Thursday, December 18, 2008

Picture Book Thursday!

This week we have another wonderful picture book to feature from Tilbury Publishers: Under the Night Sky from Amy Lundebrek. This charming book is a great read for kids during the winter. And here in Minnesota it is a balmy 3 degrees. Perfect weather for curling up and reading with the kiddos!

Under the Night Sky begins with a mother (who works nights) coming home to wake up her son and rush him outside to view a spectacular sight, the Northern Lights. Their whole building bundles up and cuddles together to watch the dancing lights across the night sky. I found this book to be a very touching reflection of a mother/child relationship. In the beginning, although the son is in bed every night before his mother comes home from work, he never falls asleep before she comes in to say goodnight. There is another moment later in the book where the mother says to the boy, "Just remember these lights, how they dance. And if you ever feel angry that I'm not letting you have your way, remember I'm on your side. I promise I will always try to give you the best things in life." Just a sweet, tender moment and since I have young two girls, I only hope they can remember that sentiment when we enter the teen years down the road. :-)

The thing I really liked about this book, and actually all three Tilbury books I've seen so far, is the illustrations. They are very artistic. Meaning, each illustration could be a piece of art in itself. In this book, you can tell the illustrations were done on canvas from the look of them. And in the previous Picture Book Thursday about Give a Goat, the illustrations were watercolors. Coming from an art background, I get very excited to share any sort of artistic experience with my children so this particularly draws me to these books.

I think it is fun to do an art project related to a book to help solidify the story in a child's mind. Doing a project together also leaves time to talk more about the story or the elements in the book. And my girls are very big into art projects! I love the blog Art Projects for Kids and was inspired to combine a few of the projects Kathy lists to create one for Under the Night Sky. I have small children ages 3 and 5 so I can't do anything too difficult. Here's an idea if you'd like to try a project with your child inspired by this illustration from the book:
Have your child take a white crayon and draw stars on piece of white paper. You could have them color trees in black crayon toward the bottom of the page. Then, have them paint in the picture with watercolors. Using greens, blues, pinks, and purples, fill in the middle of the sky to depict the Northern Lights. Greens and blues for the rest. The crayon should show up through the watercolor paint. If you try it, I'd love to hear how it worked for you!

I like to support local people and the author of Under the Night Sky lives just a few miles away from me in Champlin, Minnesota! So if you live in the Midwest and you're looking for a more locally relavant book, check this one out! Or, just check it out, no matter where you live! :-)

About the author: Amy Lundebrek lives Champlin, Minnesota, with her husband, Ryan. She has a degree in Biology and works as a research associate in a cell culture lab. She enjoys hiking and camping, canoeing and kayaking, painting and sculpture. Under the Night Sky is her first published book.

About the illustrator: Anna Rich says her career as an illustrator began in kindergarten, where she preferred coloring and drawing to her other classwork. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and has illustrated many picture books, including From My Window by Olive Wong, Just Right Stew by Angela Medaris, Cleveland's Lee's Beale Street Band by Arthur Flowers, and Saturday at the New You by Barbara Barber. She lives in Elmwood, New York, with her son and husband.

Thank you to Tilbury House for letting us be a part of the blog tour for Under the Night Sky. Here is a list of the other blogs on the tour. Please take moment to visit them as well!

Monday, Dec. 8: Shelf Elf
Tuesday December 9: Bri Meets Books
Wednesday, Dec. 10: The Wild Rumpus Starts (You Are Here)
Thursday, Dec. 11: In the Pages
Friday, Dec. 12: The Well-Read Child
Saturday, Dec. 13: Read These Books and Use Them
Sunday, Dec. 14: Ready, Set, Read
Monday, Dec. 15: Becky's Book Reviews
Tuesday, Dec. 16: NatureMoms
Thursday, Dec. 18: On My Bookshelf
Friday, Dec. 19: The Green Hour

Click Here To Order Under the Night Sky
There's also a teacher guide for the book.