"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Daisy Gets Lost

Daisy is back!  And just as exuberant as ever.

I've been trying to take the books I am reading to an ideal spot. Daisy and I headed into the woods, which is where Daisy finds herself because...
While out playing with her new blue ball, Daisy comes across something that is far more fun to chase after...
The chase ends as all dog and squirrel chases end - at a tree far from where it started, with the squirrel safely up the tree and Daisy at the bottom of it.

Young readers will identify with Daisy's plight, but not be too scared for her for Raschka has given the reader a bird's-eye view of the scene and we see that Daisy and her owner are not too far away from each other. The story is not without elements that help the reader feel Daisy and her owner's situation - the bright and open woods become denser and darker and Daisy and her owner wear their worry on their faces.  

Readers will celebrate when Daisy and her owner, along with the new blue ball, are safely reunited (with the squirrel observing the scene). Whimsy and reassurance abound.

Raschka gives us the right perspective - we are like Daisy. We see what Daisy sees and we feel what Daisy feels.  She is anthropomorphic but with her dogginess intact.

Raschka's deftness with brush strokes creates mood and setting quickly. The pages team with energy and emotion. The color palate is rich. Daisy Gets Lost is a gem.
I attended the ALSC Preconference workshop A Wild Ride: 75 Years of the Caldecott Medal.  During one presentation, Chris Raschka and his editor, Lee Wade of Schwartz and Wade Books, brought us through the process - from dummy to book - of creating A Ball for Daisy.
I have a new appreciation for the book. It is a deft hand and a practiced eye that can create this kind of lightness and simplicity to illustrations.  What appears so free and energetic required far more thought and work than I had realized.
It was incredible to see: how the use of color, shape and line as well as the layout changed during the process; how the spreads changed the pacing of the story; and how Daisy, a white dog, could be given shape.  To say nothing about how we readers are taken on a journey that we understand and feel every step of the way.

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