Sunday, June 7, 2009

Britta Teckentrup

Emmy and I are so excited to share an author and illustrator that we just discovered - Britta Teckentrup. She is certainly not new to children's books having illustrated quite a few books for other authors as well as a popular concept series for toddlers (colors, shapes, ABC, first words).

But the book that made Emmy stop in her tracks and say "Read this one, Mommy!" was Big Smelly Bear. As we sat down to read the book, Emmy was immediately fascinated wanting to know what was flying around the bear and why he was smelly. My intuition as a Mommy and a teacher was telling me that this book was going to be a winner! With graphic illustrations that are beautifully simple, the reader is drawn into the storyline of a bear who is perfectly happy being smelly until he starts to itch! This is Emmy's favorite part of the story as Big Smelly Bear tries to find something to help with this terrible itch. "He tried scratching his back with a tree branch. But that made the itch even itchier." Along comes Big Fluffy Bear who persuades Big Smelly Bear to take a bath. The interaction between the two bears is hysterical as it reminds me of myself persuading Emmy that it is time to take a bath. Maybe I'll try the Big Smelly Emmy tactic next time!

Teckentrup follows up Big Smelly Bear with How Big is the World? and Grumpy Cat.
Emmy noticed that Grumpy Cat ended similarly to Big Smelly Bear where both characters decide to make a change for the better...or do they? Watching the kitten befriend the cat is just precious. My favorite of the three selections is How Big is the World? If I could enter the mind of a very young child, I think that this question would sum up the wonderment of all that surrounds her. A piece of advice that I hold very close to my heart is to remember that Emmy has only been in this world for three years. Expectations are so overwhelming at 42, I can't imagine what it must feel like at the age of three. I just want Emmy to relish every moment! A lesson that I desperately need to learn.

I would also like to mention that Britta Teckentrup has another spectacular series out that I will introduce to Emmy soon. There are three so far with my first choice being Big Noisy Book of Vehicles since Emmy is so curious about planes, trains and automobiles.
I love the way the book is layed out with bright, bold and beautiful images. It reminds me of the Richard Scarry book Cars and Trucks and Things That Go only a bit more organized. Each colorful spread features a different environment and the forms of transport that zip through it, from bicycles on the sidewalk to rockets in outer space. The text is simply irresistible to read aloud, with plenty of honks, clatter-clanks, and creak-squeaks to call out. And making it extra-wonderful is the inclusion of an animated DVD packaged right into the front cover. The DVD lasts fifteen minutes, has over 100 sound effects, and captures Britta’s subtle humor and childlike sense of play. If vehicles aren't your thing, look for the other two books in the series: Big Noisy Book of Animals and Big Noisy Book of Dinosaurs.

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