Fireflies: A Writer’s Notebook by Coleen Murtagh Paratore (Little Pickle Press, July 2014) is a delightful full-color journal for the aspiring writer.
Filled with writing prompts and ideas, Fireflies is compared to a jar full of fireflies for you to watch for “sparks.” I loved this analogy. Although I am primarily a nonfiction writer (i.e., educational materials and summaries, book reviews, personal essays about my homeschooling experience, and so forth), I too find that brainstorming ideas helps “spark” even more ideas.
Fireflies gives writing prompts on about half of the page. The other pages are a combination of both lined and unlined pages for writing ideas down. I love how there was a variety of different pages to choose from for writing ideas. It is helpful to have writing prompts, but it is the open space and the gorgeous layout that makes this a book that creative writers will love to doodle in!
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book for review consideration.
Beautiful illustrations tell the story of a creative flying mouse in Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torbin Kuhlmann (North South books, 2013). When new mouse traps and an abundance of cats overrun the city where a clever (unnamed) mouse is living, he decides he must go to America for freedom. His creativity and insight help him build himself a plane, and he flies to New York.
This longer-than-normal picture book is a masterpiece of art. Gorgeous realistic paintings show the mouse in various stages of the story: reading a book, avoiding the mouse traps, drawing and creating airplanes, avoiding bats and owls, and flying through the sky into New York, where he is greeted as a hero. I loved the paintings, and although the story itself was cute, it was the paintings that made this book a delight for me. (more…)
In The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins, 2012), a mall circus gorilla, Ivan, comes to view his life in captivity differently when a baby elephant, recently kidnapped from her home in Africa, joins the mall circus. With a poignant and distinct voice, The One and Only Ivan was a book that touched me deeply, and I cried with Ivan as I longed for a happy ending! Ivan is about friendship, hope, and forgiveness. In so many ways, Ivan is well deserving of its 2013 Newbery Award.
Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson (Simon and Schuster, 2003) is a fantastic portrait of a complex man. I have always loved Ben Franklin (ever since I read Ben and Me by Robert Lawlor as a child). Reading Isaacson’s biography helped me to see why I liked it him so much: he was, in general, a likeable man.
This week’s Cybils batch includes some fantastic books. I’ve decided to focus on some that are (more or less) based on the concepts of Friends and Telling Stories. These are common themes for picture books, and these books I list below are some fantastic examples. (more…)