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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

the SCRAPS book: Notes from a colorful life. Written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Beach Lane, Simon & Schuster. 2014. $19.99 ages 5 and up

"On a trip
to the aquarium,
while I watched
colorful fish
swim by,
a book idea swam
into my brain.
I sketched and
made notes
before it floated

The first time I saw and heard Lois Ehlert speak to an equally rapt audience as I was myself, I wanted to be just like her...full of wonder at the world, dressed and adorned in a bounty of colors that made each of those in attendance swoon, and gifted with the heart and the talent that comes from the encouragement and freedom to choose your own path to success. As a fan, I have a Lois Ehlert shelf in my library. I will most happily add this new memoir to it!

Her career as children's book creator inspires at every turn of the page. With each new book published she celebrates the colors and forms found in our environments. Children are immediately attracted to the collage images that she continues to create. Even our youngest readers find familiar images everywhere they look on the page, and reason to stop and savor what is there for them.

Ms. Ehlert has filled this new picture book with family photos, lovely images from her published books, places where she finds inspiration, and how the books are actually conceived and then written. It is a wonder, and I am delighted to share it with you. If you have read any interviews, seen her present to a group of attentive children or adults, watched videos that describe her artistic process, you will know that her parents influenced her work throughout her life. They provided the encouragement for her to follow her dreams, while also providing the space and materials that gave her artistic spirit wings. It is a perfect picture of her world!

In it, she shares her life, her wisdom, her art. Her many captioned photos offer an up-close and  personal look at the life of this artist. Her varied and fascinating collections spark ideas and inspire new work. They are numerous and mindful of other world cultures and their history. Looking at the work she shares in this wonderful memoir, young readers are sure to be inspired to take a trip outside to see what they can find there. It doesn't have to cost money to create captivating scenes and beautiful bits of art. You just need a spot to work, some inspiration, and the time to create without restrictions of time, materials and the expectations of others.

"I created lots of art, though not for books right away. But I didn't worry. Everyone needs time to develop their dreams. An egg in the nest doesn't become a bird overnight."

I LOVE this book!

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