Saturday, April 3, 2010

4th April Maya Angelou (1928) Phoebe Gilman (1940 - 2002) Helme Heine (1941)

Maya Angelou is a revered American author, but she has not written many children's books. The one that is in our library though is not to be missed. It is My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me. It is the story of Thandi, a South African girl, her mischievous brother and her pet chicken. The pictures are beautiful and they highlight the amazing mural art that is produced by the women of Thandi's tribe. Of course, it is borrowed more often than not by parents rather than children, but it allows for much discussion with children about how their lives differ from Thandi's.

Phoebe Gilman, is also American but she lived most of her adult life in Canada before her early death in 2002. She is best known by children because of her series of books about Jillian Jiggs. As the author/illustrator of these books they are extremely consistent. They can be relied upon to have great rhythm and rhyme, mischief and fun.

And thirdly, Helme Heine is a German author/illustrator. He would be best known to English reading children for Friends, a story about a rooster, a mouse and a pig who are best friends, but given that it is Easter and we are thinking eggs, I want to mention my favourite of his books, The Most Wonderful Egg in the World. It is probably out of print so you will need to find it in a library. Our copy is old and tattered, but the story is very fitting for the competitive children that I teach who are always into comparison. Three hens argue about who is the most beautiful and they are given the task of laying the best egg. This story is silly and message-laden all at once!

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