Kathi Appelt New Book Review

Kathi Appelt 2013: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Kathi Appelt knows the swamp and she can guide the most North Eastern New Englander, through the forested wetlands of Louisiana. A few pages in and you will see the golden eyes of a peering gator; smell the fast drying dampness of the moss-draped canopy, and hear the slow sounds of the decaying baldcypress. In The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp there are a lot of characters and natural beauty to root for. By writing in third-person omniscient narration (where the teller of the tale appears to be the author and they assume an all-knowing perspective on the story being told) the reader gains a multi-lens insight about swamp-ecology and an extended stay into the culture and heartbeat of the people who call it home. This story weaves the soul of memories and the whisper of stories once told with the sweet sugar smells of pure canebrake sugar fried pies and a twelve-year old boy who wouldn’t dream of letting developers destroy everything he knows and has yet to have the time to learn. Did I mention Bingo and J’Miah? The two raccoons that live in a half mud sunk rusted 1949 DeSoto?

Jellaby by Kean Soo

Jellaby (who has the appearance of part grub, part dragon, and a splash of monster) needs a friend. So does a young daydreaming girl named Portia. Soon another friendship develops with a bullied little boy, and together they develop a commitment to not only keep Jellaby protected, but to set out on an adventure to the city to find Jellaby's family (if he has one).

The characters are lovable and the story line moves swiftly and paced with some great text and use of panels to extend the potential to infer and relish in the what ifs. I do prefer a more colorful graphic novel, but if an artist is going to go with a few tones, I do like the pinks and purples and hard black lines.

Another quality option for the graphic novel fan who is looking for innovative stories that step outside of the superhero box. I think we will be seeing more to come from Kean Soo and I look forward to future journeys with Jellaby and friends!

Water Can Be...

Each page a chance for a new conversation, The text offers ample poetic vocabulary and is sparse enough to let the reader and listener reflect. The illustrations have you sailing the high tides and snuffing out forest fires. I appreciate how the illustrator and writer splash and drip upon the pages in the harmony of the softness summer rains and harshest February sleets. It just works and feels effortless. In the spirit of reading and writing in the science classroom, this book is another entrance for information. I would look out for this book to be released in April and consider it for your science or poetry shelf. Could serve as a mentor text for a unit on weather, liquids & solids, water, or for a variety of writing mini lessons. This book has a wide age appeal because of the conversation and learning potential each page offers, for example the "salmon highway" or the "woodchuck warmer." I think it is impressive with few words and illustrations what the author and illustrator have offered in this book. The Resources in the back; More about Water, glossary, and further reading was a welcomed surprise.

Morning Sniff

Preston and I walk every morning before work. Wish I worked full time as a writer and could stay home with him and write all day in my studio. That's what dreaming big is all about, right? Some day.