Monday, February 2, 2015

Happy Monday everyone.  I have got a huge snow storm outside my door this morning.  Maybe accumulations of up to 15 cm. It's been snowing all night and the snowdrifts are piling up.  It's a perfect day to stay inside and read...but alas...shovelling has to be tended to or I may be stuck in the house for the next few days.  I do digress. You are going to like today's story I know.


Writer and illustrator David Ezra Stein has done a delightful job with this book.  Just look at that face and that pose.... just gotta love him.

Let's rip the wrapping off and take a peek shall we?

This book will make you smile I am sure.  This quirky, spunky little dog can look after himself very well thank you very much.  He obeys all his own commands and is in full charge of his life.  He does not need a human to depend on.  Then one day he gets an itch on his back.  He tries to relieve it by himself but to no avail.  It is right in the middle and there is no way he can reach it, scratch it and make it stop.  He asks a human to help him out and the human does an amazing job... and then the unthinkable happens.  The dog feeling rather sorry for the guy, decides to adopt him and take him home because the man looks like he could use a friend.  

The story relates how the dog gets a leash (to lead the human around), points out things of interest to him in the park (like look there's a squirrel), commands the man to sit, sit, and teaches him the - throw - the - stick game (the man doing the throwing of course) so they can play it together.  It is a topsy-turvy spin, a fun twist, a role reversal of man and beast that works so very well.  The dog never gives up control of his life but trains that human to obey his every wish and in so doing they become inseparable, best of friends.

The illustrations are expressive and delightful.  The book is clever and witty.  The author was inspired by a voice in his head, speaking about himself.  

"This is often how characters come to me. He told me the first few lines of the story: I'm my own dog and nobody owns me, I own myself... I was as intentive to this as a possible, and tried to get it all down on paper as it was happening.  Then I began the work of expanding him and his world.  Anyway, I think he came from a desire to really master myself and my career.  And to choose the way I respond to the challenges of life. That is true mastery, to me."

Award-winning children's author and illustrator David Ezra Stein was born in Brooklyn, NY. By the time he was three, he was asking adults, "Wanna come to my room? Read books?" This love of reading grew into a love of telling stories, and then, writing.

David Ezra Stein’s Interrupting Chicken was awarded a 2011 Caldecott Honor, as well as many state awards. His picture book Leaves won the Ezra Jack Keats award and was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice, and a School Library JournalBest Book. Booklist called his book Monster Hug! “a cousin to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.” Pouch! (Putnam), was a 2010 Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book. His books have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, French, and Finnish.

Tarzan and superheroes by David, age 5.

As a young child, David started out drawing on Post-It note pads his mother, an editor, left around the house. An admitted “space cadet,” he showed an early knack for daydreaming and doodling. His parents and grandparents read him lots of books, which fed his imagination and became a touchstone for his love of imagery and storytelling later in life. 

“I’ll never forget the experience of sitting in a beloved lap and having a whole world open before me: a world brought to life by the pictures and the grown-up’s voice. That wonder is what I want to re-create in my own books,” says David. 

David went on to become a voracious reader and made up stories of his own. Near the end of his time at Parsons School of Design in Manhattan, encouraged by beloved author and teacher Pat Cummings, he decided to pursue children’s books as a career. 

After graduation, he was briefly a window display artist, puppeteer and puppet builder, interior and set-design illustrator, and New Yorker cartoonist. In 2006, his first book, Cowboy Ned & Andy, was published by Simon & Schuster. Since then he has published nine picture books. His latest, Because Amelia Smiled (Fall 2012), continues a richly creative working relationship with Candlewick Press.

David lives in Kew Gardens, NY with wife, Miriam, and son, Sam. When he’s not working on new stories and pictures, he enjoys making music, cooking, running, hiking, and talking with kids and grown-ups about books!

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.
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