Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Trucktown Debut!

It was a big week for us in Columbus. Jon Scieszka and Loren Long stopped by Columbus on their book tour for their new, amazing series for young readers--TRUCKTOWN!

They visited our school on Thursday, thanks to Cover to Cover Bookstore and Simon and Schuster. To get ready for the visit, I read the new book SMASH! CRASH! to lots of K-2 classrooms. I got the same feeling when I read this book as I did when I read Mo Willem's DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS to young children when it first came out. SMASH! CRASH! begs for child participation--yelling Smash! Crash! is part of the fun. But there is more to this first book than that.--great fun characters that are predictable in their actions, some great humor, fun fonts , and amazing illustrations. How three illustrators can come together to create one illustration is fascinating to me. And the result is amazing. If you know the work of Loren Long, David Shannon, and David Gordon, you can see in each illustration, what each person brings to the art. The colors, the characters, even the lettering is quite engaging.

The visit was great fun! Loren Long spoke to our K-2 students at Chapman. He drew a truck--showing them how he did that, read the book (asking them to join in when it was time to yell CRASH!), and spent time answering questions. Loren came dressed in his Trucktown Mechanic Suit which added to the fun.

Both Jon and Loren spoke at Cover to Cover and it was standing room only. The audience's reaction to the book was extremely positive as the kids joined in and laughed throughout the book. If either of them come anywhere near your city, go see them!

Jon, our new National Ambassador for Children's Literature, talked a bit about what we can expect from Trucktown in the next few years. I think he said that there will be 50 TRUCKTOWN books over the next few years. More picture books likes SMASH! CRASH!, some easy chapter books that young children can read on their own, board books, and more.

I am a huge fan of kids reading books where they know and love the characters. These Trucktown characters are certainly characters that we will all find ourselves falling in love with--my current favorite is IZZY the Ice Cream Truck. (After seeing Loren Long act out Izzy'a part, Izzy may be my lifetime favorite character!)

You can tell that Jon Scieszka did a great deal of research before embarking on such a project. These book are very inviting for the kids he wrote them for. In a Columbus Dispatch article announcing his visit to Columbus, Jon spoke a bit about his platform: The article said that his message is that: Adults should back off from making kids read the "right" books, expand the definition of reading to include all mediums and technologies, stop demonizing television and, above all, read themselves.

Perfect timing for a series like this and a perfect team to create the series. I can't wait to see the rest of the series!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh I am so jealous that you got to hear them. This series sounds wonderful.


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