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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Smiling Because

Not being a great artist, I feel most confident in my crayon and colored pencil skills. Maybe that is why the illustrations in BECAUSE AMELIA SMILED by David Ezra Stein appeal to me.

According to the copyright page, "The illustrations were done in pencil, water soluble crayon, and watercolor." The young readers on the story steps always like to know that information, if it is available.

The story begins with a close-up of young girl and her family. "Because Amelia smiled, coming down the street...Mrs. Higgins smiled, too." The plot progresses with cause-and-effect circumstances. Mrs. Higgins bakes cookies for her grandson who shares them with his class in which one student decides to teach others kickboxing...and through numerous events, a man in New York City releases his pigeons from the rooftop. Amelia sees them and smiles.

Most interesting to me has been how the phrase "old flame" is unknown to the children. When an ex-clown riding under a Parisian bridge hears a rumba band, he is transported in time. "Their love song "Con Corazon Intacto" reminded him of his old flame, the Amazing Phyllis, who lived in Positano, Italy." Many listeners thought it meant a fire that had burned for some time!


  1. Wonderful photo show the amount of snow we've gotten.

  2. and in a way their interpretation is just as correct. i wish i could have heard you explain the author's intention.

  3. What a gorgeous photo! I hope you were able to enjoy the scene with your old flame who remains your current flame!

  4. Love how you explain this book - and love that photo! Your post reminds me of a time I read a passage from Walk Two Moons to 4th graders and discovered that they were not familiar with 'carburetor' or 'fender' or 'the shoulder of a road.'