Monday, February 28, 2011

28th February Robin Klein (1936) Donna Jo Napoli (1948) Megan McDonald (1959) Tooth Fairy Day

I wrote about Tooth Fairy Day yesterday and Megan McDonald last year so today I want to focus on the other two birthday girls.

Robin Klein is an Australian author who has not written any new books in recent years, but many of her books are favourites and are constantly reimaged and reissued. She has some picture books and bridging novels such as Thing and Thingnapped spinoffs that are illustrated in colour by Alison Lester. I always enjoy sharing Thing with classes. Thing is a baby stegosaurus that hatches from a rock that Emily finds and takes home. Every child can relate to Emily and secretly wish that they had a dinosaur as a pet. Most of her more popular books are novels for upper primary and adolescents.

This week when I went to the bookshop I picked up a book with stunning illustrations. It was Mama Miti: Wangari Maathi and the Trees of Kenya written by American author Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. It is the first picture book by either of these artists that I have purchased for the library. Subconsciously I must have known that it was Donna Jo's birthday this week. The book is about Wangari Muta Maathi, a Kenyan woman who helped bring trees back to her deforested country. Napoli adopts a very lyrical text to tell the story of this remarkable woman whose vision has not only impacted on her own country, but on the whole world. This is not the first picture book to be written about this amazing woman, but it is certainly worth adding to the others and everyone must surely feel the need to touch the shiny illustrations that beg to be viewed.


  1. I too love sharing Thing and the sequel Thingnapped with my classes. The characters are fantastic and there are so many written activities you can springboard into. Does anyone know if Robin Klein wrote any other books about Thing?

  2. There are four small books about Thing which have coloured illustrations by Robin Klein: Thing Finds a Job; Thing's Concert; Thing's Birthday; and Thingitis. She wrote them in 1996 so they may be out of print, but libraries will have them. Mine does!