A blog by children's book author Michelle Markel about books, teaching and writing.
Monday, August 31, 2009
So here at The Cat and The Fiddle thoughts drift to the end of summer, of summer fruit, and fresh fruit pies. Which brings back memories of EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (Viking), a perfect confection of a children’s book.
My daughters and I loved the sweet and humorous illustrations, the little poems, the hunt for the hidden nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters, and the comforting ending where the whole gang eats their wedge of plum pie together on a checkered tablecloth under the fruit trees. (What a classic last scene, characters communing over food...)
I’m a fan of fairy tale retellings, (including fresh POVs), but this book revealed how characters behave in their down time, when they’re not busy resolving conflict in their narratives. It was a surprise, for me, that Robin Hood, Cinderella, The Three Bears, Mother Hubbard, Tom Thumb, Jack and Jill, Baby Bunting and even the Wicked Witch were all part of the same social network. I suspect I’m not alone in wanting to know more about the secret lives of these beloved characters. Who’s eating tarts with whom. “Behind the Nursery Rhymes” if you will.
And while we’re on the subject, why don’t we hire these kid lit celebrities to liven up some “story problems” in the classroom. If Cinderella arrives at the ball at 10:15, how much time will she have before her coach turns back into a pumpkin?
More on story and math, later. I’m going out for one last piece of peach pie, before summer's over.
Michelle Markel's books for children span a variety of genres including fiction, non-fiction and creative non-fiction. Her critically acclaimed biographies include BRAVE GIRL: CLARA AND THE SHIRTWAIST MAKERS' STRIKE OF 1909 and THE FANTASTIC JUNGLES OF HENRI ROUSSEAU. Michelle teaches a class in Writing the Picture Book at UCLA Extension's Writers Program and is a founding member of CAN!, the Children’s Authors Network.
BRAVE GIRL: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
My Latest Artist Biography
THE FANTASTIC JUNGLES OF HENRI ROUSSEAU:Illustrated by Amanda Hall
Honors for The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau: 2013 PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing, Junior Library Guild, one of the New York Public Library's 100 Titles for Reading for Sharing, Booklist's Top Ten Arts Books for Youth, top 10 picture books of 2012 by The Guardian UK, a Bank St. College of Education Best Children's Book of 2013, Parents' Choice Gold Award, Red Clover Nominee.
Illustrated by Doug Cushman
For information about school visits and other types of presentations visit my website.