Tuesday, March 2, 2010

5th March Errol Le Cain (1941 - 1989) Mem Fox (1946) Jack Bedson (1950)

Three birthdays! Errol Le Cain I have mentioned before for his fairytale illustrations. They are very special. Unfortunately his books are very hard to find now. You can't buy them new and library copies are often in very poor condition. Such a shame. They need reprinting as they bring a wonderful richness to fairytales that no Disney or Brimax edition will ever be able to do. I'd love to have a copy of Molly Whuppie for use during Book Week. It has a 'bridge' in it! To learn more about Le Cain and see his exquisite artwork see Tania Covo's very informative website about him www.errollecain.com .

Jack Bedson is hardly famous, but two of his books, Don't Get Burnt! and Sheep Dogs are iconic Australian picture books and well worth a look. They too are probably out of print.

Mem Fox's books aren't out of print. They are so popular. A Year 2 girl who is a very good reader and who can read nearly anything in the library said to me just this week, "Green Sheep is still my favourite book. I've loved it since I was three! And now I read it to my little brother."

Another favourite with especially Year 2 is Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. They do a unit of enquiry where they look at the past and where they interview their parents and grandparents and write their autobiography. This book elicits discussion about memories in a very warm way. My favourite book is Hattie and the Fox. It is so easy to read exuberantly! Not as exuberantly though as Mem reads herself. She is the epitome of reading aloud and storytelling.

Other wonderful things about Mem, besides her books are her storytelling and what she has to say to teachers and parents. Whenever I want to be reminded about why I believe a particular thing or if I am struggling to convince parents as to why something is a good idea I visit Mem's website and reread her articles. I especially like the one on the Folly of Phonics which she gave to principals in NZ because it reminds me about why I believe so strongly in children's literature and tradebooks rather than reading schemes and isolated skills.

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