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Archive for December 14th, 2014

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by Sam Juliano

When I first came upon Jennifer Ward and Steve Jenkins’ Mama Built a Little Nest it was through a library copy secured by cooperative county loan.  The librarian at the main site, where I serve as a board trustee, handed me the book with a startling declaration.  Three of the clerks, including herself, were so smitten with the picture book’s sublime cover, that they in turn read through it, admiring the rapturous art and lovely prose, becoming completely won over in the process.  All three placed orders with Amazon for their own copies,  One subsequently gifted it to her ten-year old grandson.  To be sure the cover is a gem, one of the most eye-popping of the year, and yet another sumptuous collage from the renowned Caldecott Honor winning illustrator Steve Jenkins.  A nearly completed green nest is set on a white base, with a yellow-breasted weaverbird seen upside-down gathering nesting materials that include twigs, branches and blades of grass.  The title is displayed white on green and green on white.  This particular illustration is re-visited later on, where it is revealed that these birds “pull grasses and fiber over, under, around, and through, using only their beak and feet. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

It does seem rather hard to believe, but Christmas is just ten days away, and some of us who thought everything would sort itself out are now scurrying to complete preparations.  The weather in the northeast had been reasonably cooperative with cold but freezing temperatures and rain replacing snow as the favored precipitation.  But most of us are just biding our time for Father Winter to make his inevitable mean-spirited arrival.  Either way our spirits are better for the holiday season and all the cultural  events we normally look forward too as the year winds down.  Ten-best lists are flying around, and my own will post as usual sometime during the first eight to ten days in January.  There are still some important films to take in before the year ends including Inherent Vice (nearly seen yesterday),  Selma, Winter Sleep, A Most Violent Year and Into the Woods especially.  As per normal routine, Jaimie Grijalba, Maurizio Roca and perhaps Duane Porter and Sachin Gandhi will be posting their Best Of lists here as well.

James Clark has posted some brilliant stuff in the past weeks, and has several terrific films lined up for discussion in the coming weeks.  I want to again thank those who have been active in the Caldecott Medal Contender discussions, with a special shout-out to Laurie Buchanan for her extraordinary sponsorship.  She is some peerless motivator. (more…)

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