Wednesday, February 10, 2010

11th February Jane Yolen (1939) Mo Willems (1968)

Years ago when I was a new teacher I came upon the picture book, Greyling by Jane Yolen. It was the story of a selchie, an element of folktales that I knew nothing about. I loved the writing, the concept and the book. I was besotted with Jane Yolen and went in search of more. Unfortunately this book is now out of print, but there are still a myriad of her titles that aren't. Her book Owl Moon won the Caldecott Medal for John Schoenherr and even though I have never lived with snow or owls when I read it to children we can all 'feel' what it is like to be there.

Recently I bought Yolen's story The Seeing Stick for the library. It is newly illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini. Daniela's pictures are magical. They are done on glossy paper, which in places is almost translucent. The pages are textured and beg to be touched. The angle that the viewer is positioned at in the beautiful double-page spreads makes for an involvement that renders you transfixed. The text is small and feels secondary to the illustrations but this is part of the metaphor as the main character Hwei Ming, the Emperor's daughter is blind. As her world is transformed the pictures lighten and her world shows promise. Terrazzini’s magical gift here, will now send me in search of other works illustrated by her.

Jane Yolen's website is a fountain of information. See

Now to the younger person's birthday. So much has been written about Mo Willems, the author/ illustrator of all the Pigeon books, Knuffle Bunny and Gerald and Piggie books. His books are such hits with children that as a librarian I need to do little more than put them on display. I certainly do not need to sell them. I have boys lying on the floor finding 'pigeon' in the non-pigeon titles and then when they find him rushing off to advertise to everyone else in the library that they have found him. Far more exciting than finding Wally! We have the accompanying toys and they always arrive back at the library needing to be washed because they have been so loved and have been included in every activity. Rather than say more here, if you haven't had the pleasure of Mo's books check out his website:

1 comment:

  1. The seeing stick is a book I've read lots of good things about but haven't been able to get hold of a copy via our library. I shall put it on my wish list now!