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
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
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
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