Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Quote of the day!

             "If a book is well written I always find it too short."
                                               - Jane Austen

Title:  The Clever Stick
Author/Illustrator:  John Lechner
Ages:  5-9

Who would believe that an ordinary, unassuming stick could become the main character in a children's storybook?  This creative, uplifting fable is perfect to share with your kids.  Lechner's words and story are lyrical and feel just like a modern day fairytale.  It is a wonderful read- aloud to share together.

The author writes: " Ever since he had fallen off the tree, he had been sharp. (that line got my attention right away, yes, a smart stick).  He would sit in the sand and think up all sorts of clever things. He would float down the stream, making up poetry.  He would listen to the singing of the birds and wonder what made it sound so beautiful." Stick was very observant, but his problem was he had no voice, he was mute, therefore he could not communicate with those around him much to his chagrin.

Lechner proposes a brilliant solution for Stick, allotting him not only to discover his voice but to discover a deeper meaning to his life by being able to leave his mark on his world.   The artwork is subdued and beautifully done. The book has many ideas and opportunities for you to discuss the importance of self-expression and the value of communicating and writing.  You can also explore the significance of flexibility and providence.  It encourages kids to enhance their gifts and talents and to have fun with the possibilities.  It is a perfect book for the beach or for a snowy day...read... then introduce your child to his/her personal voice stick and have your child playfully respond to his/her world by writing in the sand or on the snow.  Highly recommended.

About the author/illustrator:

 I am a writer, illustrator, animator, musician, puppeteer, and interactive designer. I am the author and illustrator of four books for children, A Froggy Fable, Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest, The Clever Stick, and Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril, all published by Candlewick Press.
Some of my hand puppetsI grew up as one of seven children, and our house was always filled with art, music and creativity. I played the violin and guitar, and my brothers and sisters all had different creative interests. We spent summers playing outside in the backyard, where I developed a love of nature.
After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, where I studied art and creative writing, I worked as a graphic designer and a puppeteer, designing and building my own puppet shows. For the last fifteen years I have worked at the children’s media company FableVision, where I design games, websites, software and animated films.
John Lechner performing with Amy Conley and Tony LechnerMy current projects include a novel for middle-grade readers, an interactive storybook, and animated film in collaboration with my brother Tony. I’m also working on some new puppet projects. I’m available for school and library visits.

Read on and read always.  

Have a great day!

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