ML Was Sick – It Started With Sneezing


Last week, ML missed 4 days of school.  One for sickness and the others as a result of Winter Storm Pax.  Saturday, she started sneezing.  I thought it was because our house was a little dusty.  Sunday night it became apparent she was sick.  She coughed the whole night.

The next morning when I told her she couldn’t go to school, she cried.  It was both the 100th day of school and Crazy Hat Day.  The previous afternoon, ML carefully put together her attire… a big, red, old-lady hat and a pink and white polka dotted umbrella to use as a cane.  She begged to go. I knew they would call me to pick her up as soon as I arrived at work.  So we stayed home.  Below are two books to enjoy when you’re sick.  One to make you laugh.  One to make you feel warm and loved.

In Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Adam Rex, his parents are always asking, “Are you going to sneeze?”  There’s a good reason.  Chu has a very big sneeze.  Sorry, no more details.  I don’t want to spoil the fun. The pacing and illustrations make it a perfect read-aloud.  Starting next book club, I’ll  read a picture book at the beginning.  Chu’s Day is first on the list.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead received the 2011 Caldecott Medal.  The illustrations using woodblock printing and pencil are subtle, yet rich.  Visual elements not discussed in the story add extra enjoyment.  Look for the bird, mouse, teddy bear and red balloon.  Each a story within the story.

It is one of  the sweetest stories, we’ve read.  Not saccharine… a story of genuine love and respect for each other.  Amos is a zookeeper.  He’s dependable and a good friend to all the animals in the zoo… playing chess with elephant, running races with tortoise , sitting quietly with penguin, lending a handkerchief to rhinoceros, reading stories to owl.    He knows the needs of each animal.  One day, Amos isn’t at work.  The animals wait for the number 5 bus.  Upon arriving at Amos’ home, they find he is in bed sniffling and sneezing.  Each animal takes care of Amos in their own special way.  Knowing this book’s created by a husband and wife team adds to it’s loveliness.

Coming June 2014, another Chu book – Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Adam Rex.  I hope the Steads are in the process of collaborating on another book.

Mock Caldecott 2014 List

Below are the books, I am hoping ML and her friend, Calvin will look at this weekend for their Mock Caldecott Award.  I’m still waiting on a few to come from other library branches.  So they may not have a chance to win.

One really cool aspect of our multimedia world is many illustrators have videos showing them creating their work.  This post includes links to these.  And a quick note if I know the mediums used to create the illustrations.


Hello, My Name is Ruby by  Philip Stead – Mixed media… chalk pastel, colored pencils, and colored ink


If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin Stead – Pencil and linoleum prints


Journey by Aaron Becker – Watercolor


Little Red Writing by Joan Holub and Melissa Sweet – Watercolor, pencil and collage


Locomotive by Brian Floca – Pen and ink, watercolor, acrylic, and gouache.  Scroll to the bottom of the following like to watch 3 short videos on the process and a view of a book dummy


Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown –   still trying to determine mediums


Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner – Water color and ink line


Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov – mixed media


Stardines by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Carin Berger – shadow boxes, diorama and cut-paper


That Is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems – pencil and watercolor with additional digital color and compositing


Tortoise & the Hare by Jerry Pinkney – Watercolor

Looking forward to seeing if one of the Stead books are chosen or a book with Mr. in it’s title.  I feel more confident in predicting which books I think the Caldecott committee will pick for the award and honors; than I do guessing what ML and Calvin will choose.  It’s going to be fun hearing two first-graders opinion.

Hello, My Name is Ruby and The Eye of the Tiger


The other night, ML told me her favorite song is the “Eye of Tiger.”  Confused and wondering when she heard this Survivor song from 1982… I started singing “I am the eye of the tiger.”  She looked at me strange.  Then started singing a song with a different beat and different words… “I have the eye of the tiger.”

A conversation with a coworker and the internet helped me discover ML’s favorite song is actually called “Roar” by Katy Perry.  ML and I have one thing in common.  Both of our lyrics are wrong.  In the Survivor song, the correct lyrics are “It’s the eye of the tiger.”  In Katy Perry’s song, it’s “I got the eye of the tiger.”  Close enough.  ML always makes up words when she doesn’t remember the lyrics but remembers the tune.  Apparently, I do too.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with a picture book named Hello, My Name is Ruby by Philip Stead.  Well… last night we read this book.  Halfway through, ML started singing “I am the eye of the elephant.”

Once again, I was perplexed.  Then, I looked closely at the elephant illustration composed of hundreds of red birds.  Ruby, a mostly yellow bird, served as the eye.  I thought about putting a link to this illustration, but decided you need to read the whole book.  However, follow this link and scroll to the bottom of the page.  You can view a speedy version of Philip Stead’s creative process showing him drawing the book cover.

Among the books written by Philip Stead is A Sick Day for Amos McGee.  His wife, Erin Stead, won the Caldecott Medal in 2011 for her illustrations in A Sick Day for Amos McGee.  It’s the highest honor for illustrations an artist can receive.  The  Association for Library  Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association,  awards this medal.  A committee of fifteen choose the winner.  On Monday, January 27 this year’s winner will be announced.

This weekend, ML and her friend will award a Mock Caldecott medal to 1 one of 10 books.  Tomorrow, I’ll list the titles I’m bringing home for consideration.  Hello, My Name is Ruby is one.   If You Want to See a Whale illustrated by his wife is another.  Stay tuned… next Monday, I’ll announce their choice.