Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Non-fiction Picture Books - Good Stories

   Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at her blog, Kidlit Frenzy.   
      Come read to discover everyone's recent non-fiction picture books.
       Tweet - #NFPB15

             Finally had the pleasure of reading a few books I've been waiting for. All interesting, but for different ages.

     I'm going to give the mock Siebert a try, went through Alyson's lists from all year (see Alyson's last week's post), noted the favorites that I've read, and listed those I want to be sure to read. If you have a favorite, let me know!

Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man who Sold the Eiffel Tower - written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
         While the story makes me wonder how Robert Miller, aka Count Viktor Lustig, managed to con so many people, including Al Capone, I imagine that he was charming, and a born liar, although this book does not say that. Pizzoli's illustrations are clever; cut paper, some cut photos, and fingerprints create the pages. One fingerprint is all ever seen of Lustig's face. After all, he didn't want anyone to recognize him most of his life. The only way he was caught was that someone remembered a long scar from left ear to the jawline, given by an angry poker player. What is most known is his huge scam of selling the Eiffel Tower. Bits of history are included in the story, side pieces add additional information, like about the controversy over the "rickety" tower itself, giving Lustig the idea of selling it to scrap dealers. It worked, and he made thousands of dollars. The book is for younger middle grade students, or older ones who are interested in learning the basic information before deeper research. There is a glossary, a copy of Miller's death certificate, and a long list of sources. 



Sea Bones - written and illustrated by Bob Barner
         With deftly created and well-placed cut paper, Bob Barner has created a colorful and informative book for young children who want to know what the bones of sea creatures are like. The pages have simple statements, then show in brief words and illustrations the specific part of sea creatures. For example, he explains about creatures that have backbones and those that do not, then explains what that means, furthering the information with real vocabulary: endoskeleton, exoskeleton, vertebrae, etc. It’s a book for beginning researchers that will be helpful starts to questions about sea creatures. There is a detailed chart in the back concerning identification.

Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box - written and illustrated by David McPhail
         It's a brief tale of the passion of Beatrix Potter, painting, how it began, was nurtured, and how that first sweet book came to be. I've read several biographies of her, but tried to read with new eyes. It would be hard to choose how much information to include, how much to leave behind. For those young children who've loved her work, and for those who love to paint/draw, they will love hearing some of Potter's story. For the painters, they will also love David McPhail's small works of art, a beautiful one illuminating the text on each page. There are a few Peter Rabbits and paint boxes here and there, too!







Brush of the Gods - written by Lenore Look and illustrated by Meilo So
            I've done a little calligraphy, and  seen/read of Chinese works of art, but have never heard of Wu Daozi, known as China's greatest painter. The story begins as he learns calligraphy from monks, stern, following the rules: "grind the ink" just so, "Hold your brush in line with your nose." But when he tried, "straight lines splintered into trees" and "His hooks caught fish." He found he could paint, loved to paint, and began painting on the walls of his town, so fast that he came known as "Flying Sleeves".  Meilo So's illustrations seem to fly over the page, too. There are a myriad of details showing this great artist, but also the culture around him. The story continues as he painted more, he was given money, which pleased the monks. One day, Daozi realized that his work had become so real that it flew off the walls. Only the poor orphans stayed by him, but no one else was willing to give money for blank walls. Years passed, and things improved.  The scales of his "five dragons" painting appeared to move. It was said "He holds the brush of the gods!" He was then honored to be asked to paint a mural for the emperor. This took so many years that he became old, and tradition tells that he walked into his painting and was never seen again. There is more in this story, one showing the magical power of art. It's lovely.

16 comments:

  1. Tricky Vic is on my TBR for 2016. Maybe I should move it up.I'm happy for all raves it's been getting!

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    1. It was a good story, Earl, things I didn't know. I think older students might want to know more, but it was a good start. I really enjoyed the way Pizzoli did the illustrations.

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  2. Oh thanks for joining in Linda - this is a fine list. I love seeing what people are choosing.

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    1. I'll try to create a list of possibles next week, Alyson, but there are many!

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  3. Linda, such interesting books this week. I haven't seen any of these and Sea Bones looks perfect for a kindergarten classroom. I'll have to recommend it to my friends.

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    1. Yes, you're right, Sea Bones will be good for the younger ones. Thanks, Mandy.

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  4. I just read Tricky Vic this weekend. I have it featured in my Wed. post for next week (trying to get ahead!). I think Greg Pizzoli has some great talent - so different from what he usually writes.
    I really would like to find the Beatrix Potter book. I read many of her books as a child. Library still doesn't have it, but I have found if I wait a bit, they'll get it!

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    1. I know what you mean about waiting. The Denver library has nearly everything, but sometimes just a few weeks after publishing. I remember liking Pizzoli's Watermelon Seed, but don't know the others. This is a different look, doesn't it? I enjoyed his ideas & approach. Thanks, Michele! Good for you for planning ahead.

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  5. Tricky Vic is one of my favorites from this year. I love Swan: the Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder,too.

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    1. I still need to get Swan, just run out of time with so many good ones. Thanks, Annette.

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  6. Loved reading your ideas on all of these titles! I have Tricky Vic coming in for me at the library. Can't wait to read it!

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  7. I will be featuring Tricky Vic for our current reading theme very soon, I found it immensely fascinating. Great to know about the Beatrix Potter PBB. :)

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    1. Thanks Myra. Yes, Tricky Vic fits your new theme so well.

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  8. I grew up on Beatrix Potter's stories, which I think reminded my mother of her childhood in England. This is a great list of recommendations, Linda. Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome, Laura. Happy you can find some to enjoy & perhaps use in your poetry work with schools.

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