Showing posts with label Alfred A. Knopf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alfred A. Knopf. Show all posts

Friday, October 12, 2012

BOY + BOT by Ame Dyckman Book Review - Make Your own LEGO Bot Character

I've traipsed through many a wood and have collected my share of pinecones, but never, never on any of my adventures have I come across a friendly, mechanized, working robot.  I must be walking through the wrong kind of woods, because in Ame Dyckman's picture book world this scenario is entirely possible.

Simply and perfectly told with bold, eye-pleasing illustrations by robot-lover Dan Yaccarino, BOY + BOT is quite possibly the best robot picture book we've ever read (and believe me, we've read several).  The story-line goes like this: Boy walks through the woods.  Boy meets a big, red robot.  Boy and robot problem-solve. Robot and boy become BFF.  Now obviously there's more to it than that, like for instance both boy and bot have similar "misunderstood malfunctions" and need fixing, but to say any more would spoil the fun.  Read the robot parts aloud in your best robot voice. Remark on all the fun things the robot and boy do together like swimming, apple-picking and rock-skipping.  And remember, little boys do not need oiling, and never, ever feed your robot applesauce.

This book deservedly received starred review from Kirkus, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly. Take our word for it (and theirs), if you have a young, robot-loving child, BOY + BOT is for them and worth purchasing.

Fun fact: If you look closely at the illustrations in BOY + BOT you'll discover one of Yaccarino's creative additions to the story -- a light-bulb shaped, one-eyed robot that Ame Dyckman calls "Watt."  Not surprisingly, illustrator Dan Yaccarino has a self-described "slight penchant for robots."  He is also the author/illustrator of another robot picture book, If I Had a Robot, a story about a boy who dreams about all the things he could or wouldn't have to do if he had a robot.  His robot illustrations have a retro, vintage look reminiscent of those tin wind-up robot toys from the past. 

Related links: 
Ame Dyckman - Author Website 
Dan Yaccarino - Illustrator Website
BOY + BOT by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino.  Alfred A. Knopf / Random House (April 2012); ISBN 9780375867569; 32 pages
Book Source: copy from our personal library

Sadly we have not discovered our own robot friend in the woods, so my son and I did the next best thing ... made our own robot out of LEGOs. Our LEGO collection is large and diverse enough to provide ample parts for robot building.   We have eyes, connecting parts to make arms that swing and plenty of multi-sized, red blocks.

My son insisted that our BOT robot have a power switch in the back. Pair the LEGO bot with a boy mini-figure and let the book play-acting begin!  

'"What's wrong?" the boy asked.  The robot did not answer. 
"Are you sick?" the boy asked.  The robot still did not answer.  
"I must help him," the boy said."'

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scribble by Deborah Freedman - Book Review & Spray Bottle Painting Craft

One of the reasons I like to use twitter is because I can connect with such a wide variety of people, follow their random thoughts and discover new ideas and inspiration. Many children's authors and illustrators are active on twitter. To name a few, you can find Mo Willems @The_Pigeon, Carin Berger @CarinBerger, Shannon Hale @haleshannon, and Neil Gaiman @neilhimself.

A while back, I was browsing my twitter feed and noticed a tweet by author/illustrator Deborah Freedman (@DeborahFreedman). This was the tweet:
DeborahFreedman: April showers bring... May showers. And flowers. PB reading suggestions about gardens:
I do love books about gardens so I clicked on over and discovered an amazing image of rain and flowers on her "writes with pictures" blog . I showed it to my daughter and she thought it was beautiful that the cloud was raining stars. I knew she'd enjoy trying to recreate the picture, so in between the rain showers this week we made some spray artwork outside for our stART (story + art) project.

❖❖❖❖❖❖ stART Craft - Spray Bottle Art ❖❖❖❖❖❖

To make the spray paint, I mixed a little water and food coloring together and put it in a spray bottle. We hung a piece of paper on a low clothesline. My daughter squirted her picture with the paint, first using blue for the rain and clouds. Then she turned her paper upside down and added green spray for the grass and flower stems. She hasn't decided yet if she wants to add stars to the painting or flowers, so it's just stems and rain right now. We tried spray painting on a variety of different paper types and found the watercolor paper worked the best and allowed for more vibrant colors. This was a fun activity on a hot summer-like day and later on we even used the clothesline for another purpose -- a tent!

Scribble by Deborah Freedman. Alfred A. Knopf (May 2007); ISBN 9780375839665; 40 pages
(Book Source: Copy from our local library)
While our painting is all blues and greens, Freedman's book Scribble is all pinks and yellows. If not for her twitter post, we might never have checked out this imaginative book from the library and that would have been a complete shame. Scribble is the perfect summertime book because it encompasses all that summer should -- big imaginations, adventures and a mass of creativity. Plus, in a sly way it addresses the sibling rivalry that tends to pick up once school ends and siblings spend more time together.

In the book, two sisters, Emma and Lucie, draw separate pictures while seated across the table from one another and their little white pet kitty watches. Emma boasts about her own pink perfect princess picture and criticizes Lucie's yellow kitty picture, calling it a scribble. Lucie loses her temper and scribbles all over the princess picture. As Emma runs off to tattle, Lucie's picture takes on a life of its own. Scribble the cat takes off and jumps from the yellow page to the pink princess picture. Lucie and the white kitty follow Scribble into the Giant Thicket she scribbled all over her sister's paper. The valiant Scribble the cat decides to try to rescue the beautiful princess and pulls at the tangle of scribbles. Lucie watches on, refusing to give him a hand, but later on changes her mind. Even though Lucie originally tangles with her sister, she eventually does try to make things right, along with the help of her yellow Scribble kitty and white pet kitty.

My artistic little daughter dearly loves this book and wishes she could jump into one of her pictures and follow one of her drawings on an adventure, especially if the adventure involves princesses and happily ever afters! The style of the book is unusual. It starts out almost like a comic book and then the illustrations change to bold yellow and pink backgrounds as Lucie follows Scribble into the drawings. Freedman has a fairly impressive website that includes some fun downloadable pdfs for kids...they can create their own additions to the Scribble and Princess Aurora story. (Plus, there are some great booklists: Books about Art and Imagination and Books about Siblings!)

A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Hope Is the Word hosts a Read Aloud Thursday link-up as well.

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)