Monday, July 18, 2011

Kids Eye View: The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Suzy)

Ah summer!  So brief and fleeting.  And I really mean that because this is about the second day of summer we've had so far, and it was stretching definitions as it is.  The boys spent the day at the pool; the older ones swam and the younger one busied himself with toys, snacks, and back rubs.  He, like me, seems to demand a minimum 25C before plunging into the wet.

Another nonfiction picture book that I enjoyed only because the Cybils Nonfiction Picture Book finalist list prompted me to find it is Barbara Kerley's The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy), illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham.  This biography builds itself around topics his daughter Susy wrote in her journal, encouraged by her father.  So the text includes both frequent quotes by Susy (I assume the bolded words in quotation marks are from her) and small inserts in the form of tiny books that contain larger quotes from her journal.  It was too bad that these extracts were printed in a cursive font, which my fourth grader can read but doesn't enjoy, but as we read the book together I took most of the cursive writing while he read the printed copy.  My sixth seventh grader read the book to himself and I forgot to ask if he skipped the cursive parts.  It seems to be a dying art among the key board generation.

The illustrations help jolly along the text, giving bold and giant sized pictures that played with size and perspective.  We had fun reading it, but it didn't really stick afterward; I think it took us two or three nights because bedtime starts so late when the sun forgets to start setting until long after dinner.

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