Our youngest granddaughter Parker, a second-grader and voracious reader, recently said with pride, “I don’t read picture books anymore, Mee Mee. I read chapter books.”
“You’re never too old for picture books, Parker,” I said. “Even adults like me still read them.” And I do — even if my job didn’t involve helping choose books for Book Buzz, I’d still be a picture book fan.
Picture books are an art form — many have museum quality illustrations accompanying a touching story, others have funny, cartoonish pictures and a laugh out loud tale that cracks you up from first page to last. For me there’s no greater joy than sharing one of these page turners with a child — in a classroom, or with a snuggle bunny at bedtime.
A Unique Opportunity
November is picture book month, and this Saturday, area folks will have the opportunity to meet three picture book authors at Neighborhood Reads in Downtown Washington when the bookstore hosts Books for Breakfast from 9 a.m. to 11. The event is open to all.
Those attending will be introduced to quality stories, and take some home too — review copies of books will be given away as door prizes. Throughout the day, teachers also will receive a 25 percent discount on books they purchase.
Quite a Lineup
Tracy Maurer, an author who visited Washington recently, will be back to talk about “John Deere, That’s Who!” and “Noah Webster’s Fighting Words.” She’ll be accompanied by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, author of “Creekfinding: A True Story.”
Martin also wrote “Snowflake Bentley,” a Caldecott Medal winner, and “The Chiru of High Tibet,” both previous Book Buzz Picks, as well as a number of other picture books.
Rounding out the event is Phyllis Root, author of “Anywhere Farm,” illustrated by G. Brian Karas. It’s their first collaboration but Root has authored many other picture books, and Karas is a prolific and award-winning illustrator.
“Anywhere Farm,” is written in verse, the details of planting delivered in steps that encourage youngsters to set seeds anywhere they can — the pages adorned with expressive, soft illustrations of cute kids engaged in the growing process, everything from planting seeds to harvesting produce, making for colorful spreads and text that’s sure to delight.
A Review of “Creekfinding”
While there’s not space in this column to include a review of each book the authors will talk about Saturday, I’m including one on “Creekfinding” because the subject is close to my heart – having been a real creek lover as a kid.
Many of us recall the allure of a rippling stream and the activities it spawned —from skipping rocks, to nabbing crawdads, and diverting the creek’s flow with a dam that would make a beaver envious.
“Creekfinding: A True Story,” is certain to awaken memories in older folks and have youngsters pining for all the fun a creek provides.
This inspiring tale is revealed in short, accessible passages, questions and answers providing the key to how a creek in Iowa disappeared. It seems a farmer wanted more land to plant in corn, and covered over “a spring that burbled out of the ground and rumbled itself across a prairie valley.”
Scratch art by Claudia McGehee is the perfect accompaniment to this miraculous story — text and illustrations taking young readers through the stages of bringing the creek back to life — a project a man named Mike undertook, as he marked the creek’s path using an old photograph and then called in heavy machinery to excavate the land and find “the old stream.”
Once they struck water, Mike painstakingly worked to help the creek support new life because “ . . . a creek isn’t just water. It’s plants, rocks, bugs, fish and birds.”
With patience and passion, the process paid off, in this environmentally engaging story of hope and the tenacity of spirit those who care about the Earth possess — their commitment restores our planet to its natural beauty. How grateful we are for their contributions.
And how grateful we are to welcome three picture book authors to our community — it should be a fun day. Hope to see you there.