Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Can Slugs read? You bet they can.

Quote of the day:

" You are braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think."
                                               - A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Title:  How to Teach a Slug to Read
Author:   Susan Pearson
Illustrator:  David Slonium

This amazing little book takes all the practical ways of teaching reading and power-packs it into a fun, whimsical instruction manual that works for little humans too.

Poor Mama Slug is at her anntena's end when she discovers her little one's reading dilemma.  Enter the hero of the story.  A wise boy steps into the picture and instructs both Mama and Junior the right way to learn to read.  He has very practical advice as how to do so, starting by labelling junior's favourite things. He states that you must point junior (literally - oh for gosh sake prop that kid up so he can see the book) and then point out words to him that repeat throughout the story.  Next you help him sound out words that he is having trouble with, (but better still, in my opinion, just give the poor guy the unfamiliar words and have him repeat them back to you instantly which is the best method for sure).  And just for tactile, fun and variety, have him underline his favourite words in slug slime.  Sub-slime...oops I mean sublime!  Find books for him to read that interest him and that he can relate to and get excited about . The boy brings him books like, "Go Slug, Go!", "The Slug in the Hat" and an all time favourite in the slug-world -  a modern version of "Little Miss Muffet," where the villain is not a spider but..... yep, you guessed it....a slug!  Who could resist reading those aloud to your sluggard baby. The boy emphasizes to Mama that she needs patience, as reading is a process, and takes time.  The overall message stresses the importance of reading together with your child and helping your child become a successful, lifelong reader.  I loved the book, especially the illustrations.  The pictures are clever, witty and cartoonish.  David Slonium has made the book characters endearing and expressive and I love the colour pallet he chose.  I know your child will delight in this book and be inspired by the thought - if a slug can read.... then so can I.... easy peasy!  Next book please Mama Slug! Move over because I'm going to read it to you!!!!

About the author:

I grew up around the country—first in Auburndale, Massachusetts, then in Newport News, Virginia, and finally in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.  (I set the Eagle Eye Ernie mysteries in White Bear Lake.  And she’s just moved there from Newport News, too.)
Moving around was sometimes lonely.  All my aunts and uncles and cousins didn’t move with us, of course, and with each move, I got a little shyer.  But we stayed put in Minnesota, and I graduated from high school and college there.  I also learned how to ski (very badly) and canoe.
After college, I joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).  I wanted to be part of  the civil rights movement.  I played only a miniscule part in the fight for civil rights, but I learned some enormous lessons about justice vs injustice, wealth vs poverty, and real truth vs political “truth,” and I made some lifelong friends.
In 1970 I headed for New York City.  I wanted to write, even illustrate, children’s books, and I figured New York was the best place to do that since it was home to most of the big publishers.  I duly schlepped my “portfolio” around town, but no publishers jumped at the chance to publish my first book, IF I WERE A CIRCLE.  (No one has wanted to publish it since, either.)  But one publisher was interested in hiring me as an editorial assistant.  I went to work for The Viking Press, which was then a small, privately owned publisher on Madison Avenue.  Very classy address—I was impressed!   And what an incredible list of authors and illustrators—Robert McCloskey, Don Freeman, Betsy Byers, William Pêne du Bois, Munro Leaf, Ludwig Bemelmans, Astrid Lindgren, Marjorie Flack, on and on and on.
In those days, one of the main jobs of an editorial assistant was to read the “slush pile”—the pile of manuscripts sent in by unpublished writers who hoped to be published.  I must have read thousands of slush pile manuscripts, and though every now and again there was a gem, most of them were absolutely dreadful.  But I learned an invaluable lesson from them, one I would have taken years to learn on my own: I learned what NOT to do in my own manuscripts.
My next job was as Assistant Editor at The Dial Press Books for Young Readers, where I stayed for seven years, working my way up the editorial staircase—Associate Editor, Editor, Senior Editor.  It was at Dial that I put what I’d learned from the slush pile to use and wrote my first (published) book, Izzie.  
Since then I've written more than 35 children's books. I took some time off from writing while I was Editor-in-Chief of Carolrhoda Books and later of Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, but now that I'm no longer so busy editing, I'm writing more than ever. These days inspiration has been coming from the backyard garden (which has plenty of slugs and bugs), and from behind the garden, acres and acres of woods (through which an old logging road leads me to magical places).
About the Illustrator:

David Slonim (b. 1966) is an artist and children’s author/ illustrator. His oil paintings are semi-abstract interpretations of nature observed, remembered and often re-imagined.  He is inspired by a wide variety of masters, including Cezanne, Diebenkorn, Wyeth, Degas, and Levitan. David’s children’s art is known for matching the tone of the text–   Painterly, atmospheric oils in Moishe’s Miracle, zany cartoony line and wash in Oh Ducky!, softer oil and pencil in He Came With the Couch, and warmly whimsical acrylic and charcoal on How to Teach a Slug to Read.  His books have been translated into five languages. David earned a bachelor’s degree in illustration from Rhode Island School of Design (BFA 1988). For ten years he created images for clients like Reader’s Digest, IBM, UPS, Tony’s Frozen Pizza, and T.G.I.Fridays. Between freelance illustration jobs, he began to paint in oils.  Overland Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ launched his fine art career in 1998. When not behind the easel or writing a story, David teaches painting workshops and speaks to school, university and adult audiences about creativity, writing, and life as a professional artist.   - See more at:

Book Review Rating:  8 (Fantastic!)

Read on and read always!
May your day be amazing.....

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