Tag Archives: Art

The Reading Pros are poets, and they know it!

April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, The Reading Pros met today to discuss Love that Dog by Sharon Creech.  This book is a verse novel about a boy named Jack who thinks poetry is for girls.  He ends up writing a lot of poems about his dog, Skye and learns about different poets and styles of poetry in the process.  This is the first time that we have discussed a verse novel, and it was a big hit!  Thanks to Martha for the book recommendation 🙂

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In addition to talking about the book, we also tried some different styles of poetry.  Many of the group members were already familiar with haikus, acrostics, and limericks.  One girl mentioned Cinquain poems, which I had never heard of before.  Everyone chose a style they were comfortable with and got to work.  Here’s an example of a shape poem:

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We found that these are fun to write, but repetitive to read out loud!  We also made some magnetic poetry by choosing some words from a magazine and gluing them to cardstock.  We attached magnets to the back and voila!  DIY magnetic poetry.

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How are you planning to celebrate National Poetry Month?

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YA Graphic Novel Review: To Dance

To Dance:  a ballerina’s graphic novel by Siena Cherson Siegel with artwork by Mark Siegel

To Dance tells the story of a young girl named Siena, who sees any wide, open space as an invitation to dance.  Her family is very supportive of her and enrolls her in dance classes.  As she gets older, she takes classes in Boston and later in NYC.

I’m guessing that Siena grew up during the late 70s and early 80s because she references her Walkman as the newest music player on the market.  She also writes about dancing with ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov and also getting the opportunity to see him (and many other ballet stars) perform.

Any young, aspiring ballerina will find inspiration in this story.  Siegel writes about how dance became a refuge for her when her parents were going through divorce and she beautifully describes the process of training tirelessly for one shining moment of glory on stage.

The writing style is casual in a way that makes the reader feel like he/she is listening to Siegel tell stories from her amazing life over a cup of tea.  The elegant, simple illustrations complement the text nicely.

Recommendation:  4 out of 5 lupines

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Wow…book art to the extreme!

For more information about this artist and to see other pictures of her work, please check out this article.

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Book Review: Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found

Sophie Blackall illustrates a selection of missed connections from Craigslist in Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found. For all of the hopeless romantics out there, this book is for you!

For those of you not familiar with the website, Missed Connections is a forum where people can post the details of a meeting that almost happened, but for some reason, did not. Many people who post on Missed Connections are convinced that the person they seek (be it a one time encounter or a daily meeting on the subway) is their soul mate. They are reaching out on the internet in hopes that they can right this wrong and meet the loves of their lives.

For those of you not familiar with Sophie Blackall, she is a prolific children’s book illustrator. I became aware of her work through osmosis after weeks and weeks of shelving her books. She has also illustrated book covers, including When You Reach Me, one of my favorite juvenile books from the last couple of years. When I looked at her illustrations, and always had this thought in the back of my mind: “these are so wonderful, and quirky. I bet she’s a wonderful, quirky person.”

I was delighted to find that my suspicions about the illustrator were correct. Reading the introduction to this book gives a lot of insight into her character: “I pick up anything handwritten and crumpled. I eavesdrop shamelessly on buses. I’m a gleaner, always on the lookout for material.” Blackall explains her introduction to the concept of Missed Connections, and explains that the phenomenon is not a new one even if the website is a recent invention.

The book is a delight to read. It feels like reading those handwritten, crumpled notes that Blackall is fond of collecting. They are essentially snippets from other people’s lives and although they may not make complete sense to us, the underlying sentiment always shines through. Blackall does an amazing job with the illustrations, managing to show a sweet side to the posts that may seem a bit creepy at first glance.

To top it all off, a few of the scenarios take place in a library. It makes me wonder how many of our patrons experience a missed connection while browsing the stacks.

Recommendation: 5 out of 5 lupines.

Have you ever had a missed connection? Feel free to share about it in the comments!

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