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Archive for December 20th, 2015

flutter 1

by Sam Juliano

At the outset of the author’s note in the back of Flutter & Hum (Aleteo y Zumbido) by Julie Paschkis is the startling revelation that the artist is neither Spanish nor a poet.  She began to learn the language in preparation for a book she was doing on Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet.  From that point this self avowed painter and lover of words became smitten with the beauty of the language and has striven to release dual language books of which the exquisite Flutter & Hum is the most recent.  This is a book on animal poems.  The last time a collection of any kind won the Caldecott Medal was in 1980 when Arnold Lobel’s beloved Fables was honored.  Like Lobel’s book, Flutter & Hum is beautifully integrated and designed, and it gives the opportunity for schools with a sizable Hispanic population to compare and contrast the languages.  The set up is simple enough.  The book features fourteen double page spreads, all of which present a poem about an animal.  On the left panel is the English version, on the right the Spanish.  Otherwise the featured animal is showcased across both pages bringing the proper illustrative unity.  The first creature in this poetical homage is the snake (la serpiente) which only knows one letter (sssssss), and slithers through the grass sinuously.  The pages are dazzlingly littered with ‘s’ word streamers that define both a snake’s characteristics and how people frame them.  Pashkis describes the turtle as a creature who hides in her shell, but hopes for something wonderful to happen; a heron is shown as one-legged and a crow who hopes, stops and stares at the only sun shining on a rainy day – a bright yellow umbrella. (more…)

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