Thursday, 27 February 2014

Thursday 27th February

Author: Margaret Wild
Illustrator: Julie Vivas
Publisher: Omnibus books
Year of publications: 2008
Hard cover
Young readers of all ages

Characters: A puffin chick and its parents

The story of a puffin chick from hatching to being ready to leave the burrow for the great wide world. Margaret Wild does it again to bring us yet another of her brilliantly crafted stories and when paired with Julie Vivas’ art it is pure magic.
illustrations : Pastel and water colour pencil on textured paper. Julie Vivas is a most wonderful artist and she once again brings life to the characters she portrays in her art.  In this book she brings the puffins to life. They are beautiful and so delightful. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The little puffin must grow and gain strength before he can leave the nest and brave the big wide world.  The parents keep him safe yet encourage him to grow in strength and courage until he is ready.

The dialogue between the three puffins allows the reader into the burrow and experience the love in the words of the characters. The little natural conflicts of a young one pushing the boundaries and the parents holding them firm until they are ready to be stretched are beautifully portrayed.

One evening Puffling asked Big stripy Beak and Long black Feather "when can I leave the burrow?"
"When you are tall enough and strong enough and brave enough you'll leave the burrow all by yourself." said Big stripy Feather.

Puffling continues to ask and continues to grow with his loving protective parents helping him.   

Sheer delight and a marvelous way to learn a little about puffins. 

Now on to trees and the 52 week challenge and in the wee small hours of the night I could not sleep and managed to produce a water colour with some fine liner touches and a dab of 8B pencil.
It is called
Welcoming the newest Dryad.
Dryad's of course are female oak spirits since the origin of the word is to do with oaks but for the purpose of my art I have used the word to denote all tree spirits of this kind regardless of the tree.
February has almost run its course and I wrote my achievements for the month on the sliding doors. I have managed to come up with 26 ideas for Picture Book Month and may find another two before tomorrow. I participated in Petite ReviMo days, Mini WOW, the 52 week challenge and 12x12. I was also working slowly through the Picture Book Dummy challenge but it is too much on twitter and I have not yet embraced twitter. I have completed my YA novel, found a critique group, begun art for two other writers, started the study group for the teens, had surgery and been a parent. I also signed on to carpe verba to keep to a 500 word tally per month, submitted several pieces of flash ficiton online, took up a stikk commitment and joined an anthology club. I started learning Spanish and now know how to ask for a cup of tea with milk and think I can budget for two conferences later in the year. I put up shade cloth and have been exercising daily. It has been a very full and very wonderful month and I feel fantastic to be writing and creating art every day.

I am going to write myself a vision statement, mission statement and write out strategic goals and put them up on my wall to see every day. I have also filled out my charts for March ready for chapter book challenge and a number of other things coming up. 



Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Wednesday 26th February

14:14 is almost done but I shall continue to review and use all the elements to do my reviews.
Today my book is
The Goblin and the Empty Chair

Readership.Young readers of all ages

Author: Mem Fox
Illustrator: Leo & Diane Dillon
Publisher: Penguin Viking
Year of publications: 2009
Hard cover

A self loathing Goblin and a grieving family find a way to help each other in this beautiful and bitter sweet tale of loss and healing. This book is beautiful. 
The  illustrations of Leo and Diane Dillon add a gentle poignancy to this fairy tale. Soft pastels and beautiful depictions of the Goblin and family make this art to treasure.

The combination of Mem Fox and the Dillons makes this book one to keep and hand on and read again and again. I have read many of Mem Fox's stories and they are always a delight and didn't realise until today that I was also a fan of the Dillon's art. When I began to research what other work they had illustrated I was delighted to find I already had other books with their art work. 

It was sad to learn Leo Dillon died around the same time as Maurice Sendak in 2012. The kidlit world was so enriched by their presence. 

 The Goblin and the empty chair is a story of grief and hope and acceptance and I sit here and shed my tears for the loss of both Mr Dillon and Mr Sendak and their families and remember them with a thankful heart for their contributions in enriching the lives of millions of children of all ages.