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The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life by [Lois Ehlert]

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The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 42 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

* "Ehlert offers a highly visual presentation of her roots as an artist and her process as a writer and illustrator of picture books. . . . Simply written and inviting, the text leads readers to understand her approach to creating books as well as her hands-on involvement with art throughout her life. . . visually riveting. Creative children will find inspiration and encouragement here." (Booklist, January 2014, *STARRED REVIEW)



Ehlert offers a highly visual presentation of her roots as an artist and her process as a writer and illustrator
 

of picture books. She describes growing up with “parents who made things with their hands.” They

encouraged her to do the same, providing her with good tools and a place to work as well as leftover

fabrics, buttons, and wood scraps. Later, she went to art school and began to create picture books. Simply

written and inviting, the text leads readers to understand her approach to creating books as well as her

hands-on involvement with art throughout her life. Ehlert guides readers through the making of picture

books, including gathering ideas, writing, creating storyboards, and making collages. Admirers of her

clean, precise pictures may be surprised to read, “I’m messy when I work.” Illustrated with photos from

her childhood, vivid artwork from her books, and found objects that she has incorporated into her collages,

the colorful pages of this “portrait of the artist” are visually riveting. Creative children will find inspiration

and encouragement here. And, short of a personal visit from the writer herself, this is the best resource

available for any classroom doing an author/artist study on Ehlert and her distinctive books.


— Carolyn Phelan
(Booklist)

THE SCRAPS BOOK
Notes from a Colorful Life
Author: Lois Ehlert
Illustrator: Lois Ehlert

Review Issue Date: January 15, 2014
Online Publish Date: December 24, 2013
Publisher:Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster
Pages: 72
Price (Hardcover ): $17.99
Price (e-book ): $11.76
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
ISBN (Hardcover ): 978-1-4424-3571-1
ISBN (e-book ): 978-1-4424-3572-8
Category: Picture Books

Scraps—of art supplies, of finished illustrations, of techniques and of memory—overlap in this blend of memoir and artistic how-to.

Right from the start, Ehlert decorates each page with collages of more than one material. Photos of gleaming scissors sit near a baby photo of herself with her mother, the text listing the “fabric scraps, buttons, lace, ribbons, and many scissors” that her mother shared with her. Photos of paint brushes, every bristle temptingly visible, overlap a childhood photo with her father, who shared wood scraps and taught her about painting, sawing and pounding nails. A photo of her parents “after hunting for wild asparagus” pairs with painted, collaged asparagus from Eating the Alphabet (1989). Tackling common questions, she frames art as eminently doable. (Where does she get her ideas? Mostly from the natural world: “On a trip to the aquarium, while I watched colorful fish swim by, a book idea swam into my brain.”) Some technical terms become clear by visual example; others require outside explanation (dummy book; “[m]echanical sketch showing die cut overlays”). Highlights include a line sketch of the iconic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom next to color swatches and final shapes and all the thumbnails—plus two text versions—of Feathers for Lunch (1990).

Readers will scurry to collage household and backyard tidbits; pair this with Ehlert’s other work for maximum satisfaction. (Picture book/memoir. 5-9) (Kirkus)

THE SCRAPS BOOK
Notes from a Colorful Life
Author: Lois Ehlert
Illustrator: Lois Ehlert

Review Issue Date: January 15, 2014
Online Publish Date: December 24, 2013
Publisher:Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster
Pages: 72
Price (Hardcover ): $17.99
Price (e-book ): $11.76
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
ISBN (Hardcover ): 978-1-4424-3571-1
ISBN (e-book ): 978-1-4424-3572-8
Category: Picture Books

Scraps—of art supplies, of finished illustrations, of techniques and of memory—overlap in this blend of memoir and artistic how-to.

Right from the start, Ehlert decorates each page with collages of more than one material. Photos of gleaming scissors sit near a baby photo of herself with her mother, the text listing the “fabric scraps, buttons, lace, ribbons, and many scissors” that her mother shared with her. Photos of paint brushes, every bristle temptingly visible, overlap a childhood photo with her father, who shared wood scraps and taught her about painting, sawing and pounding nails. A photo of her parents “after hunting for wild asparagus” pairs with painted, collaged asparagus from Eating the Alphabet (1989). Tackling common questions, she frames art as eminently doable. (Where does she get her ideas? Mostly from the natural world: “On a trip to the aquarium, while I watched colorful fish swim by, a book idea swam into my brain.”) Some technical terms become clear by visual example; others require outside explanation (dummy book; “[m]echanical sketch showing die cut overlays”). Highlights include a line sketch of the iconic Chicka Chicka Boom Boom next to color swatches and final shapes and all the thumbnails—plus two text versions—of Feathers for Lunch (1990).

Readers will scurry to collage household and backyard tidbits; pair this with Ehlert’s other work for maximum satisfaction. (Picture book/memoir. 5-9) (Kirkus)

"Scraps—of art supplies, of finished illustrations, of techniques and of memory—overlap in this blend of memoir and artistic how-to. . . . Tackling common questions, she frames art as eminently doable. . . . Readers will scurry to collage household and backyard tidbits; pair this with Ehlert’s other work for maximum satisfaction." (Kirkus Reviews, December 2013)

* "Ehlert employs her signature collage technique and images from her past work to explore her lifelong relationship with creating art in this open and encouraging picture-book memoir. . . . It's an inviting inside look at Ehlert’s extensive backlist and how the books were made, with nearly every page making it clear to readers that this kind of creation is well within their reach." (Publishers Weekly, January 2014, *STARRED REVIEW)

  Ehlert employs her signature collage technique and images from her past work to explore her lifelong relationship with creating art in this open and encouraging picture-book memoir. The journey begins with Ehlert’s early creative inklings (“I thought maybe someday I could make a book”), accompanied by family photos, images of the tools she uses today—including pinking shears, paintbrushes, a cheese grater—and a glimpse of her vibrant studio space. She shares thoughts on her varied sources of inspiration (“When a squirrel slipped into my house, a book idea walked right up to me!” she writes about Nuts to You!) and illustrates how those ideas are translated to the page via dummy sketches and finished collages, with hand-lettered captions providing context and detail. In case readers get the itch to join in, Ehlert also offers instructions for such crafty projects as a bird feeder and a cat mask. It’s an inviting inside look at Ehlert’s extensive backlist and how the books were made, with nearly every page making it clear to readers that this kind of creation is well within their reach. Ages 5–10. (Mar.) (Publishers Weekly)

* "In a generously illustrated picture book memoir, Ehlert speaks directly to her audience.... Ehlert emerges as a woman who lives a good life surrounded by the objects and colors that make her happy. She wants the same for her readers, ending the book with "I wish you a colorful life!"" (Horn Book Magazine, March/April 2014, *STARRED REVIEW)

* “This succinct memoir is just right for a five-year-old, yet meaty enough to inspire adults. In it, [Lois Ehlert] reveals the sources of her ideas, her planning stages and her wonderful collections of words, photos, paints and fabric swatches…. The author-artist reveals "I'm messy when I work. My wastebaskets overflow," encouraging children to embrace their passions and try new things…. Ehlert shares not only studies for her books (which children will certainly seek out after examining these pages) but also lessons for a life well lived--observing, collecting, playing and creating. Brava!” (Shelf Awareness, March 2014, *STARRED REVIEW)

Ehlert continues to enchant children with her inventive picture books. In this charming autobiography, she gives readers a fascinating glimpse into her creative process and her considerable talents as both an author and an illustrator are on full display. When discussing the fact that a career doesn’t happen immediately, she states, “Everyone needs time to develop their dreams. An egg in the nest doesn’t become a bird overnight.” Each and every page pops with her signature collages as she gives examples of her various techniques. “I use odd items to create texture. I splatter paint with a toothbrush or rub a crayon over my grater.” This book will attract browsers, thrill children who already love her work, be the perfect complement to an author/illustrator study, and is a stellar introduction to graphic design at its finest. A small masterpiece that is a delight for the eye and ear. (School Library Journal, March 1, 2014)

* "Ehlert continues to enchant children with her inventive picture books. In this charming autobiography, she gives readers a fascinating glimpse into her creative process and her considerable talents as both an author and an illustrator are on full display. . . . Each and every page pops with her signature collages as she gives examples of her various techniques. . . . This book will attract browsers, thrill children who already love her work, be the perfect complement to an author/illustrator study, and is a stellar introduction to graphic design at its finest. A small masterpiece that is a delight for the eye and ear." (School Library Journal, March 2014, *STARRED REVIEW)

"Those who enjoy getting a glimpse into the creative lives of artists and writers will appreciate the insider's perspective Ehlert provides. . . eye-catching and vibrant. . . a pleasant and accessible addition to a unit on artists or writers." (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, March 2014)

Noted illustrator Ehlert offers a casually organized look at her artistic process, with very brief explanations of how she got started making art and books and how she gets ideas for her art and books, along with some quick looks at the materials and basic steps she goes through in constructing a picture or a book. Kids (or adults) looking for specific instructions for making similar art or straightforward biographical info will not find it here, but those who enjoy getting a glimpse into the creative lives of artists and writers will appreciate the insider’s perspective Ehlert provides. Illustrations from some of Ehlert’s previous books are interspersed with new collages, sketches of ideas and book layouts, and photographs of Ehlert as a child and adult, of her studio, of objects that have inspired her work, and of her various collections of artistic and natural items. The narration is somewhat meandering; the compositions, while eye-catching and vibrant, are crammed into a small trim size, and some of the pictures would have benefited from further explanation. The simple text, though, could easily either be read aloud to a group (although some of the smaller illustrative details may not translate well to a crowd) or read alone by upper primary or middle graders. This could also be a pleasant and accessible addition to a unit on artists or writers for the same age group. JH (BCCB, March 2014 )

Starred Review

The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life


by Lois Ehlert



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This succinct memoir is just right for a five-year-old, yet meaty enough to inspire adults. Caldecott Honor artist Lois Ehlert reveals the sources of her ideas, her planning stages and her wonderful collections of words, photos, paints and fabric swatches.

"When I was little, I read all the books on the library shelf, and I thought maybe someday I could make a book," she begins. A collage butterfly alights on a black-and-white photo of herself as a child of perhaps four or five. A collage image of a banded bunch of asparagus (from Eating the Alphabet) acts as a picket fence between a photo of Ehlert's parents ("returning home after hunting for wild asparagus") and a picture of the house where she grew up. Her mother sewed, her father had a basement workshop and, in a corner of the house, he set up a folding table for young Lois: "It was my spot, a place to work and dream." Ehlert shows her "spot" then and now, with more similarities than differences; she draws a linear progression from childhood play to adulthood creativity.

Ideas are everywhere, she tells children. Her sister's cat brushing her ankles inspired Feathers for Lunch. A walk is an opportunity to go "looking for good stuff" (such as seedpods, crab apples and pumpkin seeds, all of which made their way into her books). Ehlert reveals not only studies for her books but also lessons for a life well lived--observing, collecting, playing and creating. Brava! --Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness

Discover: A compact, skillfully designed scrapbook-cum-memoir that takes young readers deep into the roots of Lois Ehlert's creativity. (Shelf Awareness Starred Review)

"Lois Ehlert utilizes her exceptional artistic style in this autobiographical work about her life and her art. This book is full of vivid color and various media. . . . Young children will be kept busy for hours looking at the pictures. This work would also work well as beginner nonfiction in the biography section or for an art lesson, especially as a Common Core and cross-curricular selection." (Library Media Connection, October 2014, Recommended)

Lois Ehlert utilizes her exceptional artistic style in this autobiographical work about her life and her art. This book is full of vivid color and various media. Ehlert discusses her beginnings as a reader and artist, and how her parents influenced her. She also shows how she came up with ideas for her various works. She finds art in everything around her, and shows children how to do the same. Young children will be kept busy for hours looking at the pictures. This work would also work well as beginner nonfiction in the biography section or for an art lesson, especially as a Common Core and cross-curricular selection. (Library Media Connection October 2014)

About the Author

Lois Ehlert has created numerous inventive, celebrated, and bestselling picture books, including Chicka Chicka Boom BoomHoley Moley, The Scraps BookMiceTen Little CaterpillarsRRRalphLots of SpotsBoo to You!Leaf ManWaiting for WingsPlanting a RainbowGrowing Vegetable Soup, and Color Zoo, which received a Caldecott Honor. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Product details

  • File Size : 34044 KB
  • Publication Date : March 4, 2014
  • Word Wise : Not Enabled
  • Print Length : 72 pages
  • Language: : English
  • Publisher : Beach Lane Books (March 4, 2014)
  • ASIN : B00DA9KHK6
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Not Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 42 ratings