A delightful and interactive step into the world of creating engaging picture books for children.

ANY QUESTIONS?

Gay introduces young readers to her craft as an author and illustrator of children’s books, simultaneously inviting their participation in creating the story.

In a spread at the beginning, the author is addressed by a heaving crowd of young fans, asking her questions in their own authentic voices: “Do you have a pet rabbit? I do” and “Can you write a story about me?” The author then takes some of these inquisitive young characters through her process, using both the illustrations and the narrative to demonstrate how a picture book comes to life. The process isn’t always easy. She experiments with many doodles and words. A number of ideas are tried and discarded, until the right setting and the characters finally reveal themselves; in this case, it’s a shy giant who lives in the forest. A metastoryline emerges, with the author asking the children she is still addressing to help her further develop the giant’s tale. The ideas blend together sweetly, with the children eventually finding themselves inside the story. The whimsical mixed-media illustrations invite exploration, and they include what appear to be handwritten, even cursive passages. The exceptional use of negative space allows readers to truly experience a story appearing in front of their eyes.

A delightful and interactive step into the world of creating engaging picture books for children. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55498-382-7

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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