Quote of the day: "A well read woman is a dangerous creature."
Title: Wild About Books
Author: Judy Sierra
Illustrator: Marc Brown
The backstory of the book: (in the author's own words)
"The idea for this book came from a poster I once saw in a library. On the poster was a painting of animals happily reading books. I thought, "I wonder how those animals learned to read...." Then I thought, "Wouldn't that make a great story?" I jotted down this idea in my notebook. It took me several years to come up with perfect storyline. One morning, as I sat in my writing chair, a little cartoon image popped into my head: A librarian drives the bookmobile to the zoo, and she uses the same skill and charm that works so well on children to turn the animals into readers. I began writing down the names of my favourite zoo animals, along with ideas about what books they could be reading, and where they might be reading. I collected book titles and book types and names of animals that rhymed. The poem didn't really take off, though, until those Tasmanaian devils began writing their own books (another idea that just popped into my head), making it absolutely necessary that everyone build a Zoobrary at the end of the book."
"The book mobile that Molly McGrew drives is exactly like one that I worked on in Los Angeles. It was a tiny and delightful near-antique that had bookshelves on the outside as well as on the inside. when Marc Brown began making sketches for the book, he e-mailed to ask if I had a good photograph of a bookmobile. I contacted the Los Angeles Public Library, and they were nice enough to send me one for him to use."
"Three of the scorpion's stinging reviews of the bugs' haiku are double-entendres-words that have more than one meaning, and that can be taken two different ways in the story. each word could mean "You're a bad writer," or it could describe the bugs' actual behaviour (camouflage, eating its way into a large piece of good, smelling bad).
"The book was published on the 100th anniversary of Dr. Seuss's birth,and is dedicated to him. The editor of Wild About Books, Janet Schulman, was Dr. Seuss's editor and colleague at random House."
There, now you know. :)
About the book:
A librarian mistakenly drives her bookmobile into a zoo causing a stampede amongst the animals to get to the visiting library and find out what reading is all about. Like a true dedicated bookworm, Molly McGrew, with steadfast confidence and on a mission to satisfy the animal's curiosity, succeeds in turning them into avid readers and even writers.
This fantastic rhyming book takes the reader on a jolly romp with the animals and just might be an inspiration for your child's reading skills to escalate. Cleverly the author uses playful language: "llamas read while eating their lunches", and "a hippo wins the 'Zoolitzer Prize', just to focus on a few. She hands out tall books, small books, fat books and thin books and even waterproof books to the otters. You discover the crocodiles reading about Peter Pan, the elephants reading Dumbo and the giraffes reading about basketball. Everyone has a book that interests him and the librarian even goes so far as to teach the animals proper respect and book etiquette towards their valued books.
The illustrations are charming and the animals (even the more ferocious ones) are adorable. Marc Brown has done a fantastic job in capturing just the right colour pallet and energy to move the text to the next level. The book is a fun, fun read and I highly recommend it. Kids, parents and especially librarians will be thrilled with this book and the positive message it brings about the joy of reading and writing.
About the author:
I live in Oregon with my husband Bob and our dog, Keiko, a black-and-white standard poodle. Today, I am doing exactly what I have wanted to do ever since I can remember—creating funny stories and sharing them with as many people as possible. I’ve always wanted to tell stories in my own way. When I was in elementary school, I wrote a lot of my reports in rhyme, and illustrated them with cartoons. I also put on plays with my friends—in class, at summer camp, and in my back yard. We wrote the scripts together. Our favorites were tales of Robin Hood, and the Greek myths.
Before I became a published author, I had many jobs, as writers often do early in their careers. I did temporary work in offices (I was a fast typist), and also in children's libraries. What I loved most, though, was writing and creating art. When I teamed up with a puppeteer, Bob Kaminski (my husband), we performed on the streets of San Francisco, at Renaissance fairs, and at schools. After attending a workshop on Balinese shadow puppetry, we began to put all of our energy into creating shadow puppet shows. We traveled to Bali and Java to learn ancient techniques from modern masters, then we adapted material from American folklore to the shadow screen. We toured our shows, and also worked in television, designed puppets for adult productions, and visited schools to teach puppetry to children. The first books I published were about how to tell stories and put on puppet shows. I began writing picture books after I heard the author-illustrator Uri Shulevitz say that a picture book is like a small theater. A puppet theater is also a small theater, I thought. I can do that!
When I’m not conjuring up wild stories and rhymes, I like to relax by cooking up tasty food, or growing vegetables in my garden. I still love to read, of course, and I wish I didn’t have to sleep so that I would have even more time to devour delicious books.
About the illustrator:
Book Review rating: 8 (Fantastic!)