Skip to main content

Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli



I love reading picture books to every grade at the elementary school where I am the librarian, but I have to confess that the kindergarteners are my favorites to read to. And Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede with perfect illustrations by Greg Pizzoli is my new absolute favorite book to read to them. I love it when I read a book that gets my listeners to think even before I have read the first page and with Just Itzy there are all sorts of connections to make. When I hold up the book and they hear the title and get a look at the spider on the cover, I see the lightbulbs go on. Next, I start making the spider-up-the-spout movements with my hands and they all start singing. And that's just the beginning!

Just Itzy begins with little Itzy headed off to his first day of "spindergarten," a little embarrassed because his mom has to pack him a lunch. Even though peanut butter and honeybee sounds delicious, Itzy would rather be catching his own lunch in a web he spun by himself, just like his big brother Gutzy. And, despite his mother's warnings of wet weather ahead, he refuses to take his raincoat with him.


The siblings head off to school where Itzy in is for a busy day. Mr. Webster tells the class to "keep you eye on the fly," but Itzy still has a hard time spinning his first web. As he struggles to keep up, Krumwiede has Itzy wander through a few familiar nursery rhymes and songs. The first fly he chases leads him to build a web near some "stinky old curds and whey." When Itzy frightens Miss Muffet away, the fly zips off with her an Itzy finds himself in another tricky situation.

 Next, Itzy's makes the mistake of spinning his web near an old woman and he soon finds himself insider her stomach with a farmyard full of animals. It's tempting to stop at this point in Just Itzy and have a sing along, but it's hard not to want to know how Itzy's day ends.

Krumwiede brings Just Itzy home with a story thread that picks up on the titular song. Itzy makes yet another web at the bottom of a waterspout and, when he hears a scared, small voice coming down the spout, he begins to make his way up. The water does wash him out, but he gets back up again and even manages to get Gutzy out of a tight spot! Pizzoli's cheerful, multi-media illustrations are bold and a bit simple, which is perfect for the text, which is a bit longer than most picture books these days. Pizzoli's illustrations keep the story moving and the reader's attention and Itzy, in his red baseball cap, is always the center of attention.

Source: Review Copy






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…

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…