Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy Birthday David Small - February 12

Happy Birthday David Small - February 12

Imagine a stack of one million books.  Now imagine that they are all the same book. (For my friends in the 12 x 12 Writing Challenge, just for fun, imagine the book as a published form of one of your own manuscripts. Ahhhh.......OK! Back to reality!)  Actually, the enormous stack of books you are imagining is Imogene's Antlers by David Small. It has sold over 1,000,000 copies since 1985 and has been translated into Italian and French (NCCIL). As I write this, I wonder how many times those million books were read aloud and how many children smiled because of it -- AMAZING! I was pretty excited when I found one of the million copies at a used book sale and saved it for for this week's birthday celebration.

David Small has illustrated over 40 books for children during a career that began after a college friend told him that, "the doodles he made on the telephone pad were better than anything he had ever written." (davidsmallbooks.com) This statement convinced him to abandon writing plays and pursue art. In 1998, David Small and his wife Sarah Stewart were awarded a Caldecott Honor for their book, The Gardener -- which is one of many books the two have worked on together (The Money Tree, The Library, The Journey, and The Friend).  Success continued for Small in 2001 when he was awarded the Caldecott Medal for So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George.  He told CNN that he thought the book would be, "an interesting way to combine.. the work I've done in books for children and the work that I've done for magazines like The New Yorker and newspapers like the Times and Washington Post." My daughter really liked this book because of the all the factual information and stories about the Presidents, however the length was a bit much for my 4 year old son -- however, he loved the Scholastic Storybook Treasures animation of the book.

David Small said in an interview with Big Think, "I wrote a book called Imogene's Antlers, which I think it a good example of a book that kids and their parents enjoy.  What I try to do in my picture books, is to be all-inclusive, but not exclusive, to not exclude the kids and not exclude the parents from the experience."  We couldn't agree more with David Small because all of us enjoyed Imogene's Antlers this week. This story is about a young girl that wakes up with a large set of antlers on her head.  Initially, Imogene had some difficulty with the antlers, but soon she is tolerant of her new appearance -- licking a lollipop as the doctor checks her out and sharing donuts with the birds.  It was Imogene's mother that really took issue with the antlers -- fainting numerous times and attempting to disguise the antlers with a giant hat.  But, for Imogene she really enjoyed her day with antlers and went to bed with a smile on her face. There is a surprise ending and I will not spoil it for those who haven't read the book!
We had a little time before dinner so I grabbed a whole bunch of pipe cleaners and a few headbands  from my daughter's room.
The task was to make our own antlers.  First, the kids twisted the pipe cleaners around the headband.  Then, they bent and added additional pipe cleaners to make the tallest set of antlers they could.  In the book, Imogene's brother determined that his sister had the antlers of an elk, which in real life can be over four feet high!
My son was hilarious when he was wearing his antlers - galloping around the room and making funny faces!
His enthusiasm spread to his brother.
We pretended to wake up with antlers on our head! This photo looks remarkably similar to David Small's illustration on page 1 -- don't you think? :)
Check out David Small's latest book, One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo which was released on January 10, 2012:




Links:
1. David Small's Website
2. David Small Biography - NCCIL, Macmillan
3. So You Want to Be a Great Children's Illustrator? - Big Think  + more videos with David Small
4. David Small Finds a Voice in a Graphic Memoir - NY Times
5. An Evening with David Small Grand Rapids Public Library - YouTube Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
6.  David Small talks about Caldecott Medal - CNN
7.  Jim Averbeck interviews David Small - YouTube

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