In November by Cynthia Rylant. Harcourt, 2000.
Prose, but superbly poetic language. Take the very first page:
“In November, the earth is growing quiet. It is making its bed, a winter bed for flowers and small creatures. The bed is white and silent, and much life can hide beneath its blankets.”
A lovely metaphor that is vivid and gentle and fully accessible for any child. This continues throughout—trees are sticks and bones, spreading their arms like dancers; berries are the winter birds’ treasures; food smells orange. The story comes back to the bed image in the last line:
“...the world has tucked her children in, with a kiss on their heads, till spring.”
Beautiful, tender illustrations, a gorgeous book.
And then there were three ... books by me! It is with supreme delight that I announce Eerdmans Books for Young Readers will be publishing my picture book, Mama Earth's New Year. Yay!
Poetry Month is coming to a close, and with it I'll share five Zolotow picture book classics. Books like these are "out of style" in current publishing, which is a shame. I'd much rather read Flock of Birds over and over than books about crazy hair or farting dogs.
I started the first semester of graduate school knowing just a little more about picture books than I do about worms. Children love them, they come out on rainy days, and if you cut them in half, they really do die.
As we continue to celebrate poetry, I continue to study picture books. I don't think I could count how many I've absorbed in the past years. Oodles? Oodles of oodles? A lot.
In honor of National Poetry Month, I'll be sharing some of my favorite poetic picture books. Beautiful, vivid, delightful reads. Here are five by Cynthia Rylant, an amazingly prolific author with an insane diversity of titles to her name.
Alicia’s Best Friends and Simon and Molly Plus Hester by Lisa Jahn-Clough are two of my favorite picture books and here's why...
The 3 Act structure provides a perfect framework for any genre of picture book, about any subject. Plus thinking of it in terms of the grid we drew together, it can help immeasurable with pacing and troubleshooting a story that just isn’t working.
I am so full of exclamation points! See, just this morning I was showing Maggie the cover art pdf. She, always attentive, noticed the little square on the back cover where the bar code will go. "What's that?"
A round-up of recent favorite Halloween picture books!
I believe four key elements unite the best of the best rhyming picture book texts: Structure, Speech, Surprise, and Story. Books that fail will be lacking in one (or more) of these key areas; those that succeed will demonstrate at least passing-grade competence in all four. Now to examine these elements more closely.