Monday, January 16, 2012

Picture Book Monday - A review of Fish on a walk

Some children love to tell stories. They spend long periods of time entertaining their friends with tales about adventures, magic, and villains. Often their tales are inspired by stories that they have heard, or by movies or television programs.

For today's picture book I have a title that will charm young (and not so young) storytellers. Looking through the book is rather like seeing scenes from movies that have been frozen. There is no sound and no movement, and you have to figure out what is going on. You are the one who gets to make up the story that fits the images on the pages. 

Eva Muggenthaler
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 9
Enchanted Lion Books, 2011, 978-1-59270-116-2
In almost all picture books, the story is told by the author and illustrator. We know what is happening because we are told and shown what is happening. Imagine what it would be like to be given a picture that suggests all kinds of stories. Imagine what fun it would be to tell those stories ones self.
   Well, in this book this is just what you can do. On every double page spread there is a picture, and below this there are two words that are opposites. For example on the first spread, there are the words “scared” and “brave.” In the picture above, we see a little bunny standing on a stage hiding behind a huge double bass. We can tell that he is scared. Sitting on the base there is a tiny little frog who is bravely playing his guitar and singing, much to the enjoyment of the audience. Why did the frog start performing? Why is there a little insect behind the curtain drinking a hot cup of coffee? What is going to happen next?
   These are questions you can address as you make up your own story for this picture. When you are ready for something new, just turn the page and start telling the story that goes with the next spread.
   Here we are looking at a scene in a park. The two words for this spread are “alone” and “together.” We see that a pile of animals are sitting on one end of a teeter totter (see-saw) so that a young elephant can sit on the other end. What is going on here?
   This book is going to delight and intrigue children who love to tell their own stories. They don’t need to be able to read well to be able to enjoy the book, and every time they look through the book they can make up new stories to go with the twelve double spread illustrations. 

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