Friday, February 27, 2015

Imani's Moon: PB #14 for 14:14 Review

Title: Imani's Moon
Author: JaNay Brown-Wood
Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Year: 2014
Word Count: about 800


Little Imani is the smallest one in her village. The other children make fun of her and tell her she’s too tiny, that she’s an ant, that a meerkat might stomp her, and that she’ll never amount to anything. Imani begins to believe them.
At bedtime, Imani’s mama tells her stories of the Maasai mythologies: about Olapa, the moon goddess and about Anansi the spider. They accomplished what would seem impossible. Imani’s mama tells her that she is the one who needs to believe if she wants to achieve great things. So, Imani sets out to touch the moon.

Story Element: Character & Dialogue

Imani is a little girl who dreams big, thanks to Mama's stories.

"Do you think I could do something great like Olapa?" asked Imani.
"I do," answered Mama.
"Even something like touching the moon?"
"Even that," said Mama.

Little Imani tries to climb a tree to the moon. 

Little Imani tries to fly to the moon. 

Little Imani tries to jump to the moon. She doesn't listen to the negative children in her village. She jumps all day, higher and higher.

As the sky grew darker, Bundi the owl flew by. "What are you-hoo doing?" he asked.
"I am going to touch the moon," Imani answered.
"Don't fool yourself. You-hoo won't make it!" hooted Bundi. 
But Imani jumped on.

In the night sky, Little Imani lands on the face of the moon. She is welcomed by Olapa and given a moon rock.

Then Imani jumps once more and floats back to earth. She finds Mama.

"Can I tell you a story tonight?" she asked.
"Which one?" asked Mama.
"It is The Tale of the Girl Who Touched the Moon."
Mama listened as Imani told her story.
"Where did you hear such a tale?" asked Mama.
Imani opened her hands and revealed the glowing moon rock, so small and beautiful.
"It is my story, Mama," said Imani. "I am the girl who touched the moon and was welcomed by Olapa. I am the one who believed."

(Post #14 for the 14:14 Picture Book Blog Review Challenge created by Christie Wild of Write Wild.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Blizzard: PB #13 for 14:14 Review

Title: Blizzard
Author / Illustrator: John Rocco
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Year: 2014
Word Count:

One winter day it started to snow,
and it did not 
At first it was fun, 
But four days later, 
the snowplows still hadn’t come, 
cabin fever was setting in, 
and rations were running low. 
Someone had to take action. 
Will one intrepid boy be able to triumph over a fearsome BLIZZARD? 

Story Element: Conflict

On Monday, February 6, 1978, the snow started to fall. 
The wind whipped up, and school closed early. "Yay!"
By the time my sister and I got home, the snow was already over our boots.

The snow continued to fall through the night,
and I thought it would never stop.
The next morning the snowdrifts were so high, 
we couldn't open our front door.
So we went out the window instead.

Everyone except the boy sank in the frozen powder. The third day, Dad shoveled the driveway. 
But by the four day, no plows. That's a conflict!

Inside, things got tense as our food started to run out. 
I knew we couldn't survive much longer on cocoa made with water.

On day five, I realized it was up to me to take action. I was the only one who had memorized the survival guide.

On Saturday, the boy tied tennis rackets under his shoes, sharpened the blades on his sled and wrote a grocery list. 

The boy stopped at his neighbors to ask what they needed as he weaved his way to the store. Then he raced the groceries back on his sled to his neighbors. 

Grateful smiles and cheers gave me the energy I needed to make it back home.

In 1978, my family was hit by this storm system in New Jersey. I remember tunneling out our front door and building igloos. We trudged through the unplowed roads to trade food with neighbors. 

(Post #13 for the 14:14 Picture Book Blog Review Challenge created by Christie Wild of Write Wild.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin: PB #12 for 14:14

Title: Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
Author: Chieri Uegaki
Illustrator: Qin Leng
Publisher:  Kids Can Press
Year: 2014
Word Count: 987


Hana has signed up to play the violin at the talent show, even though she’s only had three lessons. Her brothers predict disaster. But Hana practices and practices, inspired by her grandfather, or Ojiichan, who played the violin every day when she visited him in Japan. As Hana takes the stage, doubt is all she can hear, until she recalls her grandfather’s words of encouragement, and shows the audience how beautiful music can take many forms.

Story Element: Plot

Spread 1: (The main character and conflict are introduced.)
Hana tells her brothers that she signed up to play the violin at the talent show.
"That's just loopy," said Kenji. "You're still a beginner."
"Stop kidding," said Koji. "You can barely play a note."

Spread 2: (Inner conflict)
Hana leaves her brothers in the front yard and walks toward their house. She thinks about her three lessons. And about her grandfather who once played for the Imperial Family in Kyoto.

Spread 3 - 6: (Flashback)
Hana remembers visiting Ojichan, her grandfather, in Japan last summer. He played the violin every morning and evening.
Ojichan didn't just play songs. He could also make his violin chirp like the crickets . . ."

Spread 7: (Hana's plan)
Hana practices every day, just like Ojichan.
She practices in front of her parents, her dog, and a picture of grandfather. 

Spread 8: (Inner conflict)
The day of the talent show - 
Backstage, Hana waited with a walloping heart.

Spread 9: (Hana doubts herself)
Hana timidly walks on stage. Her brothers mocking voices spoke of disaster in her head. She wants to run or hide.

Spread 10: (Rising fear)
Hana stares into the cheering audience.
See could see her bothers, melting into their seats.
And there, her smiling mother, and her father, camera in hand.

Spread 11: (Building to Climax)
Hana focuses on the memory of her grandfather.
With a whoosh, the roaring in her ears receded. Then, as everyone seemed to disappear beyond the light shining down on her like a moonbeam, she remembered. 
"Gambarunoyo, Hana-chan." Do your best, her grandfather had told her. Ojichan would be cheering for her.

Spread 12: (Climax)
Hana plays the sounds of a mother crow calling her chicks, the neighbor's cat at night, and rain on a paper umbrella.

Spread 13: (Climax)
Hana plays the sounds of a lowing cows, squeaking mice, croaking frogs and more.
Finally, as the last sound effect trailed away, Hana tucked her bow and violin under her arm. "And that," she said to the audience, "is how I play the violin."
Then she took a great big bow.

Spread 14: (Ending)
Hana plays her violin in her bedroom and dreams of becoming more like her grandfather.

(Post #12 for the 14:14 Picture Book Blog Review Challenge created by Christie Wild of Write Wild.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures: PB #11 for 14:14 Review

Title: Julia’s House for Lost Creatures
Author  / Illustrator: 
Ben Hatke
Roaring Books Press
Year: 2014
Word Count: 362

Julia, a resourceful redhead, lives in a rundown Victorian house that rest atop a giant tortoise. Once her house settles by the sea, Julia isn’t content to sit alone in a quiet house. So she opens a “House for Lost Creatures.” Beasts quickly arrive, including a patchwork kitty, a melancholy mermaid, and a variety of monsters. But Julia realizes that each creature must have a chore in order for everyone to live peacefully together.

Story Element: Pacing

Spread 1: (Introduction)
Julia's house plops down. She gets to work heaving her mailbox into the ground. And waits.
Julia's house came to town and settled by the sea.

Spread 2:
Pace is effected by sentence length and the word and
This changes to mood from peaceful to lonely. 
That evening there was a warm fire and toast and tea.
And all the house was quiet.
Too quiet.

Spread 3:
Pace changes with her plan of action.
So Julia ran to her workshop.
She got out her tools and her paints and went to work. She made a sign.

Spread 4:
Her plan works!
She hung the sign up outside the front door. 
It said: Julia's House for Lost Creatures
And then she waited. 
She didn't have to wait for long.

In the next 3 spreads, creatures show up at her door. 
First just an odd looking cat, and then a line of creatures.
The growing number of guests causes increasing alarm.


In a later Spreads:
Julia is overwhelmed by her dirty guests. The pace turns frantic.
Soon Julia's house was filling up 
with lost and homeless creatures
of every description.
They asked for towels and soap,
tea and toast.

They had ideas of their own.
They spilled things and 
they didn't clean up.
the troll found Julia's old record player.

"STOP!" shouted Julia.

Then Julia locks herself in her workshop. 
After a long time, she comes out with a new plan. 
She had created a Chore Chart for all to follow.
It works!

A mix of panel sequences, spot illustrations, and full-bleed spreads also push the action forward. 

(Post #11 for the 14:14 Picture Book Blog Review Challenge created by Christie Wild of Write Wild.

Monday, February 23, 2015

George in the Dark: PB #10 for 14:14 Review

Title: George in the Dark
Madeline Valentine
Alfred A. Knopf
Year: 2013
Word Count: 207

By day, George is a brave boy. He’ll climb the tallest tree, leap over fences, and stand up for his friends, without fear. But when the sun goes down, it’s only a matter of time before his parents say good night, leaving him in the dark. 
In the dark, George’s room fills with terrifying sights. The only thing to do is to hide under the covers with his bear. But wait! On this night, Bear is not in his bed. Where is it? It’s across the room, in the darkest, scariest corner...

Story Element: Themes – Bravery and Fear

Spread 1: (Introduction)
George leaps over a barking dog.
George was a brave kid.

Spread 2:
George swings really high, stands up to a bully and eats a worm.
In fact, he was braver than most.

Spread 3:
George cringes as he enters his dark bedroom.
But bedtime was a different story.

Several spreads show George’s parents trying to enforce bedtime.
Then George is alone in his dark, spooky room. But where is bear?

Spread 10:
George finally spots his bear.
Then he saw it. In the scariest and darkest place.
All alone.
George wanted to scream. He wanted to call out for his mom and dad.
“Poor Bear!” said George.

Spread 11:
George tries to rescue bear without leaving his bed.
He tried to get his bear back the easy way. But it was no use.
He would have to go rescue it.

Spread 12:
George creeps out of bed.
“I will be brave,” said George.

In the end, George bravely rescues his bear and overcomes his fear of the dark. The illustrations perfectly show the themes of bravery and fear. However the text reads like an easy reader.

(Post #10 for the 14:14 Picture Book Blog Review Challenge created by Christie Wild of Write Wild. )