Monday Reading: An Oliver Jeffers Special for New Year’s Eve – A Star, A Moose, A Penguin, and Water all Around

HAPPY NEW YEAR, DEAREST FRIENDS!

One of our definite blogging highlights for the year is joining this vibrant meme called It’s Monday, What are You Reading hosted by Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts (and brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Two of our blogging friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have inspired us to join this vibrant meme.

Award Winning Books Reading Challenge 2013

Thank you once again, Iphigene, for these lovely widgets/posters.

Thank you once again, Iphigene, for these lovely widgets/posters.

Before anything else, we would like to invite everyone to join our Award Winning Books Reading Challenge which we shall continue to host this 2013. Click here to know more about the detailed guidelines for your participation and click here to sign up for the challenge. Needless to say, monthly book prizes await.

Last Week’s Reviews and Miscellany Posts

Click on the image below to be taken to our book reviews from the previous week.

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Miscellany Posts/ Weekly Meme

Photo Journal/A-Z Photo Challenge: Z is for Zuper Duper Merry Christmas to One and All!

Meet the Storyteller: Anu Kumar

Academic Nook: A Sampler of Polish Literature (And Others)

Poetry Friday: Neruda’s The Light Wraps You

Photo Journal/Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Photographs

Book Hunting Expedition (33): Modest Christmas Loot and Library Finds

Our Water Tales theme officially ends today. What better way to close our theme than with an Oliver Jeffers special! I was delighted to discover how greatly water figures into Jeffers’ stories. Here are three of them that I wanted to share with you this New Year’s Eve.

IMG_4333Lost and Found

Story and Drawings By: Oliver Jeffers
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2005.
Borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.

The premise of this book is fairly simple, but it never fails to move my heart each time I read it. A boy finds a penguin at his door. Since he does not know where the penguin came from, he asked most everyone for help (his rubber duckie, the Lost and Found Office, birds nesting on trees, a big red ship resting on the harbour) – so that he can guide the penguin back to his home – to no avail. The boy finally found the information he needs from a book (penguins live in the South Pole). Boy and Penguin went on a journey of a lifetime, armed with their great intentions, nighttime stories best told under the moonlight with the waves crashing all around them, and their deepening affection for each other.

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The story reminded me of a personal favorite of mine when I was a child: Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman and Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing. What happened to the Boy and the Penguin at the end of their journey, I shall leave for you to discover and relish on your own.

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It reminds me, as an adult, that not all things need to be fixed, that there are times when great packages arriving at your doorstep are meant to simply be enjoyed rather than analyzed and found a rightful place – and that perhaps where we are is exactly where we are supposed to be. I just found this beautiful trailer of Lost and Found in Youtube. Apparently this gorgeous picture book has been made into a short film. Enjoy!

This Moose Belongs to Me IMG_4327

Story and Drawings By: Oliver Jeffers
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2012
Book borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.

Now this is a book to truly gush about (as is everything here, truth be told, I am half-in-love with Oliver Jeffers). Similar to the boy in Lost and Found above, Wilfred found a moose. Instead of finding where he lives or bringing him back to where he is ‘supposed’ to be, Wilfred put a tag on this moose, and called him Marcel:

He hadn’t always owned a moose. The moose came to him a while ago and he knew, just KNEW, that it was meant to be his.

How could one possibly argue with such clear logic and irrefutable declarations of absolute ownership? Wilfred did not stop with the tag, he started coming up with a list of rules on how to be a good pet.

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Wilfred was in for the shock of his life when, after a ‘particularly long walk’ with Marcel, an old woman started shouting happily “Rodrigo! You’re back!” Oopsie. “Someone else thought they owned the moose.” Oh dear, oh dear. This is a wonderful picture book that most kids would enjoy as they start declaring “Mine! All Mine!” as they see the things strewn around them – the universe itself their playground.

As an adult, it reminded me that what we think we ‘own’ may not really be ‘ours’ to begin with. Makes me realize that there may actually be no such thing as ‘mine’ after all, not even the sky and the blank space between the stars. Except, perhaps our own hearts, and what we decide to do with it. And even that may not be ours to give.

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IMG_4339How to Catch a Star

Story and Pictures By: Oliver Jeffers
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2004
Book borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.

I thought that this was a perfect book to feature for the New Year, as we begin anew to ‘catch a star,’ dream different dreams, and touch the skies. It also reminded me a little bit of The Phantom Tollbooth as Milo attempts to rescue Princesses Rhyme and Reason. Milo does this without regard of the consequences before him and he succeeded – not knowing that it was an utterly impossible task.

Every night the boy watched the stars from his window and wished he had one of his own.

Too often, we are told that we could not do certain things because they are impossible and simply could not be done. As adults, we have merely stopped trying. This young boy with the big dreams and the equally big heart wakes up very early in the morning “because then the star would be tired from being up in the sky all night” and maybe just maybe he could catch one star falling down from exhaustion.

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The achingly-simple logic, the handcrafted tools (“He thought he might lasso the star with the life belt from his father’s boat”), and the steadfast heart and quiet knowledge that very very soon that star will be his and will be ensnared in his wide-eyed grip – warms my soul. And makes me hopeful for impossible things to happen and parallel universes to collide and not destroy the universe in the process. Whether or not the boy caught his star I shall leave for you to discover.

Here’s to dreaming the impossible and making it happen this 2013.

Currently Reading…

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I have not made much progress with Rumo, sadly, but I have gotten back to reading bits and pieces every night. This little red book spoke to me and demanded to be read first: Daniel Handler’s Why We Broke Up as illustrated by Maira Kalman. This book is brilliant. My heart broke into little pieces when I finished reading it this week.

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I have also read Books 3 and 4 of the Amulet Series: Cloud Searchers and The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi (I’ve been pretty productive). I have also fallen in love all over again with Langston Hughes as I finished reading his The Dream Keeper and Other Poems as illustrated by Brian Pinkney yesterday.

How about you, dear friends, what have you been reading this week?

Lost and Found: Booktrust Early Years Award (Pre-School Award – shortlist), Blue Peter Book of the Year Award, Nestlé Children’s Book Prize (Gold Award), Kate Greenaway Medal

How to Catch a Star: Bisto Prize (Ireland), Booktrust Early Years Award (Best New Illustrator),

AWB Reading Challenge Update: 136 (35)

Picture Book Challenge Update: 155-157 (120)

7 Comments on Monday Reading: An Oliver Jeffers Special for New Year’s Eve – A Star, A Moose, A Penguin, and Water all Around

  1. Wow! What an amazing reading week you had! So many wonderful books. I really need to get reading more Newberys. Happy New Year!

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  2. I don’t know the Oliver Jeffers books at all, Myra. What wonderful books they seem! And the Daniel Handler book keeps beckoning, especially because of Maira Kalman. Oh boy, here comes 2013 and good reading! Happy New Year to you and your family!

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    • Hi Linda, they are beautiful beautiful books. And Why We Broke Up is simply brilliant. Too many good books. May you have a Blessed New Year too, Linda, filled with love, light, and grace. :)

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  3. I’ve only read How to Catch a Star but as I have mentioned before I fell in love with Oliver Jeffers after reading The Heart and the Bottle. Such heartfelt reviews. I do believe that we belong only to ourselves, and I agree that there are some things that can never be ours but must simply be enjoyed in that moment, and nevermore.

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    • Fats, Lost and Found is also beautiful. And This Moose Belongs to Me is cute. :) I also read The Heart and the Bottle – very heartbreaking. I loved it. :)

      As Emily Dickinson so aptly put it: “Forever – is composed of Nows.”

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  4. I fell in love with OJ books after I’ve read “the incredible book eating boy”, now my son and I are big fans of OJ:)

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