Saturday, October 15, 2011

We had a busy reading week. Smarty read a number of Halloween books, some long chapter books, and we have completed our read-aloud for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We both loved the book, and I was surprised to discover how far a creepy Johnny Depp character in the movie departed from Willy Wonka of the book. But I digress – back to the books.
This week Smarty had another Leo Lionni book as her reading assignment – Frederick. I am surprised that we missed this book before – it’s awesome (it also happens to be a Caldecott book). Interestingly, my husband and I had a bit of debate about the message – he felt that Frederick was lazy in the beginning of the book, but I liked the dreamy quality of illustrations and a little delightful poem in the end of the book. Smarty rated the book as “very good” – she is quite a critic and rarely gives her books “great” rating. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, however, was rated “great” by her.
Matthew Dream
Matthew’s Dream was my favorite from Leo Lionni’s mouse books, and it worked pretty well with our artist of the month who happens to be Pablo Picasso. There is a great transition in the book from the dreary poor world in the beginning to a colorful rich world of imagination. No conflict, and a happy ending – just what my daughter likes. She declared this book “great”, but was a bit confused with abstract drawings – clearly she could use more exposure to these styles.
Wind Up Mouse
Alexander and the Wind Up Mouse is probably the first one in the series and also a Caldecott Winner. It’s a sadder tale of two friends each of them having difficulties of their own. Smarty was relieved in the end when she learned that these two friends will not be separated. I really like the simple but expressive way of Leo Lionni’s mice drawings – something that I want to try and replicate with daughter when the time allows.
Fish is Fish
When Smarty looked at the cover of this book, she predicted that it will be about the fish that wanted to fly. It was pretty close – this fish wanted to see life on land. In the end he learns to appreciate the beauty of his own home, but I personally think that it’s sort of sad that his heroic efforts didn’t yield results. The illustration style is different from mouse books, the pictures are more detailed. We liked it less than the other three, but it’s still a very nice read for young children.


Christy said...

We own a lot of Leo Lionni books - LOVE him!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a book that we loved reading aloud too! I like the original movie, but you are right about the latest one being creepy. I am not a fan of any Tim Burton movies - just too dark and weird for me.

Ticia said...

I actually didn't want to see the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie specifically because the first movie from the 70s was a fairly decent adaptation, and I still felt it wasn't like the original.

There are two sequels two Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of which I know Anna will hate because it's kinda scary, but I can't remember what it's called.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Tim Burton has destroyed, or creeped out, a number of fun children's stories.

Autumn said...

We love Leo Lionni books! I'm with Lars...I think Frederick is lazy and doesn't deserve any food that the other mice worked to gather. ;-) We're currently reading Inch by Inch.

I agree with you on the creepy Willy Wonka movie. I don't think either movie (the old one or the new one) depicts Willy Wonka quite like the book does.

Mom and Kiddo said...

I've read A LOT of Lionni's books, but never Frederick! I am missing out!

Debbie said...

While I like Johnny Depp I too did not care for the remake of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory that he was in. I love the book and did enjoy the first movie.

Katie said...

We have loved the Leo Lionni books we've read so far.


MaryAnne said...

I've never heard of "Matthew's Dream", but it sounds like a great story.

Shauna said...

I LOVE how I spelled friendly wrong on my link post. Geesh...I must be tired! I do however love linking up to your party. We just love children's books at our home.

Jackie H. said...

I love Frederick... especially his poem that he shares at the end. I love when Logan chooses that as a bedtime story. It's so relaxing to read.

Cortney said...

I have such love for Leo Lionni, and for Frederick, too. He was especially easy to make into felt for story boards! We haven't read Charlie yet, but I felt the same way with regards to the movie after reading the Wizard of Oz series with my son. The books were so much better!

hey said...

Looove Leo Lionni, his characters and his messages. I adore Swimmy and admire his problem solving.

The language and water color art combine to bring the underwater world to life. Can't get enough of this classic.


Julie said...

I feel like I've been living under a rock because I don't think we've red anything by Leo Lionni before! Obviously I need to find some of his books at the library this weekend!