Saturday, July 3, 2010

5th July John Schoenherr (1935 - 2010) Lynley Dodd (1941) Jill Murphy (1949)

American, John Schoenherr is the illustrator of Jane Yolen's Caldecott Medal winning book Owl Moon. These illustrations make children who have never experienced snow, especially at night, 'feel' the snow and experience the awe of it. In the same way his illustrations in Bear make the reader feel that they really know bears. He captures nature perfectly. I hadn't realised, but when reading up on Jean Craighead George I learned that Schoenherr was the illustrator for her Newbery Award winning novel, Julie of the Wolves, another book about the natural environment, so the perfect choice. I was sad to read that he died in April and that there will be no more beautifully illustrated John Schoenherr books. The good news though is that his son Ian Schoenherr is also a children's book illustrator.

New Zealander, Lynley Dodd needs no introduction. Her career started with Eve Sutton's My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes and continued with the run-away success of Hairy Maclary From Donaldson's Dairy. There isn't a three year old anywhere who doesn't love this little black dog and his canine and feline mates. In the library we had the 20th anniversary edition of Hairy Maclary that woofed. I was ever so pleased when the battery ran out. It was so popular! The children loved to borrow it together with the Hairy Maclary toy.

And lastly, British author /illustrator Jill Murphy, who also needs no introduction because of the success of her series of books about the family of elephants, the Larges, and her series of novels about Mildred who is attending the Cackle Academy, a boarding school for witches, which begins with The Worst Witch. I have just finished an author study with Kindergarten where we looked closely at Jill Murphy's picture books. She captures family dynamics brilliantly and she always depicts mothers that you have to empathise with even if the children don't. And, isn't the perfect read-aloud book one that you enjoy as much as the children do! Every mother should read Five Minutes Peace and The Last Noo-noo.

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