Skip to main content

Sticky Burr: Adventures in Burrwood Forest, story and pictures by John Lechner, 56 pp, RL 2

Sticky Burr , illustrated and written by John Lechner is one of the most exciting books to come across my path in a while! Aside from being a charmingly illustrated story that packs adventure, humor and a little nature lesson (in the form of the main character's journal) into the book's colorful pages, there is a map, a copy of the Burrwood Gazette (Summer issue) and sheet music for a delightful little song that my four year old son, after he asked me not to sing it while pounding away on the piano, sang to himself for the rest of the day. There is also the great Sticky Burr interactive website with an on going comic strip featuring Sticky and pals as well as a link to John Lechner's other day job at FableVision. As Art Director for the children's media company founded by the amazing illustrator and author Peter H Reynolds, Lechner, who was a puppeteer for many years, directs films and designs children's software and educational websites. The website for FableVision itself kept my son and me pretty busy for a while reading books, watching short animated movies and playing games. We also had the chance to read (although without the great color illustrations) Lechner's next picture book, due out from Candlewick Press this fall, The Clever Stick which reminds me a bit of a William Steig book in it's philosophical bent.

Sticky Burr should appeal to picture book lovers as young as two or three, depending on attention span. Like Susan Schade and Jon Buller's excellent Fog Mound Trilogy and Marissa Moss' engrossing Max Disaster series, both of which are written at a higher reading level in terms of plot complexity and vocabulary, Sticky Burr is part graphic novel and moves at a fast pace. The other part of Sticky Burr is the journal of Sticky Burr ("He's small! He's prickly! HE'S A HERO!" is Sticky's tagline) which includes entries like, "Insects I have Known," "All About Burrs," and "Sticky Situations" which are informative and entertaining. Although he has the heart and soul of an artist and is a lover, not a fighter, Sticky's appearance has serious comedic appeal for little kids. With his big round eyes, continually shocked expression and stubby little teeth, Sticky is just plain funny looking. His friend, Mossy with her eyelashes and hair bow is cute. Scurvy's uni-brow and fang-like tooth add to his menacing demeanor while Draffle, Sticky's dragonfly friend looks like a great pal .



















The first adventure in Burrwood forest sets the scene for Sticky and company. We learn that Sticky likes to paint, write poetry and play his ukulele (which you can listen to a sample of at Sticky Burr the website. There is also an excellent animated short of Sticky as well. Mossy is a bit of a thrill seeker, but she also sees the importance in Sticky's pursuits and Scurvy is a trouble making meanie out to get Sticky. While admiring a view of the forest from the top of a tree, Sticky gets stuck on a squirrel's tail, then a bird's, and, when he finally shakes himself free, he falls through the sky to land on Draffle's back. Draffle goes zooming off through the forest, upsetting a wasp's nest and starting a great chase that ends in the mysterious Maze Tree. Once inside and lost, Sticky and Draffle manage to make their way home, save Oralee the Princess lightening bug as well as Sticky's village, which has been overrun by wild dogs. Like I said, a lot happens in this seemingly little book.



I can't wait to see what's in store for us in the next installment from Burrwood Forest due out this fall, Sticky Burr: The Prickly Peril.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…