Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Favorite picture book of the week: "You can only make a masterpiece if you're willing to make a mess"

This week, my favorite picture book is another collaboration between Lenore Look and Yumi Heo, Polka Dot Penguin Pottery about a young girl's trip to a paint-your-own-pottery store to overcome her writer's block. Lenore Look is the author of the Alvin Ho beginning chapter book, and she has created another picture book with illustrator Yumi Heo, Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding.

I love the calendar style binding of this fun, festive book: it opens vertically like Mark Reibstein's Wabi Sabi and Heo's bold mixed media illustrations capitalize on this design. Aspen Colorado Kim Chee Lee (her "nom de plume," as she says) is one of the most likable kid artist characters, with endearingly excited and unique turns of phrases: "Suddenly, I'm so excited, I can't answer. My words are swirling around the shop and I cannot catch them." I also love her family: her grandparents Gung Gung and Poh Poh with her drooly little sister Olivia are wonderfully supportive to her struggles to make a perfect painted egg.

For more books on creative kids (and lizards), try Tomie DePaola's The Art Lesson or David Wiesner's Art & Max.

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