Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Papa's Mechanical Fish for Picture Book Wednesday

I have been giving you my Caldecott contenders throughout the year, the award given for the most distinguished picture book.

While I don't think this book is in the final grouping, I do think that if the light is shining just right and the judges are in just the right mood and the snacks at their discussion are particularly satisfying, this one just may win an honor sticker.  Candace Fleming had a Caldecott contender last year with Oh, No!, so if not this year, I definitely think an award will be given to one of her books in the future.  She has been doing some lovely things in the world of children's literature.

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Title:       Papa’s Mechanical Fish

Author:   Candace Fleming

Target:    Kindergarten - Grade 2

What this book is about:
Virena’s dad is an inventor with limited success (edible socks?)  However, on a fishing trip, an innocent question about what it is like to be a fish, leads papa back to the workshop.  Here he begins to work on the beginnings of a submarine.  Each version has it’s issues until the fourth time when the family is off for an underwater outing!

Why I love this book:
First off the illustrations in this story are gorgeous.  The full page spreads allow the artist to include wonderful details and I especially enjoyed the juxtaposition of the mechanical drawings throughout.   There is a grandness to the illustrations that mirror the grand plans of the inventor.

The story includes levels of repetition that allow the narrative to move smoothly and also reinforce the messages.  And I loved the message in the story about how when you are creating you don’t always get things right the first time.  Use what you learn and go back to the drawing board one, two, three and even four times to get it right.  Great lesson for kids that they have to continue questioning and improving their work (something they just love to do.)

Lastly I love that while the story is fiction, it is based on a real inventor, Lodner Phillips who did invent a submarine and take his family in it for an outing.

Who this book is for:
Great book for all kids.  There is a lot in the story so I would recommend parents read it first to get the rhythm down.

Final thoughts:
Candice Fleming never disappoints.  Not only do I love her books, but each one is always unique and different from the last.

To purchase this book:
Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Papa's Mechanical Fish  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog at no cost to you.

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