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About Penelope Merrell
Penelope Merrell is an independent author and illustrator. A lifelong artist, her paintings showed and sold in galleries for more than 20 years. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and near their sons. The family shares a dog, Ringo; Penelope provides the care and feeding.
She grew up on a farm in Montana and is one of nine children. They had no TV, so family members were avid readers, game and card players. When her first grade teacher introduced arithmetic problems, Penelope announced, "I can add and subtract all those numbers. That is what you do in Blackjack."
After reading Persepolis, she became interested in the combined art and story of graphic novels. Penelope took several courses for this book form and SQUAWK! A Story in Fowl Language was a result (available on Amazon). This book received the Sue Alexander Scholarship Award for an unpublished manuscript given by the Society of Children's Books / Writers and Illustrators.
Penelope notes: "My big sisters read books to me and I remember the thrill when I could read those book myself. I love writing and illustrating books. I want the Cecily and Berle stories to be a step to a lifetime of reading." In addition, she writes books for older children and adults.
Biographic details and other information are available on Penelope's website: merrellart.com
Berle and Cecil go into their garden but find the blooming flowers too small. They see nothing that will fill the big vase. The two friends decide a long walk might give them some new ideas. There were no flowers by the path and they couldn't think of any new ideas. They walk farther into the woods, finally stopping amid the green leaves and fronds. Then the friends make a surprising choice for a beautiful bouquet that is big enough to fill the vase. They hope Aunt Lucinda will like the bouquet. Pictures and text coordinated for the early reader.
Just in case their number is chosen, they make a list of things they would need to take to a tropical island. The day arrives when the number is picked from the big glass jar and they hurry to the store. The winning number is posted in the window. It is their number and they rush in to claim their prize. But all is not as it would seem and numbers are not all that they seem. Cecily and Berle need to find a way to make the dream of their own tropical island vacation come true.
A lifelong artist, Merrell now combines art and story for this new book series. The stories are of quirky life experiences and events. This series coordinates illustrations with story text for both early reader and new reader. And, yes, the art on the walls of Cecily and Berle's house changes frequently.
Visit the studio of one artist. Welcome to my studio of modern art where paintings range from whimsical to abstract to realistic. Some paintings are a singular image. Some paintings tell a story. Some paintings use soft colors. Some paintings have bright, strong colors. Some paintings are still and quiet. Other paintings use lines and paint strokes to indicate movement. All 34 paintings are contemporary art work exhibiting a variety of imaginative and colorful styles by one artist.
Little text is used since the pictures are the focus. Titles are the primary introduction to the paintings. When children look at the paintings, they can compare that title directly with the image. This begins their “conversation” with the work of art. What does the title tell about the painting? What else is in the painting? What do I see in the painting? Do I like this painting or not? This encourages children to enter the painting and explore it through the artist's eyes.
The content of this contemporary artwork is suitable for home, home schooling, and classroom use. These paintings have been selected to increase children's awareness of different styles of art and inspire imagination.
Use this artwork as examples of the many ways to make drawings and paintings. Encourage children to try new ways of art – to see the world in different ways – to explore shape and color – to make a mess. In other words, to celebrate the joy of creativity.
[EXPLORE ART and Visit My Studio – BOOK 2 is an addition to BOOK 1 selection of paintings. All artwork by Penelope Merrell.]
My mother, a traditional conservative Catholic, maintained a solid belief in redemption and heaven. She lived by God's law as she understood it. In the last months before her death I talked to her often. She began making comments indicating unresolved issues about her life. She hinted at inner turmoil and fear of death. She died at home, amid her children and grandchildren. This book is my imagining of a conversation with Death that she might have had.
While exploring the barnyard, an adventuresome chick falls into a hole. It needs the help of the other barnyard fowl for rescue. After several attempts by the others, the chick finds the solution. The wordless pictures tell the story. Each panel is a small watercolor painting. The various fowl add their voice to carry the story line. Every reading and telling will be different. The many fowl sounds can be imitated and enlarged upon by children. Listeners can chime along with the different sounds of the barnyard fowl.