Wednesday, March 24, 2010

25th March Kate DiCamillo (1964)

Kate DiCamillo is very well known because of her wonderful book, The Tale of Despereaux, which has since been made into a movie. I haven't seen the movie, but I love the book and so do the second class children I teach. The sales blurbs say that it is a book for 9 to 12 year olds, but as a serial it is accessible to younger children. I love the characters names. I was in high school doing art when I was first introduced to the Italian word 'chiaroscuro' and the teacher told us about juxtaposition of light and dark. I remember thinking it was a great word and it certainly is a great starting point forthe character, Roscuro who is a rat. Originally I thought 'despereaux' was French for 'desperate' and I thought that too was a wonderful name for the mouse character. I know now it is not a real word, but it is still appropriate and Pea for the princess also creates plenty of things to discuss.
DiCamillo names always resonate. Timothy Basil Ering has used chiaroscuro drawings to create stunning illustrations that befit the 'feel' of the story.

More recently one of the American expat teachers at school came back from the States with a DiCamillo picture book, Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken. It hasn't proved to be as popular as her novels, but whenever it is on display it is borrowed. It has a very unlikely heroine which is in keeping with what DiCamillo likes to do.

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