Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day from Storywraps

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I hope you have an amazing day and you know how much I love and appreciate everyone who drops by my blog and checks out the awesome books that I review for you on a daily basis.   Valentine's Day is a day for expressing love  and gratitude to the special people in your life.  Thank you so very, very much for making this blog so successful. Please accept a huge hug from Storywrap's heart to yours! 


Written and Illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark

Ages 3-5

Unwrapping some illustrations...

Unwrapping some praise for the book...

“Clark captures a dog’s exuberance and love of the simple things. . . . And no child will fail to understand the dog’s conundrum: she knows what she should do and yet feels compelled to do the wrong thing anyway. Fur, ears, and posture speak volumes. Dog lovers will especially ‘LOVE’ this, and readers who can’t get enough can follow the real-life Plum in the author’s blog.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Clark exuberantly captures Plum’s zest for life, whether it’s playing with the kids next door or causing trouble that tests her family’s patience. But unconditional love is unconditional love, and even at the height of Plum’s post-mischief worry—‘Would they ever love me again?’ she wonders, stuck in time-out—the answer to that question is never in doubt.”—Publishers Weekly

“Little ones will easily identify with Plum, who wants to be good but also finds some things irresistible. Clark, who blogs about her real dog, Plum, presents a book, jauntily illustrated in watercolor and colored pencil, that brims with good humor, recognizable lessons, and, of course, lots of love. The oversize format—eye-catching spreads and pages of vignettes—makes this a great choice for story hours.”—Booklist 

Unwrapping my take...

 Emma Chichester Clark began the website Plumdog Blog in 2012, chronicling the real-life adventures of her lovable “whoosell” (whippet, Jack Russell and poodle cross), Plum. Emma soon gained thousands of loyal Plumdog devotees, and in 2014 a book of the blog was published by Jonathan Cape. This picture book story is the first Plumdog book for children.

Plummie is in love with LOVE... Plummie just LOVES love! In fact, she is the narrator in this book. She especially loves it when Emma and Rupert, members of her human family, tell her “You are a very good girl, Plummie.” But will Plummie always be loved, even when she chases other dogs, jumps in water when Emma tells her not too, and ruins one of Emma's favourite cushions because she wants to play one of her favourite games? Sometimes her exuberance causes trouble.  She just can't help it when her LOVE   kicks in... then... her rationality kicks out. She becomes an unstoppable LOVE MACHINE!

This is a story of one slightly naughty dog who is loved unconditionally. A perfect read for your children to laugh and giggle as Plum REALLY tries to be a good dog, but her enthusiasm can cause things to go awry very quickly.  

Plum realizes that she is behaving badly and finds herself all alone in the dark feeling very sorry for herself:

"My whole world was black.  I stared at the darkness. Knew they wouldn't love me any more."  

She was devastated and heartbroken by those thoughts.  Happily she discovers that she is so adored by her Mommy and Daddy that they can't stay angry with her for very long.  Jubilation ensues by all and a  LOVEFEST begin!

The illustrations are perfect displaying so much action and emotion and are rich with detail.  It is a wonderful book to share with kids. The message being that from time to time we all get into mischief and trouble but no matter what we are still loved unconditionally.  I LOVED the book a lot and I look forward to more books about this delightful little canine in the future. 

Meet the author/illustrator...

I was born on Hyde Park Corner, London, but grew up in the countryside in Ireland in an old white farmhouse surrounded by fields. I began to make books with sewn-up spines when I was about five. The first was called The Fox and the Rabit. (sic)
I went to boarding school in England – I begged to go, having read too much Enid Blyton, and then ran away, only to be captured by the Matron and forced to peel potatoes every weekend in the school kitchens till the end of term as a punishment. But it was at school- aged about 16, that I discovered a love of illustration. We had a new young art teacher who asked us to choose something to illustrate. I chose a poem by W.B.Yeats – The Song of Wandering Aengus.
I went to Bristol Polytechnic to do a Foundation course and then to Chelsea School of Art to study Graphic Design. There were very few Illustration courses in those days, but we had a wonderful life-drawing tutor – Susan Einzig, who had illustrated several children’s books, including Tom’s Midnight Garden. We learnt how to set type from wooden drawers full of little lead letters and we were taught about elegant design by Dennis Bailey.
At the end of the three-year course, I applied to the Royal College of Art to do another three years post-graduate study. I didn’t get in but I was determined to have another go! I spent two years doing peculiar jobs – selling shirts, delivering shirts, being a chambermaid, pasting up holiday brochures, and meanwhile working on my portfolio. I moved away from children’s book illustration towards more adult, narrative work using oil pastels and paint and when I reapplied to the RCA in 1981, I was accepted. There was a magnificent line up of tutors at that time - Quentin Blake, Michael Foreman, Dan Fern, Linda Kitson, Peter Brookes and Shelia Robinson.
After the RCA, I worked producing illustrations for magazines and numerous book covers. It was a few years later that an editor from Bodley Head asked me to bring in my portfolio because she was looking for someone to illustrate a collection of children’s stories called Listen To This! compiled by Laura Cecil. This became a collaboration that would continue for many years, resulting in seven picture books and Listen To This! won the Mother Goose award for Best Newcomer to Children’s Book Illustration.
I was also writing and illustrating my own picture books at the same time and still do so, including the series about Blue Kangaroo. I work with many other authors which I really enjoy, including Michael Morpurgo, Martin Waddell, Saviour Pirotta, Nanette Newman, Colin MacNaughton and Geraldine McCaughrean.
At home, in West London, I live with my lovely husband called Rupert and I have three strapping stepsons. A fairly recent arrival is Plum, a scruffy mixed up kind of a dog, who likes to be walked for miles and miles, twice a day. She has lots of doggy friends and she adores swimming. Luckily, we live close to the river.

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