Category Archives: Favorite Illustrators

Eric Carle Week: Day 5 (Your Turn)

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Well friends, the problem with having “Eric Carle” week is that he has published just a few more titles than 5.  So, it’s your turn.  Please add a comment and let us know of another Eric Carle book that has not been mentioned.  Tell us what you or your children like about it.  Thanks for sharing!

Eric Carle Week: Day 4

Eric Carle’s stuff is just SO fabulous for the small ones.  I’ve mentioned before that his illustrations are very appealing to young children.  Also, his use of repitition is extremely valuable to an emergent reader.  Today’s book has both of those qualities and is also a great example of the way he teaches simple concepts through stories.  It is called The Very Busy Spider and is about–well–a very busy spider.  She hangs out in the corner of the barn spinning her web.  As each of the barnyard animals ask the spider to do something else, she doesn’t answer–as she is too busy spinning her web. 

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Each page goes something like this: “‘Oink! Oink!’ grunted the pig.  ‘Want to roll in the mud?’  The spider didn’t answer.  She was very busy spinning her web.”  Simple as that.  But think of everything we’ve learned from that simple exchange.  We’ve been introduced to a picture of a new animal and know what the animal is called.  We know what kind of sounds the animal makes and a characteristic or behavior of the animal.  Pretty great, huh?

In the end the spider finishes her web and we learn a characteristic of spiders– “And the spider caught the fly in her web…just like that!”  And now we know what spiders look like and what spiders do.  Just like that! 

Eric Carle Week: Day 3

Here’s one that I just read for the first time:

  “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” Said the Sloth

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First of all, I love how Eric Carle’s illustrations are so him.  You could recognize his stuff from a mile away.  And while it is beautiful, and NOT easy artwork, it is something that children can imitate, which is one thing that makes him so popular with the little ones.  This particular story is about a sloth who hangs out in his tree day and night.  The other animals passing by mock him and ask him why he is so lazy.  He doesn’t answer for a while.  And then, he announces that while he may be slow and even lackadaisical (and a whole slough of other perfect adjectives that Carle uses), he is not lazy. 

There are several “teaching moments” in this story.  There’s the alliteration moment.  The “what on earth is a sloth?” moment.  The many new vocabulary words moment.  The “how should we treat those who are different than us?” moment.  The “let’s make some watercolor pictures of our own” moment.  Read it with your child and take those moments.  You will both love it!

Eric Carle Week: Day 2

The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Everyone knows it.  Everyone loves it.  All I have to say is that if you don’t have this book in your personal children’s library, you should.  It’s a must!  And it’s as low as $1.29 on Amazon.  So there you go!

A Gift Book for the Mister

Although I have no idea when I’ll be back in a classroom as Mrs. Cropper, I’ve decided to keep up on my teaching license rather than let it lapse.  That means attending workshops and such, which is SUCH a treat.  I spent the last 2 days in an incredible children’s literature class at our local library.  Our instructor is the director of the library here and besides having decades of experience with children’s literature, he has a passion for it.  He also served on the Caldecott committee in 2000, which is big.  (Note: I’ll have to do a post describing the process these committees go through to choose Caldecott and Newberry winners.  It’s fascinating.)  Anyway, you can bet that after a whole weekend of this, Mrs. Cropper is feeling rejuvenated and more excited than ever to share her findings.  One thing I decided during class yesterday is that we need to have theme weeks on this here blog.  So, without furthur ado, I give you…

ERIC CARLE WEEK

Today’s Eric Carle book is quite timely.  In fact, you have exactly one week to rush out and buy it because I think it makes a most tender gift for the father figures in your life.  The book is entitled Mister Seahorse.

Yes, it is all about seahorses, fishies, and other under water creatures.  And, of course, it is rich with Carle’s watercolor and collage illustrations.  He also uses super neat plastic overlays to show the way these creatures camouflage themselves down there in the depths.  All of that aside, however, this book is about daddies.  And it is sweet and delightful.  Here is what Mr. Carle says about Mister Seahorse:

“Dear Friends, In most fish families, after the mother has laid the eggs and the father has fertilized them, the eggs are left on their own.  But there are exceptions such as the seahorse, stickleback, tilapia, Kurtus nurseryfish, pipefish, bullhead catfish, and some others.  Not only are the eggs cared for by a parent but–surprise–that parent is the father.  And this is my story about them.  I  hope you enjoy my story.”

Mrs. Cropper hopes you enjoy it, too!  Come back tomorrow for more Eric Carle…

Pop-Up Magic

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Are you familiar with Robert Sabuda?  If not, get excited.  And even if you are, I bet you’ll learn at least one new thing about him today…

Robert Sabuda is the man!  He creates pop-up books which–in my opinion–are totally unrivaled as the best pop-up books available.  Today I’ll share:  #1) Some cool tidbits about Robert Sabuda himself, #2) Some of his greatest titles and what I think you should do with them and #3) How you and/or your child(ren) can become pop-up artists, too! 

FIRST:  It was rather a fluke how Robert got into making pop-ups.  As a child, his mother took him to the dentist.  Having had previous terrifying experiences at a dentist’s office, Robert was very nervous as he sat in the waiting room.  His mother picked up a book out of a basket near their seats and Robert discovered that it was a pop-up book.  He says of the experience, “I was so excited I forgot all about the dentist!”  Ever since then he loved making his own pop-ups.  His mother worked in an office and would bring him home manila filing folders which he says were perfect for making pop-ups.  And that’s how it happened!  After studying art at the Pratt Institute in New York City and working as a children’s book illustrator for a time, he began creating the pop-up books that have since made him famous.

SECOND:  You will not be disappointed by any of Sabuda’s work.  I promise.  Here are my two favorites: Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs: The Definitive Pop-Up (A-MAZ-ING!  We’re talking cooler special effects than Jurassic Park!) and America The Beautiful: A Pop-Up Book (gorgeous, awe-inspiring).    Here are two that I am excited to read: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-Up and The Chronicles of Narnia Pop-Up: Based on the Books by C. S. Lewis (I think you should read them, too, and let me know what you think!)  Here’s what I think you should do with these books (besides reading them!).  I think these books should be considered a special treat.  They are fairly expensive ($20-30) and obviously a bit fragile.  So I think we should teach our children to treat them like a newborn baby or our Grandmother’s china.  All books need to be treated with respect, and these ones are particularly deserving.  In my classroom library I had a “special collections” section that contained all of my pop-ups and other fragile texts.  My second-graders knew they had to ask permission to look at them and that they had to wash their hands first.  It was so delightful to watch them gingerly turn the pages and marvel wide-eyed at the amazing, special books.  I think we should all have a “special collections” section in our home libraries.  Then it can be a parent-child-togetherness experience to read such fun books as these by Robert Sabuda. 

THIRD:  You can be a pop-up prince or diva just like Robert Sabuda!  And so can your children.  On his fabulous website, robertsabuda.com, Robert gives oodles of instructions and shares templates so you can make your very own pop-ups.  They vary in difficulty and make awesome greeting cards!  (My second-graders made the ones with Christmas trees quite easily, and had a ball!)  So check that out and wax creative the next time you need a card instead of giving $4.25 to Hallmark or American Greetings.

Oh, I hope you love Robert Sabuda as much as I do!  ENJOY! 

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p.s. Come ON!  How incredible is that?!