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Rain Fish

Reviewed by Administrator on September 18, 2016.
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The alleyways of Wisconsin and the penetratinglyl wise eyes of Lois Ehlert have created another masterpiece.  I was fortunate enough to hear Lois speak at a lunch at the ALA 2016 Convention in Orlando as she described how her neighbors now understand her adventures in her alley near her home where she discovers her treasures here-to-fore known as other people's trash.

Lois' utter delight in the wondrous artistic potential in the mundane tossed and lost objects in the world around us has clearly inspired her and led her to day after day of discovery and celebration. At this point I think a champagne toast is in order.  

It is her deepest hope that children will follow her down this beloved and well-trod path to the beautiful natural world around them and the phenomenal gifts and surprises just ahead.

978-1-4814-6152-8   40 pages  Ages  4-8

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com

****************

“There’s  some satisfaction in the San Francisco rain
No  matter what comes down the Mission always looks the same.”
--Robert  Hunter, “MIssion in the Rain,” 1976


“When  blue sky turns gray and it rains all day,
that's  when rain fish come out and play.
They  hide in debris until rain sets them free.
Do  you see them, too? Or is it just me? ......."

Lois Ehlert  RAIN FISH





Since  the late 1980s, when Lois Ehlert illustrated CHICKA CHICKA BOOM
BOOM, one of the  most notable children’s picture books of all time, I’ve
always paid attention to  her latest work. She always seems to be challenging
herself to move in new  directions and go further, building upon what she’s
done before.


Beginning  in 1995 with the nuts, seeds, and other objects in SNOWBALLS,
Ms. Ehlert has  sometimes utilized three-dimensional materials in her books. I
really loved the  cardboard tree bark and mulchy soil in her 2004 book PIE
IN THE SKY. For the  2012 book MICE, in which she illustrates the joyful
1932 Rose Fyleman poem,  Ehlert employs string for limbs and a zip lock bag
that her pesky mice literally  get into.


In  RAIN FISH, a story about gutter garbage floating down the street
looking like  fish swimming by, Ehlert crafts her own poem and goes much further
than she has  before, employing found three dimensional objects as part of
her collage  illustrations.


The  result is an eye-catching picture book that a kid can spend a lot of
time  staring at, identifying the wide variety of junk that Ms. Ehlert has
put to use  in creating her rain fish swimming by. There’s everything from one
of those  plastic hooks they use to hang up packages of socks in Target, to
dried orange  peelings and pieces of the orange plastic netting used for
selling bags of  oranges in the supermarket.

There are crumpled newspapers and
parts of old  cardboard boxes, bottle caps, crushed soda cans, feathers,
shells, bark, and  cheap, broken jewelry.


Many  parents and educators who are fortunate to find RAIN FISH will use it
as  inspiration for students creating collages with found objects. They can
also use  it for talking about scarce resources, the waste stream, and
recycling.


I  particularly love the dreaminess of the poem, which reminds me of
sailing scraps  of 2x4s down the curb as a little kid.

Now  that we're headingback into our rainy season,

I look forward to putting  my imagination to work

the next time I’m down on Mission Street or Valencia  Street, stepping out of
the car into a downpour and pausing to watch rain fish  washing along the
curb, heading for environs unknown.


Recommended by:  Richie  Partington, MLIS, California USA


See more of Richie's  Picks:  (http://richiespicks.com/)

 
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