Archives for posts with tag: Goldie the Dollmaker

Picture Book Vitamins

Part II of II

from FOOD FOR THOUGHT

“When I am brought low by the vicissitudes of life, I stumble to my bookshelves. I take a little dose of Zemach or Shulevitz. I grab a short of Goffstein or Marshall. I medicate myself with Steig or Sendak, and the treatment works. I always feel much better.”        Arnold Lobel

One of the primary reasons many of us write is that we have experienced time and time again the medicinal pleasures of reading. We’ve read books that opened new doors. Read books that reminded us we were not alone. Books that made us laugh during a difficult time. Books that made us cry when we desperately needed release.

The following picture books always made me feel better and sparked renewed energy to write.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT by Saxton Freymann & Joost Elffers. (Levine Books, 2005): This book of literal food play always brings me a smile, and reminds me even the most ordinary object or thought can become so much more if you let you mind explore.

GOLDIE THE DOLLMAKER by M.B. Goffstein. (Farrar, 1969): I didn’t discover this book until several years after its publication. But when I did it became THE book supporting my desire for a life in the arts and continues to remind why I write.

“A Good Picture Book Should” by Arnold Lobel in CELEBRATING CHILDREN’S BOOKS edited by Betsy Hearne and Marilyn Kaye. (Lothrop, 1981).

SELMA by Jutta Bauer. (Kane/Miller, 2003): This miniature picture book honors those who find contentment in their daily lives.

THE STORY OF FERDINAND by Munro Leaf. Illus. by Robert Lawson. (Viking, 1938): Quite simply, this classic reminds me that all I have to be is exactly who I am.

THE TREASURE told by Uri Shulevitz. (Farrar, 1978): This beautifully written retelling of a folktale affirms honoring our dreams, the journey, and the reality that our greatest treasures our within our daily lives.

No matter what picture books are in your literary medicine cabinet, the reasons they are there remind us of what our young audience wants. Support, not scolding. New experiences, not lectures. And always, a sense of connection, not division.

 

 

 

 

 

Frog and Toad Are Friends

 

Begin at the Beginning by Amy Schwartz.  (Harper, 1983).

When a little girl is overwhelmed by trying to create something magnificent her mother gently helps her refocus on the small things she truly knows.

Billy’s Picture by Margaret & H.A. Rey.  (Houghton, 1948).

In this variation on “too many cooks spoil the broth” Billy’s friends are so eager to critique and revise his picture it becomes unrecognizable.

Black Elephant With a Brown Ear (In Alabama) by Barbara Ann Porte. Art by Bill Traylor.  (Greenwillow, 1996).

In this ingenious book Porte shares the writer’s world of imagining “what if” as she looks at images by the folk painting Bill Traylor. How do you get ideas? You get them doing this.

Cherries and Cherry Pits by Vera Williams. (Greenwillow, 1986).

How many stories can grow from a single seed? Countless. How to nurture creativity in others? Paper, pens and listening

Danny’s Drawing Book by Sue Heap. (Candlewick, 2007).

Danny takes his drawing book everywhere. When he and Ettie visit the zoo the combination of their experiences, questions and imaginations create a vibrant new story.

David’s Drawings by Cathryn Falwell. (Lee & Low, 2001).

David draws what he sees, but well-meaning friends keep adding their advice on what he needs to do to “improve” his drawing.  

Do Not Open This Book! by Michaela Muntean. Illus. Pascal Lemaitre.  (Scholastic, 2006).

As funny as it is outrageous, this romp touches on everyone’s fears and foibles about writing.

Doodler Doodling by Rita G. Gelman. Illus. Paul Zelinsky. (Greenwillow, 2004).

Where do fresh ideas come from? Playful doodling with words and ideas!

Emma by Wendy Kesselman. Illus. Barbara Cooney. (Doubleday, 1980).

Emma loves her family and art. At 72 she realizes that she has cause and abilities to create. She begins painting the visions she loves—past and present.

Frederick by Leo Lionni. (Pantheon, 1967).

This fable celebrates the place and value of the artist in society.

Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel. (Harper, 1970).

While Toad chases after story ideas, Frog knows his daily experiences are the stuff  of stories.

Goldie the Dollmaker by M.B. Goffstein. (Farrar, 1969).

Goldie is an artist and a lover of art. When she spends far too much on a lamp she loves, she comes to realize that all artists create for those who will love their work as much as they do. Artists create for their beholders, friends they will never meet.

 Lizard’s Song by George Shannon. Illus. Aruego & Dewey. (Greenwillow, 1981).

Our best creations come out of our own lives instead of echoing others.

Play With Me by Marie Hall Ets. (Viking, 1955).  

With patience, quiet, and deep receptivity, those formerly illusive ideas will come.

Regina’s Big Mistake by Marissa Moss. (Houghton, 1990).

What first seems like a terrible mistake becomes a springboard for a fresh, unique  idea.

Simple Pictures Are Best by Nancy Willard. Illus. Tomi dePaola. (Harcourt,1976).

Just as this family tries to get all their possessions into one photo, what writer hasn’t tried to get all his beloved ideas into one story? Less is more.

Three by the Sea by Edward Marshall. Illus. James Marshall. (Dial, 1981).

This early reader shows and evokes so much about what goes into making a good story I recommend it to writers of every age.

Uncle Elephant by Arnold Lobel. (Harper, 1981).

Uncle Elephant creates songs and stories out of his daily life AND his heart is lightened through the process.

What’s the Big Idea, Molly? by Valeri Gorbachev. (Philomel Books, 2010).

Molly is a writer in love with beautiful words, but ideas are often illusive. What first seems to be frustration or failure sparks a lovely, unique birthday gift.

A Writer by M.B. Goffstein. (Harper, 1984).

A beautifully distilled essay in picture book form on the life of a writer.












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