"A book that is shut is but a block."
Title: Big Blue
Author: Vanita Oelschlager
Illustrator: Kristin Blackwood
This adorable little blue bird is just like all the other birds in the flock. He flies around, sings sweetly, and makes up his own nest. All-in-all he is quite a normal little fellow until one day he decides to sleep in all day and doesn't come out to work or play with the others. Little by little his habits change and he starts focusing more and more on eating food. He becomes obsessed with pecking and stuffing himself most of the day. He gets into a lazy cycle of eat, sleep, laze around, eat, sleep, be lazy again. He then begins to discover that his nest isn't so comfy and cozy any more because he can barely fit into it. He continues to be sedentary causing his body to balloon and look quite rotund. He overhears his friends refer to him as "Big Blue" and he isn't amused at all.
Fall is quickly approaching and it is nearly time for the flock to take flight - off to a warmer climate for the winter. As his feathered friends take to the sky Big Blue finds that he can not get airborne, instead he can only roll his body and not ascend heavenward at all. The others can not wait for him or even help him out, so off they soar leaving an overweight and humiliated Big Blue behind.
In order to survive the cold winter Big Blue has to make major changes in his daily rituals. He has to take control of his eating habits and beef up his physical activities. It is a long, hard, lonely winter for him but with determination he does survive. When the flock finally returns in the Spring they are very surprised to see the changes that have occurred to Big Blue. What has happened to him to have him once again be respected by his peers and be able to move up the ranks to be an inspiration and a leader within the group? He is a "new and improved" version of himself for sure.
The illustrations are amazing. The colour pallet is vibrant and happy. The artwork for Big Blue is acrylic painted on stained wood. The actual grain of the wood plays a large part in the design of each illustration. First a variety of wood grains are chosen, then stained before the images are painted on their surfaces. The nature of the "canvas" lends life to the work. The final compositions are then captured photographically for print reproduction.
It is a good life lesson. Being lazy, overeating, and not working hard can certainly lead to your demise. One needs to be diligent and take very good care of your physical body, your mind, and your spirit.
About the author:
Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother, grandmother, former teacher, current caregiver and, for almost ten years, author and poet. She was born and raised near Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as a Trustee.
For more information, see http://vanitabooks.com/MeetVanita.html
About the illustrator:
Kristin Blackwood is an experienced illustrator. She has a degree from Kent State University in Art History. In addition to teaching and her design work, Kristin enjoys being a mother of her two daughters.
Book Review Rating: 8 (fantastic!)
Read on and read always!
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