Sunday, July 10, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book one hundred and ninety-one

I am lucky because I live in a town where people care about issues that affect they lives. They are willing to do what they can to safeguard what they hold dear, speaking out and even paying up when necessary. When our town library was closed because of a lack of funding, the people in my town decided that we would raise our taxes so that we could reopen the library's doors. 

Today's picture book is about a similar group of characters who decide they they need to step up to protect their local beach.

Judy Sierra
Illustrated by Derek Anderson
For ages 5 to 7
Simon and Schuster, 2009, 978-1-4169-5888-8
   Every Saturday morning Mira Bella, an artist, gives art lessons on the beach. The great thing is that she teaches all kinds of er…individuals. She teaches kids and grannies how to etch and sketch, she teaches swordfish and squids how to sculpt (underwater), and the gulls create the most amazing “trash-art sensations.” Even the sea squirts get in on the act, creating “dyed T-shirts by spitting on stencils.”
   Everyone is looking forward to the first of June which is when Mira Bella is planning to have the Ballyhoo Art Fair and Recycled Art-Cycle Race. You can only imagine how devastated Mira Bella and her friends and students are when they discover that builders are planning on putting an apartment complex with a “crystal casino as high as a cloud” on their beloved beach. The children and critters are all ready to pack up and give up, but Mira Bella is made of sterner stuff. If they want to save their beach, they are going to have to speak up!
   In this wonderfully empowering picture book, Judy Sierra celebrates the joy that making art brings to all kinds of people, and she shows her readers how important it is to defend the things that you value and hold dear. If someone is threatening something you care about, you have to take a stand, and speak out. Even if you are a squid or a whale.

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