Sunday, July 15, 2012

Our Absolute Favorite Author/Illustrator

I have always loved books. My entire life I have been fascinated with them, the beauty of them.  I was an advanced reader at a young age and just wouldn't put books down.  I still find myself doing that, although in the past few years it is usually Childrens' Picture books that catch my fancy.  Of course, these do combine two of my favorite things: literature and art.  

Picture books can be truly engaging, educational and beautiful.  My husband and I spend a lot of time reading books to our children, ages 2 and 5.  They in turn spend a lot of time curled up with their favorite books.  Our 5 year old, Greysen, is just grasping basic reading skills, so a whole new world of reading is opening up to him.  Camden, our precocious 2 year old, will rarely sit still, but loves to sit in front of the bookcase and "read" all of the books - her often word-for-word retelling is amazing.

I think books hold an amazing power for children to learn and grow.  Not simply for the language skills, but also the life lessons.  I will try to label all of the books that I post so that the topics covered are easier to access.  My local librarians are incredibly helpful when it's come to finding books on particular topics: sharing, anger, loss, bullying.  I have looked in the past for a website to help me find great books within these topics, but have found none.  If you know of any, please share them here.  

What better way to start this blog than with our favorite author/illustrator, Charles Fuge. This does not cover one particular topic, but we enjoy his books so thoroughly that he must be the first thing that we share.

I believe our first encounter with Charles Fuge was with his book I Know a Rhino.  We happened upon it at the local library and oh what fun!  

"I know a Rhino, We like to take tea, I have two sugars, and Rhino has three"

Very simple rhyming and fun animal illustrations.  That is probably what we love most about Fuge's books.  I don't know a child that doesn't adore animals and his illustrations certainly make the animals adorable.  

Sadly, this book is out of print, but you can find it at the library or in used format (that's where I got our copy).

When I discover an author/illustrator that I love, I enjoy searching out their other literature.  We have found that we like (and subsequently own) nearly everything that Fuge has written/illustrated.  

Bedtime Hullabaloo! is by far our favorite book.  Written by David Conway and illustrated by Charles Fuge, Bedtime Hullabaloo! is just so much darn fun.  While I've read some critics feel that the alliteration and wordplay is uneven, my whole family thinks it is great fun.  

"One night on the silly savannah a ludicrous leopard is leapfrogging to bed..."

Greysen and Camden can recite the whole book (and can tell someone when they've read it incorrectly!).  We plan to share it at a Campfire Stories event at our library this week.

Once again, Fuge's illustrations are playful and amusing images of animals.  

We have read every book on the list below of Fuge's works and loved them all.  His earlier works are not as playful, the animal illustrations are a little more realistic, but still beautiful.   We usually give gifts of books and those pictured here are top choice!

Greysen and Camden's review of all of the above books: "We love the animals and the stories that have stuffed animals.  We love the animals.  We love the animals!"

I tried to label each book as to the main topics or themes covered.  I will likely revisit many of these books in future posts.  

Charles Fuge Illustrated Books
Title Author Labels
Whale is Stuck/Whale Gets Stuck Hayles, Karen cooperation, problem solving
Flea's Best Friend Fuge, Charles dogs
Dinosaurs! : a spot-the-difference puzzle book Parker, Steve puzzle
Sam's Sneaker Search O'Brien, Claire lost, found, shoes
My dad! Fuge, Charles dad, father
It's a Monster Party!  Pym, Tasha  differences, new friends
I Know a Rhino Fuge, Charles bedtime, animals, rhyme
Trumpet: the little elephant with a big temper Clarke, Jane temper, tantrum, anger
I Love It When You Smile McBratney, Sam  bad day, bad mood, smiling
Yes We Can! McBratney, Sam  individuality, friendship
This is the Way Fuge, Charles animal sounds, animal actions
Yip!Snap!Yap! Fuge, Charles sounds
Astonishing Animal ABC Fuge, Charles ABC, alphabet, animals
Bedtime Hullabaloo Conway, David  bedtime
Three Little Dinosaurs Fuge, Charles flight, dinosaurs, friends
Wombat Series:
Sometimes I Like to Curl up in a Ball Churchill, Vicki favorite things, bedtime
Found You, Little Womat! McAllister, Angela  getting lost, being found
Swim, Little Wombat, Swim! Fuge, Charles making new friends, differences
Where To, Little Wombat! Fuge, Charles adventure, home
The Adventures of Little Wombat multiple (includes the first four books)
Watch Out, Little Wombat! Fuge, Charles imagination, monsters
Gilbert Series:
Gilbert the Great Clarke, Jane loss, making new friends
Gilbert in Deep Clarke, Jane fearless, danger, adventure
Gilbert the Hero Clarke, Jane baby, brother

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