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Silly Lilly and the Four Seasonsby Agnes Rosenstiehl
Synopses & Reviews
Lilly is a spunky little girl who delights in the unexpected pleasures of each season, peering inside shells in the summer and tasting different kinds of apples in the fall.
In this charming and subtle book by one of France's premier children's book authors, Lilly learns more about the outdoors, and introduces the youngest readers to the colors, words, and shapes that arise in nature. Silly Lilly's intimate monologues deftly capture a child's sense of wonder, in five whimsical episodes that cycle through the calendar from spring back to spring again.
"Signature Reviewed by Leonard S. Marcus 'What is there about Comics that makes children like them so well?' An exasperated schoolteacher posed this question in an article from the 1940s chronicling the uphill battle she and her colleagues were then waging against comic books, which they considered sub-literary fare. The battle lines have long since been redrawn, the graphic novel having attained critical mass and the comics aesthetic having slowly inched its way toward children's literature respectability on the backs of occasional forays into the genre by Maurice Sendak and others, and of more sustained efforts such as the Little Lit series edited by Art Spiegelman and Franoise Mouly. Now New Yorker art director Mouly, with Spiegelman as in-house adviser, takes the field again with the release of the first three titles from Toon Books, an innovative line of early readers presented in comics format.On the evidence of Rosenstiehl's initial contribution, Dick and Jane may now pack up their things and leave town for good. In this little marvel of distilled storytelling, five wee seasonal vignettes, starting and ending with spring, place a spry young girl in familiar situations that give free rein to her curiosity and love of action. As Lilly plays in the park, finds a snail at the shore, samples a basket of apples, hurls snowballs and swings on a swing, her bright thoughts and warblings appear overhead in speech balloons, in words of one to three syllables. Twice, a teddy bear serves as the straight man; in the winter scene, for example, he impassively takes a snowball on the chin ('Oops! Sorry, Teddy! I was only kidding!'). This comic moment, like others that Rosenstiehl extracts from her rigorously pared-down materials, draws us directly into Lilly's emotional world, where attention is routinely paid to everything, from a lowly dandelion on up. To know Lilly is to want to know what she has to say.Lilly, who is already familiar to children of the author's native France as Mimi Cracra, is Little Lulu with dance lessons. Apple-cheeked and graceful, she's nobody's fool, and her expressive action poses double as telltale clues to the child poised to begin decoding the printed word independently. Rosenstiehl's uncomplicated layouts — two panes of equal size per page, four per spread — and minimalist backdrops likewise keep the focus where it belongs: on the adventure of taking the measure of everyday things, whether it be a tiny sea creature washed up by a wave or the words 'I'm flying.' Ages 4-up. Leonard S. Marcus is most recently the author of Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature (Houghton Mifflin, May)." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This graphic-early-reader entry from Toon Books is itself an objet d'art. The slight story, in basic comic-book format, briefly and joyfully bounds through the seasons at the rate of four panels per page." Kirkus Reviews
"The short sentences and large print make this a good choice for beginning readers." School Library Journal
"Another successful entry in the new Toon imprint....The text is very brief (only a few words per panel), the colors are warm and bright, and the panels are large enough to draw in children new to books and reading." Booklist
“[A] little marvel of distilled storytelling…To know Lilly is to want to know what she has to say.” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Lilly is a spunky little girl who delights in the unexpected pleasures of each season, peering inside shells in the summer and tasting different kinds of apples in the fall. In this charming and subtle book by one of France’s premier children’s book authors, Lilly learns more about the outdoors, and introduces the youngest readers to the colors, words, and shapes that arise in nature. Silly Lilly’s intimate monologues deftly capture a child’s sense of wonder, in five whimsical episodes that cycle through the calendar from Spring back to Spring again.
About the Author
Agnès Rosenstiehl is the beloved writer and artist of nearly one hundred children's books, many featuring the deceptively simple antics of "Mimi Cracra," Silly Lilly's French alter ego. In 1995 she received the prestigious Grand Prize for Children's Books of the Société des Gens de Lettres. Agnès formally studied literature as well as music, and is married to an eminent mathematician. She lives in a country house with a garden, hidden in the center of Paris. Between Agnes and her husband they have seven children and fifteen grandchildren.
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