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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Tag Archives | Eric Rohmann

Bookstorm™: Giant Squid

Giant Squid Bookstorm

Giant SquidGiant Squid provides an excellent opportunity to teach about one of the most mythical, unknown, and yet real creatures on earth, the Giant Squid. The incredible illustrations by Eric Rohmann help the reader’s perception of how large this deep sea creature is and how mysterious. Found so deep within the sea, there is very little light. How did Eric Rohmann create the sense of this water darkness and the release of ink, a defense mechanism? How did Candace Fleming write with spare text and yet tell us so many fascinating details about the Giant Squid?

Our Bookstorm will take you into further exploration, studying bioluminescence, other deep sea creatures, ocean ecology, oceanographers, and more.

There are excellent resources in the back matter of the book as well. We trust you will find inspiration and resources aplenty within the Bookstorm to accompany your study of Giant Squid. 

Downloadable

You’ll find more information about Candace Fleming on her website. And read about illustrator Eric Rohmann on his website.

There’s a Teaching Guide available for Giant Squid, written by naturalist Lee Ann Landstrom.

BOOKSTORM TOPICS

  • Bioluminescence
  • Deep Sea Creatures
  • Fiction
  • Giant Squid, in particular
  • Oceans
  • Relative Size
  • Scientific Exploration

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

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Skinny Dip with Eric Rohmann

 

Today we welcome author, illustrator, and Caldecott medalist Eric Rohmann to Bookology. He agreed to give us the skinny on several topics of vital importance.

Which celebrity, living or not, do you wish would invite you to a coffee shop?

Darwin, Newton, William Blake … and so many others I’ll need a big coffee shop.

Which book do you find yourself recommending passionately?

The Lost CarvingLately, The Lost Carving by David Esterly.

What’s your favorite late-night snack?

Popcorn.

Favorite city to visit?

Vienna, New York, Paris, Madrid, Singapore … still gonna need a big coffee house in each one.

Most cherished childhood memory?

Traveling in the American west.

First date?

Sometime in the fog of High School.

Illustrator’s work you most admire?

Like a person could name just one!

red mug of coffeeTea? Coffee? Milk? Soda? What’s your favorite go-to drink?

Coffee.

Favorite season of the year? Why?

Autumn. Clear, cool, and colorful.

What’s your dream vacation?

The next one I have planned … so many places to see!

What gives you shivers?

Good shivers: watching dogs run, Bad shivers: conservative talk radio.

Morning person? Night person?

Morning.

Painting you could look at again and again.

Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights; any Rembrandt self-portrait; Cezanne’s apples; Delacroix’s The Death of Sardanopolus … lots of wall space in the coffee shop!

gr_garden_of_earthly_delights

Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights

What’s your hidden talent?

I can cook well, a little.

Milk DudsYour favorite candy as a kid …

Milk Duds.

Is Pluto a planet?

Is Brontosaurus really just a big Apatosaurus?

What’s the strangest tourist attraction you’ve visited?

Haw Par Villa in Singapore.

Har Paw Villa

Har Paw Villa

Brother and sisters or an only child? How did that shape your life?

Brother and sister. Good: I was never alone. Bad: I was never alone.

Best tip for living a contented life?

Be curious.

Your hope for the world?

Wishing for anything but peace would just be selfish.

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Perspective

Pippi LongstockingAt Bookology, we believe the adage about “the right book for the right reader.” Those are not necessarily the books that we see in advertisements, in the bloggers’ buzz, or on award lists. Only by listening to each other, and especially to kids, talk about books do we find those gems our hearts were looking for but didn’t know existed.

When you think about your favorite books, what’s your perspective? Do you remember the story first? The characters? The cover? The illustrations?

For many of us, it’s the book cover. Yesterday, I was looking for books about cats. I wanted to recommend some classics. I remember a book from the 1960s that had a boy and a cat on the cover. Both of them were facing away from me, looking at a neighborhood. I remember that the cover is yellow. Do you know the book I’m talking about? I asked Steve, because he frequently talks about this book. When I described the cover, he knew right away: It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Cheney Neville. (I’m not publishing the cover here because I don’t want to give it away. Take a look at the bottom of this article.)

Often it’s the illustrations. Who can forget the thick black outlines of My Friend Rabbit? Or the clear, bright colors of My Heart is Like a Zoo? Or the pen and ink drawings of Lois Lenski?

gr_myheart

Sometimes it’s the characters. The book with the spider and the pig. That one with the adventurous red-haired girl with pigtails. That book where the high-school kids share their poetry in class. That autobiography of the author growing up in Cuba and the USA. Those characters are so memorable that, once read, we can’t forget them. (The book covers are posted at the end of this article.)

When we’re meeting with the Chapter & Verse book club each month, the last half-hour is a time to recommend books we’ve enjoyed. I always add to my reading list. Do you have an intentional, set-aside time for talking with other adults about the children’s books they’re reading and are thrilled to recommend? I particularly love it when they’re books that aren’t on the buzzers’ radar. I feel as though we’ve shared a secret.

Chapter & Verse Book Club, Redbery Books, Cable, Wisconsin

Chapter & Verse Book Club, Redbery Books, Cable, Wisconsin

I also hunt through the state lists. These are books that educators and librarians are choosing because they know they have kid appeal. So often, these are not books that have been on award lists … but they’re passed along, buzzed about among child readers, recommended by the adults in their lives.

State Choice Awards

Not all books need to be new. There are fabulous books hiding on the library shelves and in used bookstores. Do a subject search. It’s amazing what you can find by looking at a library catalog or doing an online search.

Everyone’s publishing booklists these days. How do you know which ones to follow? Do the titles resonate with you? Do you find yourself eagerly adding their suggestions to your TBR pile? Then bookmark those lists! Visit them frequently or sign up to receive notifications when they publish their next list.

The award books and books with stars are one way to find good books but don’t rely solely on those sources. Don’t forget the wealth of fabulous books that fly under the radar.

Talk to each other. Adult to adult. Child to adult. Child to child. Adult to child. Old or new. Hidden treasure or bestseller. We learn about the best books when we hear recommendations from another reader, another perspective.

books described in the article

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Interview: Candace Fleming

credit: Michael Lionstar

credit: Michael Lionstar

Bulldozer’s Big Day is a perfect read-aloud, with wonderful sound and action opportunities on most pages. Did those moments affect your decision about what verbs to use?

How lovely you think it’s a perfect read aloud. I worked hard at the story’s readability. Not only did I strive for a pace and cadence, but I wanted the story to sound as active as the plot’s setting with lots of bumping and clanging and vrooming. Additionally, I thought long and hard about those working verbs. You know, the shifting, mixing, chopping each truck does. They had to have a double-meaning, applying to both construction trucks and baking. And they had to be in groups of three, because… well… three just sounds good, doesn’t it?

While most readers and listeners will think the “Big Day” is a birthday, you never use that term. Why?

It was redundant.  Readers can see that the big trucks made a cake for Bulldozer’s sixth birthday. They don’t need me to tell them. Interestingly, every time I read the story aloud to kindergarteners they spontaneously burst into the “Happy Birthday” song. I’m not sure I’d get that response if I’d had the trucks shout the words. It’s one more way for them to find their way into the text – and I did it accidentally.

written by Candace Fleming  illustrated by Eric Rohmann  Atheneum, 2015

written by Candace Fleming 
illustrated by Eric Rohmann 
Atheneum, 2015

There is a perfect turn-around late in the story, when we go from “mashing, mashing, mashing” to a quieter moment, then the suspenseful “lifting, lifting, lifting.” This suggests to me that you are not only skilled at dramatic narrative, but a veteran classroom reader as you quiet the students down from that high-energy mashing to get ready for a resolution.  Do you remember your first author visit to a classroom? What have you learned over the years about reading your books aloud?

I do remember my first author visit. I was terrified. But the kids and teachers were so lovely, I was immediately put at ease. And this strange thing happened. I turned into an actor. Seriously. Standing in front of that library full of first graders, I suddenly discovered a talent for talking in voices and acting like different animals. Me?! I became a storyteller. That’s what I know from years of reading my books – and others’ – aloud. You have to be dramatic. You have to be suspenseful. You have to lick your chops if you’re reading about a hungry tiger, or wiggle your bottom if you’re reading about a puff-tailed rabbit. Kids love it. In truth, so do I.

Were you ever disappointed on a childhood birthday?

You mean that year I didn’t get a pony?

Do you enjoy birthday celebrations now?

Absolutely! I’m especially enamored of the cake. And don’t you dare ask me how old I’ll be on my next one.

 

 

 

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Interview: Eric Rohmann

Bulldozer’s Big Day
written by Candace Fleming
illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Atheneum, 2015

interview by Vicki Palmquist

What’s the illustration tool you turn to more than any other?

Graphite pencil. Simple, efficient, erasable, feels good in the hand, makes a lovely line with infinite possibilities for line variation. Did I mention that it’s erasable? Always forgiving!

What illustration technique haven’t you tried that keeps calling out to you?

Relief printmaking. The technique gives you so much—the quality of the mark, the layering of color look different than anything I can make with any other technique.

What do you do when you’ve run out of inspiration? What gets you going again?

Making something. Looking at something others have made. It’s a big world out there and there is plenty to see.

ph_EricRohmann-studio

Eric’s studio

Who is your favorite illustrator who is no longer with us? And it could be more than one person.

William Stieg…and  Helen Sewell, Wanda Gag, Maurice Sendak, Crockett Johnson, Robert McCloskey, Virginia Lee Burton, James Marshall…just to name a few.

Did winning the Caldecott (medal and honors) change how you think about your work?

Yes. It made me more attentive, more dedicated, more aware of my audience. It also took off the pressure of ever thinking about such things again!

How and where do you and Candy talk over a new project?

bk_OhNoEverywhere and anywhere. Bulldozer’s Big Day was begun on a car ride from Indianapolis to Chicago. Giant Squid at an ALA hotel room. Oh, No! in Borneo while walking in the jungle.

If you could sit down with four other book artists, living or dead, and have dinner and a conversation, who would they be?

This is not fair! Just four? Hmmm… William Stieg, Beatrix Potter, M.T. Anderson, Maurice Sendak. 

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Slideshow: Block Print Illustration

Eric Rohmann’s wonderful illustrations for Bulldozer’s Big Day were made using block prints, also called relief prints.  This technique has long been used to illustrate children’s books, especially early ABC books such as the The Ladder to Learning by Miss Lovechild, published in 1852 by the New York firm R.H. Pease.

Ladder

The Bookologist has put together a slide show of some of our more recent print-illustrated books. Many of these are Caldecott medal or honor books. You can find an interesting discussion of Caldecott books illustrated with printmaking techniques here.

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From the Editor

by Marsha Qualey

written by Candace Fleming  illustrated by Eric Rohmann  Atheneum, 2015

Atheneum, 2015

Welcome! It’s the first Tuesday of the month and time to launch a new month of Bookology. Our October Bookstorm™ has as its centerpiece the wonderful picture book Bulldozer’s Big Day, the first time we’ve focused on a picture book for young readers.

Bulldozer’s Big Day was written by Sibert honor author Candace Fleming and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Eric Rohmann. We will feature interviews with both, beginning today with our conversation with Eric Rohmann.

Rohmann’s block print art for Bulldozer triggered a discussion between various bookologists about other print-illustrated children’s books, and put together a slide show of some of the stand-outs of the last couple of decades. Have your own favorite? Let us know.

Our regular columnists will be writing through the month about their latest book or writing discoveries; today: Reading Ahead author Vicki Palmquist on Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart, a new middle grade novel by Jane St. Anthony and many other books that deal with “Laughter and Grief.”

Don’t forget to check out our two latest Authors Emeritus posts about Virginia Lee Burton and Lynd Ward, who both used block print techniques in their illustration work.  

bk_WillAllen

Eric Shabazz Larkin, illus.
Readers to Eaters, 2013

October is a month of change in the northern hemisphere, so why not change a world record? Two organizations are looking to claim the world record of most children-read-to-in-a-day.

On October 19, 2015, Points of Light, a Houston-based nonprofit, will attempt to establish a new world record by rallying volunteers to read to over 300,000 children in 24 hours. The campaign book for this attempt is Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, written by Bookology columnist Jackie Briggs Martin!

The current world record is held by the nonprofit Jumpstart, which in association with Candlewick Press, has for ten years run a global campaign, Read for the Record® that generates public support for high-quality early learning by mobilizing millions of children and adults to take part

Noah Z. Jones, illus. Candlewick, 2005

Noah Z. Jones, illus.

Candlewick, 2005

in the world’s largest shared reading experience. This year’s attempt is scheduled for October 22; the campaign book is Not Norman: A Goldfish Story, by Kelly Bennett.

And, finally, it is a truth universally acknowledged that any October issue of a magazine must include something related to Halloween.  We’ve got that covered with this month’s Two for the Show column: “What Scares You?,” in which Phyllis Root and Jackie Briggs Martin discuss the role of fear in books for young readers and spotlight a few books that deliver on a scary promise. Look for their conversation October 14.

As always, thank you for taking the time to visit Bookology.

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Bookstorm™: Bulldozer’s Big Day

Bookstorm-Bulldozer-Visual_655

written by Candace Fleming  illustrated by Eric Rohmann  Atheneum, 2015

written by Candace Fleming 
illustrated by Eric Rohmann 
Atheneum, 2015

It’s Bulldozer’s big day—his birthday! But around the construction site, it seems like everyone is too busy to remember. Bulldozer wheels around asking his truck friends if they know what day it is, but they each only say it’s a work day. They go on scooping, sifting, stirring, filling, and lifting, and little Bulldozer grows more and more glum. But when the whistle blows at the end of the busy day, Bulldozer discovers a construction site surprise, especially for him!

An ideal book for a read-aloud to that child sitting by you or to a classroom full of children or to a storytime group gathered together, Bulldozer’s Big Day is fun to read because of all the onomatopoeia and the wonderful surprise ending.

In each Bookstorm™, we offer a bibliography of books that have close ties to the the featured book. For Bulldozer’s Big Day, you’ll find books for a variety of tastes and interests. The book will be comfortably read to ages 3 through 7. We’ve included picture books, nonfiction, videos, websites, and destinations that complement the book, all encouraging early literacy.

Building Projects. There have been many fine books published about designing and constructing houses, cities, and dreams. We share a few books to encourage and inspire your young dreamers.

Construction Equipment. Who can resist listening to and watching the large variety of vehicles used on a construction project? You’ll find both books and links to videos.

Birthday Parties. This is the other large theme in Bulldozer’s Big Day and we suggest books such as Xander’s Panda Party that offer other approaches to talking about birthdays.

Dirt, Soil, Earth. STEM discussions can be a part of early literacy, too. Get ready to dish the dirt! 

Loneliness. Much like Bulldozer, children (and adults) can feel let down, ignored, left out … and books are a good way to start the discussion about resiliency and coping with these feelings.

Surprises. If you work with children, or have children of your own, you know how tricky surprises and expectations can be. We’ve included books such as Waiting by Kevin Henkes and Handa’s Surprise by Eileen Browne.

Friendship. An ever-popular theme in children’s books, we’ve selected a few of the very best, including A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by the Steads.

Let us know how you are making use of this Bookstorm™. Share your ideas and any other books you’d add to this Bookstorm™.

Downloadables

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creepybear.jpg

Chapter & Verse picks the winners … or not

In CLN’s Chapter & Verse, with six of our bookstores reporting, we had no clear winners for our mock Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz Awards. Steve and I have visited many of these locations, talking with the book club members. Each book club has its own character. The members bring different life experiences, different reading preferences, […]

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Monday Morning Roundup

A CLN welcome to author Cynthia Cotten, our newest member. Cyndy lives in Virginia. Her books include Rain Play (illus by Javaka Steptoe, Holt), Abbie in Stitches (illus by Beth Peck, FS&G), and Snow Ponies (illus by Jason Cockcroft, Holt). I’m looking forward to the Ramona and Beezus movie due to release on July 23rd. […]

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