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Can you recall a book that has touched your life and left you changed in some way? Perhaps the book articulated something for you that you needed defined and named. Maybe it identified something with which you were grappling, even if at an unconscious level. Can you call to mind a book that was so engaging and inviting during the reading of it that you were compelled to revisit and reread it time after time for the sheer fun of it? Can you identify a book that lingers with you long after having read it?
These are the kinds of children's books we present to you in this issue. They are books that we think evoke personal response; reader participation; and life-to-text, text-to-life connections. In other words, readers can become involved in these books and imagine that they themselves are in the shoes of the characters. The books we have selected invite participation, sometimes in a real hands-on way. They are books that help children understand the pleasure and the power of a good book.
In this issue we are honored to include the comments of some of the authors and illustrators of these wonderful books. Award-winning illustrator/author and master paper engineer Robert Sabuda discusses the wonder of pop-up books. Author Lisa Yee, winner of the 2003 Sid Fleischman Humor Award for Millicent Min, Girl Genius, considers what makes us laugh. And illustrator/author Kevin Henkes converses with us about his 2004 Newbery Honor book Olive's Ocean.
The formats of books sometimes call for hands-on interactions and involvement. Pop-up formats, with their movable three-dimensional illustrations, rotating wheels, and opening and closing doors, dazzle the reader and beg to be handled. The mechanical aspects are engaging, and those so inclined can puzzle out their workings. Other books with flaps and cutouts invite the reader into a kinesthetic experience. Hands-on participation books can add, extend, and develop the theme of the book and enhance aesthetic response in dramatic ways. Pop-ups with intricate paper engineering and complex stories are especially appropriate for older children.
Robert Sabuda's Alice in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Original Tale does just that and more. The pop-up illustrations dramatically transport us into Alice's fantasy wonderland. We are there with Alice and her sister in the field before she sleeps and we can physically look down the rabbit hole into which Alice has fallen. We are really in Wonderland when we turn the page and the White Rabbit's house suddenly emerges big as life on the double-page spread. The scale of just how big Alice has grown is conveyed when we view her arms and legs flailing from the chimney and roof. We identify and gain insight into Alice's physical discomfort at being too big when we peek into the window of the three-dimensional house and see her pained expression.
Likewise, Sabuda's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: A Commemorative Pop-up based on L. Frank Baum's famous story reminds us there is no place like home. Upon entering Baum's fantasy world we are stunned by the whirling but delicate twister that wreaks havoc in Kansas. The fields of pop-up poppies, the shimmering Emerald City, and the twirling hot air balloon dazzle us. The three-dimensional illustrations encourage wonder and prediction. The little books containing the text on each of the two-page spreads have pop-ups as well. They delight readers, demand attention, and cause the reader to think more deeply about how the pop-up relates to the text. At the same time, the reader is propelled through the text to find out what will pop up next. Other astonishing works of art and engineering are Sabuda's interpretation of Clement Clarke Moore's The Night Before Christmas and Cookie Count: A Tasty Pop-up. Watch for Sabuda's latest work, America the Beautiful.
A simple but elegant pop-up not to miss is The Chameleon and the Dragonfly by Lorena Eliasen. In this story we meet the chameleon Pepe and an amazing dragonfly who grants him his wish to be able to change color. Children can turn a color wheel to see Pepe change before their eyes.
In Let's Make It Pop-up David A. Carter and James Diaz scaffold the making of various pop-ups such as the Beautiful Butterfly, the Big-Mouth Frog, and the Blooming Flower. Examples of each pop-up, directions with visuals, cutout pieces, and templates on the last spread of the book as well as a glossary are provided for ease of use. Better yet, the authors demonstrate how emerging paper engineers can go beyond the templates provided to transform what was learned into something new!
Books that invite participation during read-alouds cry out to us, "Come and join the fun!" Innovations on familiar stories and songs with repetitive refrains, rhythm, rhyme, and other predictable structures not only support children in their development of sight words and fluency, but they also encourage reading and rereading with expression, exuberance, physical movement, and joy! The following books invite children to become dramatic in their participation.
Deborah Lee Rose's The Twelve Days of Kindergarten: A Counting Book, illustrated by Carey Armstrong-Ellis, is an innovation on the familiar song "The Twelve Days of Christmas." This hilarious picture book chronicles 12 wonderful gifts that a harried kindergarten teacher presents to her students on the first 12 days of their school experience. The illustrations convey the real-life chaos and …