Monday, July 09, 2012

Four Books within Books

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Books within books. Stories within stories. Here are four books about the magic of books, the power of story, of imagination.

Andy and the Lion
By James Daugherty
Puffin Books
Ages 3-6

Once in a while, I come across a book that makes me ooh and aah, makes me want to show anyone who will listen (even those who won’t!) the magic the creator has woven with words and drawings.

This Caldecott Honor book is one such - a whimsical tale about the friendship between a boy and a lion. James Daugherty doesn’t just do a retelling of the tale of  Androcles and the Lion, he adds a beautiful twist at the end. That and the illustrations make this book a treat both for the young and the young-at-heart.

It all starts with Andy reading a book about lions. His grandfather tells him tall stories about hunting lions in Africa. That night, Andy dreams that he is in Africa hunting lions. In the morning Andy is still thinking about lions.

The text and pictures perfectly complement each other. I love the fluidity of the illustrations - James Daugherty excels in depicting movement. The book was first published in 1938, and the drawings reflect the times.

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Emma’s Turtle
Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Marsha Winborn
Boyds Mills Press
Ages 3-6

Written by the prolific Eve Bunting, this is a gentle story of an adventurous turtle, whose imagination is triggered by what else? Books!

Emma reads to her turtle about places that are far, far away. She shows him pictures of elephants in Africa, kangaroos in Australia, tigers in India and panda bears in China. All quite amazing to the turtle who hasn’t gone beyond the backyard pen.  He has a good life, but often dreams of the world that is far, far away.  One day he decides to stop dreaming and see the world outside.

Emma’s turtle is now worried, having come so far he doesn’t know if he will be able to find his way home. That is when he hears Emma’s reassuring voice.

Then something Emma says astonishes the turtle. “I bet it took you all day to go from one end of our yard to the other. I hope it was exciting for you.”

One can indeed travel with books!

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The Boy in the Garden
Allen Say
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Ages 4-6

Jiro’s Mama reads the story of a grateful crane - a young woodcutter rescues a crane who turns into a woman and marries him. She weaves and helps him become rich - on the condition that he mustn't peek while she works. Eventually, the young man is overcome with curiosity. The woman turns into a great bird and flies away.

That sets off a chain of events.

When Jiro goes with his father to Mr. Ozu’s house, he sees a crane. Later the same day, he encounters a tall woman. Read the book to find out what follows!

The line between fantasy and reality is blurred in this poignant and dramatic story, in Caldecott winner Allen Say’s inimitable style.

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My Special Day at Third Street School
By Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Suzanne Bloom
Boyds Mill Press
Ages 3-6

Eve Bunting’s happy book is written in playful rhyme.

Third Street School is buzzing with excitement as the students prepare for a visit from author Amanda drake.

“First, of course, we read her books…
Every one we’ve got.
Then we borrow fourteen more.
She’s written quite a lot.”

Makes me wonder – is this book entirely fictional? Eve Bunting has written quite a lot too - more than 250 books!

The children make a million drawings and a list of questions to ask the author. Then the big day arrives.

“There’s something that I’d like to share
Because it’s truly true.
It doesn’t seem like work
If you are loving what you do.”

The narrator then raises his hand and suggests she write a book about her visit to a school.

She does! And guess what the book is called?

We hope you like it just as much.
We hope that it’s a hit.
It’s called My Special Day at Third Street School.
And guess what?


ranjani.sathish said...

Beautiful picks and lovely review Arundhati ! Where do you get such lovely books here in Blore ? Hippocampus ?

Arundhati said...

Thanks Ranjani. We'd read these books while we were in the U.S, borrowed from the library. Wish it were equally easy to access all those delicious books here

Anonymous said...

Extraordinary pictures Arundhati!
Nice blog.

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