At long last, the third book in this trilogy, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Scott Magoon, was published this week.
The first book is Spoon, published in 2009. I was immediately captivated by the clever story of a spoon who feels that he misses out on everything. Knife gets to spread, and fork goes practically everywhere. Chopsticks are cool and exotic. He’s just a plain old spoon. His mother tells him what his friends say, that he can measure, and dive into a bowl of ice cream head first. He learns to see himself in a whole new way.
This is the perfect book to read to a child who might have some self esteem or self confidence issues. And, doesn’t every child feel that way at times?
The second book, Chopsticks, was written in 2012. Chopsticks have never been apart and are best friends. While learning some fancy new culinary tricks, SNAP! A chopstick breaks his leg. “Chopstick was quickly whisked away” (to the doctor.) This subtle humor is carried throughout the book. Everyone waited. “No one stirred, not even spoon.” As chopstick heals, the other chopstick tells him to venture off and try new things. “Go. Chop, chop.” He learns there is much he can do alone, like pole vault and play Pick Up Sticks. Once his leg healed, the two could stand alone or stick together.
This is the perfect book to read to a child who is worried, or afraid to take a risk, or try something new.
In 2017, author Amy Krause Rosenthal passed away from cancer. She had written the third book in the trilogy before she died. This past weekend, illustrator Scott Magoon introduced the new book, Straw, at a local bookstore. He was terrific! Everyone laughed at the clever humor and play on words in the story. Besides reading, he drew illustrations, and included children in drawing.
Straw lives up to the reputation of the other two books. Straw has a big family and many friends, but “He has a great thirst for being first.” He zips through drinking and is ‘bent’ on always being first… until he races through a very cold drink and gets BRAIN FREEZE! He was feeling low until a friend came along and showed him not everything is a race. ” You gotta stop and smell the milk shake.” He learned to blow bubbles and see their rainbows (that was the illustration he drew, with children helping to draw the bubbles.) He shared all he had seen with his friends. “What you’re feeling is called awe, Straw.”
This is the perfect book to read to a child who always wants to be first or be the boss.
As he drew an amazing illustration of Straw and the bubbles, he suddenly stopped and said to the audience,
“Let’s help bend the world a little bit and blow bubbles in our glasses.”
Everyone knew what he meant. Take the time to pay attention and see beautiful things.
Straw has a sideways page. I remember vividly one from the (one and only) book my grandmother read to me, The Five Chinese Brothers. I’m glad to say a sideways page still holds the same awe for children.
I told Scott that his books were being read to hundreds and thousands of children. I told him he made a difference. Authors and illustrators need to hear this from the messenger, the one who reads their story aloud. That’s me. They need to know children connect and ‘get it’. They need to know their book has made a difference.
Okay, the book signing line was long, and my fellow teachers were giving me the hairy eyeball as I talked to Scott. Yet, Scott’s eyes said it all. He was deeply grateful and happy.
oh, I’ve read spoon, but not the others. can’t wait to read them!
They are excellent! Straw was just released February 4th.
At least I’m still getting your site in the Reader! 🙂
That’s a good thing! 🙂
These sound fantastic!!
You will love them, Ritu!
These books sound perfect! It is so true that authors and illustrators need to know their book has made a difference. Every time I hear from a reader or a teacher about how much they enjoyed reading my books and learning about other countries through Amanda´s adventures, it makes my day.
They are really good books, Darlene. I take every opportunity to tell an author or illustrator the difference they make. Yes, it’s so important. You know that firsthand!
Lovely presentation of three interesting children’s books, Jennie.
Thank you, Dina!
This is so wonderful, Jennie! I’m happy to know about these books and to look for them!
Thanks so much, Becky. 😀
I haven’t read any of these books. Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll look for them at the library soon.
You will like them, Deborah. Always glad to give a good book recommendation. 🙂
I love the sound of these, Jennie.
But most of all I now want to be able to use ‘the hairy eyeball’ in conversation! 🙂
Best wishes, Pete.
Thanks, Pete. Oh, mastering the hairy eyeball, or ‘the look’ is an art that mothers and teachers learn to master over time. 🙂
What a great way to get a message across to kids without that preachy tone too many books about values seem to take. Subtle is much better for kids(and for us too.)
Exactly! I call it the indirect approach. A head-on message, particularly with values, is never well received or as effective, especially in writing. These three books do it well, with humor.
Too bad those “value” books sell so well.
I know! Makes me crazy.
Thank you for taking us with you, Jennie. Hairy eyeball or no I agree Scott looked pleased.
I’m glad you came along, John. Scott was definitely pleased, it was the long line of people waiting to meet him and get their book signed that raised the hairy eyeball. 😀
Let’em eat cake.
Nice that you could have the illustrator there. Sad that the author couldn’t be there to see.
I know, and I felt the same way. The illustrator did a wonderful job of talking about the author and how they collaborated with all the books, especially on this last one.
The books sound amazing!
They are, and thank you!
What a really great series, such worthy topics handled with humour and sensitivity … many adults need to read these!
You hit the nail on the head, Kate. Not only are they really good, adults enjoy them as much as children.
I did mean that many adults need that lesson or insight Jennie …
Yes, they definitely do. I knew you meant that, Kate. 🙂
I know some writers/illustrators don’t feel comfortable in public speaking situations, but these opportunities are the absolute best way to connect with children. While authors/illustrators must hear from teachers that their books matter, the most explicit message comes from a room full of engaged kids. I’m glad you got a chance to tell Scott in person, Jennie.
Here is that TED talk I was mentioning to you before about Rita Pearson if you never got a chance to watch it. She is brilliant and inspiring. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFnMTHhKdkw
Yes, they are the best opportunities. Most I have heard are very good, including Scott Magoon. I was really glad to tell him that he makes a difference. I wish they could be a fly on the wall when teachers read their books to children. They miss the frosting on the cake.
Thank you sooo much for the TED talks! I look forward to watching it over February vacation week.
He does look pleased – hairy eyeball or not. Great post, Jennie.
He was definitely pleased. It was my fellow teachers who were not pleased because I was hogging the long line, telling Scott so many great things. They gave me the hairy eyeball. 😀 Thanks, Dan. Glad you enjoyed the post.
This was an amazing experience! Love the photos, especially the last one! I would have to stop and count the children’s books by Amy Krouse Rosenthal that reside on a shelf of our bookcase, there are that many. Spoon and Chopsticks are amongst them and even though Benjamin is now 6 years old, Straw will be added. I feel that I must mention two other things about Amy that you may or may not know. The first is that she authored adult books as well as children’s books. One of my favorites is “Text Book : not exactly a memoir” that was published in 2016. The second is that her husband, Jason, founded the Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation which provides funding for ovarian cancer research and for child literacy. Donations to this very worthy organization are used for both of those things that Amy cared about. I should end this comment here and now, but I’ll add one last thing. If you have not read Amy’s column that appeared in the New York Times on March 3, 2017 just 10 days prior to her death, “You May Want To Marry My Husband”, it is beautiful. Had I not been old enough to be his mother, I would have applied! Thank-you!
Ellen!! While my experience was amazing, your story is deeply important and wonderful. Thank you so much for telling me that Amy authored an adult book, and of her husband’s foundation. Wow! I remember reading that article, “You May Want to Marry My Husband”, but I didn’t remember the author. Did I miss a reference to Spoon or Chopsticks in the article? I may have been so taken (which I was) that connecting the author to the books was irrelevant. Regardless, I thank you for making that connection for me, and I will reread the article with new eyes and a big heart. Straw is a great book.
The eating utensil theme is adorable and clever, Jennie. The books sound delightful. Best to Amy and Scott. Hugs all around.
Yes, the theme is terrific. Everyone relates to it. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Teagan. Hugs to you! 😍
I particularly like how you describe each book and then explain under what circumstances a child could be helped or comforted by it. Have you compiled book recommendations like this for parents?
Thank you, Liz. I agree that the explanation for each book is a big help for parents. I haven’t done book recommendations under categories, what children need. I’ve just recommended as I go along and read. That is an excellent idea!! I’m on it! 🙂
Oh, good! Just one more lens to bring the value of reading and its many facets into focus.
This trilogy sounds brilliant, Jennie. I have never heard of it before but I love the ideas behind it.
Thank you, Robbie. The lesson that is there in the books is understated- far more effective, as we have talked about before. The subtle humor is the frosting on the cake.
I am going to look into these, Jennie.
I’m glad. 🙂
Wonderful description of these books, Jennie. Yes, you and the illustrator really bonded. Look at those smiles.
Thank you, Steve. 🙂
These sound fantastic!!
They are! Thank you!
Would love to have all three! So glad you got a chance to meet the illustrator.
They are all excellent books. The real test of how good a book is rests in the reaction of the children, and their reaction speaks volumes. Yes, it was great to meet the illustrator! Thank you, L. Marie. 🙂
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Thank you, Sally!
Thank you, Sally! 🙂
How wonderful Jennie and so sad that the author did not live to see the third book being enjoyed. Sounds like the illustrator was a great ambassador however and the children (of all ages) must have loved that presentation. xx
When Straw was released last week I wondered how the illustrator would address the fact that she had died. He did a fabulous job. He began with talking about how lucky he was that he collaborated with her starting with the first book, Spoon. That doesn’t always happen with authors and illustrations in children’s books. They really connected, especially with the humor in the books. When she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (so sad), they really worked together to finish the book and the series. He was terrific, and then just flowed into reading the books to the audience. I must say, my children this week love, love these books. They are all-consumed, and want to tell everyone about the characters. Thank you, author Amy and illustrator Scott!
What a wonderful collaboration and the fact that he can speak for them both, keeping her memory alive for children who love her books.. xx
Love it; will purchase ASAP. My UPK will love it too!
Really LOVE this, and I love that she gave so much to the children of the world before she passed. What a great lady and the young man is really wonderful too!
I haven’t heard of those Jennie – will take a look!
You will enjoy them! Thanks, Opher.
Thank you for recommending, Jennie! Sounds very interesting for gifting youngers too. 😉 Here we need to bring them to read, not only using phones, and playstations. Michael
Thank you, Michael. I highly recommend the books. It’s so sad when phones and video games take over books.
So true, Jennie! Will spread the word too. Michael