the teacher draws the students in and one by one they become witnesses to the atrocities of Gallipoli.

I shared this book with my book club children; a group of 10 and 11 year olds who were mesmerized. The discussions generated were amazing. The power of this book is the ability to show readers the two sides of the campaign. The ANZAC soldiers on attack and the Turkish soldiers on defense. Both sides were doing what they thought was right.

The impact of these attacks was devastating and the imagery in this book highlights the losses from both sides.

There are teacher notes available here for further in-depth discussion and activities to make the most of this excellent book. There really is so much to unpack in this book, from the use of sepia tones, frames showing the passing of time and even to the double spread image of flies and what that could possibly mean. This is quite honestly, an amazing book that moves the reader emotionally as we connect with our past and encourages us to reflect on the futility of war. The last page brought many of us to tears. It is a book to share and a book to treasure no matter the subject. Just brilliant!