Cindy: Books that encourage creativity are always a favorite of mine and I’ve been a fan of Lois Ehlert since I read Planting a Rainbow again and again when my children were little. My father used to pass the winter months planning his garden and looking at seed catalogs and I spend mine looking at flower and garden books like Lois Ehlert’s as I wait for spring. Yes, we’re still waiting…it is back down to 30 degrees today as I write this after a short flirt with spring temps. The Scraps Book (Beach Lane 2014) is Ehlert’s collage of her life with art, starting with her first folding project table and a bevy of art supplies provided by parents who encouraged creativity. Art school followed and then a job at an art studio and an evening hobby of creating books.
Aspiring artists will enjoy the colorful collage work that illustrates Ehlert’s colorful life with samples of her work in process and inklings into how she gets her ideas. Bits of her personal life end up in her art (her sister’s cat Bucky, for one) and her collections like her folk art. She admits to being messy when she is creating her art, but who cares when the results are so fabulous. Lynn can finish up this post…I’m headed to my own project table to see what I can create. Young readers will be similarly inspired.
Lynn: What a treat for the eye and the heart this book is! I am neither artistic nor a crafty person but this book makes me yearn to become both. The design is so incredibly inviting. Kids can’t help but be encouraged by Ehlert’s childhood art and by the wonderfully clear explanations of her artistic processes. Each set of pages is bright with colors and ideas and it is so incredibly tempting to start trying out the ideas. I especially love her invitation to use the “free art supplies” that Mother Nature provides. I also love the personal touch of the arrows leading to added informal comments.
The opening and closing pages of the book and the inside flaps are also a collage composed of bright and interesting pictures that are so fun to peruse. A favorite with the focus group was the two page spread featuring the covers of Ehlert’s many books. They loved picking out the ones they’ve read and we identified some we want to find to read or read again. This is one of the most joyful books I’ve ever read and Ehlert’s joy is contagious.