Thursday, February 7, 2013

Three Pebbles and a Song by Eileen Spinelli



One of last week’s posts inspired my choice this week. If there is anyone who comes close to writing an unending series of perfect picture books, in my opinion that person is Eileen Spinelli. I was fortunate to hear her speak at a NJ-SCBWI conference where she talked about her writing process. It was good to know that although the final product looks effortless, she works as hard at her craft as the rest of us and (hard to believe) still gets rejections.

The image is dark-trust me, the mouse is adorable!

Author: Eileen Spinelli

Illustrator: S.D.Schindler

Publisher: Dial Books For Young Readers, 2003

Audience: Ages 4-7

Theme: Self-esteem, cooperation

Opening:"Across the moonlit fields crackly old leaves twirled and skittered. And so did Moses." (the mouse)

What I LOVE about this book: Writers are often admonished not to have messages or get preachy. Ms. Spinelli has masterfully crafted a story that demonstrates in a concrete way how members in a family can all contribute and be important to the family unit. This is a story where practicality and artistry find common meeting ground. There is no preaching, just a beautiful, lyrical story told with enough repetition to make the descriptive language easily grasped by young readers.

Activities/Resources: I couldn't find anybody who had already posted activities specific to this book. I think the book lends itself to talking about what three things a child would want to have with them if they were trapped in the house during a blizzard-- appropriate with the upcoming weather forecast! For older readers, this might be a chance to explore juggling! A family activity could involve having everyone list one way each other family member is important. The story takes place in a harvest setting, so an outdoor scavenger hunt could be fun.

I hope folks who haven't read this book will give it a look!


25 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good read for this weekend's blizzard!

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    1. I refuse to believe the forecasts...at least it's a weekend so we can all hunker down if we need to.

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  2. She is the queen of Perfect Picture Books. Well, maybe a princess, as Susanna is queen. :)

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    1. Can't there be more than one Queen?! The book kingdom is large. I know that's what I aspire to.

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    2. Even in 'real life' there is more than one! Stacy you're too funny!

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  3. You just can't go wrong with Spinelli. That opening line is pitch perfect *sigh*.

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  4. I keep seeing Spinelli books reviewed and they all look so beautiful. Must check them out at the library!

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    1. This one is my favorite. Of course, that may be because she signed it for me!

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  5. We love Moses ... and you activity ideas. I wrote a review with a few activities (after using it at my school) here: http://www.fisdk12.net/wb/character/ccmonthacts_response.html

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    1. Good to know! The more ideas, the merrier!

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  6. o-o-o-ooh ... I just love the title and the cover art. Gotta find this one!

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    1. This is a simple story, cutting right to the heart.

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  7. I like the themes presented in this book! I've heard so much about the Spinellis but haven't read any of Eileen's books yet. I must start. :)

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    1. This is one of the books where the illustrations feel like museum art.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this one, Wendy. I don't know this book...but will definitely try to get a copy at the library...I've read some of her guest posts/interviews...she is a special lady.

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    1. She is charming and so-o knowledgeable.

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  10. Looks like a sweet book with a really important message. It's never too soon to get that message out there. Thanks, Wendy!

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  11. Thanks - got it on hold now. Can't wait to see how Schindler's art meets Spinelli's!

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  12. This looks like a must- read. I love your activity suggestions, as well. (I like it when there are activities suggested by the reviewer -- I sometimes wonder about using links, although I do it all the time, because if for some reason the post it links to is taken down, there won't be an activity there. I guess that's the chance we take. Long winded way of saying "great activiy suggestions!)

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