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*Starred Review* Ehlert offers a highly visual presentation of her roots as an artist and her process as a writer and illustrator of picture books. She describes growing up with "parents who made things with their hands." They encouraged her to do the same, providing her with good tools and a place to work as well as leftover fabrics, buttons, and wood scraps. Later, she went to art school and began to create picture books. Simply written and inviting, the text leads readers to understand her approach to creating books as well as her hands-on involvement with art throughout her life. Ehlert guides readers through the making of picture books, including gathering ideas, writing, creating storyboards, and making collages." Illustrated with photos from her childhood, vivid artwork from her books, and found objects that she has incorporated into her collages, the colourful pages of this "portrait of the artist" are visually riveting. Creative children will find inspiration and encouragement here. And, short of a personal visit from the writer herself, this is the best resource available for any classroom doing an author/artist study on Ehlert and her distinctive books. Grades 1-4. --Carolyn Phelan
A 1932 poem from Fyleman (1877-1957) serves as a springboard for Ehlert's customarily striking handiwork. Such pointed verse as "I think mice/ are rather nice./ Their tails are long,/ their faces small./ They haven't any chins at all" is ripe for visual interpretation, and Ehlert's playfulness, wit, and exposition elevate the brief text to something to be savored more carefully. Ehlert's wide-eyed rodents are composed of collaged elements: textured, torn-paper triangles form faces and bodies (the fibrous edges of the handmade papers suggest fur), the mice's rectangular buck teeth convey a dopey cuteness, and their ropy legs are made of knotted and frayed string. As the mice scamper across the pages ("They nibble things they shouldn't touch") Ehlert labels the items they find, turning the story into an introduction to art supplies, household items, and food items that range from mangos and avocadoes to cereal and desserts (in one memorable scene, the duo dives headfirst into a pair of rainbow-sprinkled cupcakes). Better still, the surprise revelation of the poem's narrator provides a zingy sense of delight. Ages 3-5. Illustrator's agent: Eden Street Literary. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
PreS-Gr 1-This storytime winner brings a new twist to the classic poem. The simple verse describes mousey attributes: "their tails are long,/their faces small,/they haven't any chins at all." Ehlert's quirky, handmade paper-collage rodents (resplendent with hot pink circle ears, big front teeth, and string limbs) demonstrate by holding up a ruler, crafting a self-portrait, and peering into a mirror. They scamper over vegetables as they "run about the house," dive nose-first into frosted cupcakes, and "nibble things they shouldn't touch." The jet black backgrounds highlight the large, white text and make the nighttime escapades of the mice appear three-dimensional. A surprise ending reveals the narrator to be a grinning feline. Preschoolers will undoubtedly agree that "Mice are rather nice."-Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"Lois Ehlert utilizes her exceptional artistic style in this autobiographical work about her life and her art. This book is full of vivid color and various media. . . . Young children will be kept busy for hours looking at the pictures. This work would also work well as beginner nonfiction in the biography section or for an art lesson, especially as a Common Core and cross-curricular selection." * Library Media Connection, October 2014, Recommended * "Those who enjoy getting a glimpse into the creative lives of artists and writers will appreciate the insider's perspective Ehlert provides. . . eye-catching and vibrant. . . a pleasant and accessible addition to a unit on artists or writers." * Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 2014 * * "Ehlert continues to enchant children with her inventive picture books. In this charming autobiography, she gives readers a fascinating glimpse into her creative process and her considerable talents as both an author and an illustrator are on full display. . . . Each and every page pops with her signature collages as she gives examples of her various techniques. . . . This book will attract browsers, thrill children who already love her work, be the perfect complement to an author/illustrator study, and is a stellar introduction to graphic design at its finest. A small masterpiece that is a delight for the eye and ear." * School Library Journal, March 2014, *STARRED REVIEW * * "This succinct memoir is just right for a five-year-old, yet meaty enough to inspire adults. In it, [Lois Ehlert] reveals the sources of her ideas, her planning stages and her wonderful collections of words, photos, paints and fabric swatches.... The author-artist reveals "I'm messy when I work. My wastebaskets overflow," encouraging children to embrace their passions and try new things.... Ehlert shares not only studies for her books (which children will certainly seek out after examining these pages) but also lessons for a life well lived--observing, collecting, playing and creating. Brava!" * Shelf Awareness, March 2014, *STARRED REVIEW * * "In a generously illustrated picture book memoir, Ehlert speaks directly to her audience.... Ehlert emerges as a woman who lives a good life surrounded by the objects and colors that make her happy. She wants the same for her readers, ending the book with "I wish you a colorful life!"" * Horn Book Magazine, March/April 2014, *STARRED REVIEW * * "Ehlert employs her signature collage technique and images from her past work to explore her lifelong relationship with creating art in this open and encouraging picture-book memoir. . . . It's an inviting inside look at Ehlert's extensive backlist and how the books were made, with nearly every page making it clear to readers that this kind of creation is well within their reach." * Publishers Weekly, January 2014, *STARRED REVIEW * "Scraps-of art supplies, of finished illustrations, of techniques and of memory-overlap in this blend of memoir and artistic how-to. . . . Tackling common questions, she frames art as eminently doable. . . . Readers will scurry to collage household and backyard tidbits; pair this with Ehlert's other work for maximum satisfaction." * Kirkus Reviews, December 2013 * * "Ehlert offers a highly visual presentation of her roots as an artist and her process as a writer and illustrator of picture books. . . . Simply written and inviting, the text leads readers to understand her approach to creating books as well as her hands-on involvement with art throughout her life. . . visually riveting. Creative children will find inspiration and encouragement here." * Booklist, January 2014, *STARRED REVIEW *