Monday, March 18, 2013

Picture Book Blog Tour - Ann Redisch Stampler

Kid Lit Frenzy is honored to be kicking off the Picture Book Blog Tour for Ann Redisch Stampler.  Ann has written numerous picture books over the years and last year entered the scene as a debut Young Adult author with her book, Where It Began (Simon Pulse, 2012).

The Picture Book Blog Tour is featuring Ann's newest picture book The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street that was released in January of this year and The Wooden Sword which was released in 2012.  There will be 10 stops in this blog tour and you can get more information from Read Now Sleep Later where Ann's books will be featured tomorrow (March 19, 2013).  Scroll down to read my thoughts on each of the books.   

The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street written by Ann Stampler; Illustrated by Francesca Carabelli (Kar-Ben Publishing, January 1, 2013)

This book is absolutely charming, and cat lovers will adore it.  Mr. Modiano owns a Fish Shop on Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Avi.  Mrs. Spiegel is his neighbor and the owner of two cats.  Each day, Mr. Modiano brings a fish up to Mrs. Spiegel and each day, after he leaves, she gives the fish to her cats to enjoy.  Then one day, her dear Ketzie goes missing.

The writing in this book is both perfect for the story and for young readers who will enjoy the humor and seriousness of the tale.  The repetitive format of the text will provide readers with the ability to join in on guessing what will happen next.  Both Mr. Modiano and Mrs. Spiegel are quirky in their own way.  The two cats, Ketzie and Gatito are unique as well.  Though, I wasn't surprised by the ending of the story, I was certainly pleased with how things work out when Ketzie disappears.

Francesca Carabelli's illustrations work well in complimenting the tone of this book.  There is a certain sense of fun and humor that is conveyed by her depiction of each of the characters.  This story works on several levels because of how well Stampler's text works with Carabelli's pictures.   

The Wooden Sword by Ann Stampler; Illustrated by Carol Liddiment (Albert Whitman & Co, March 1, 2012)

Whereas, there is a certain sense of fun and humor in The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street, Stampler displays a more serious note in The Wooden Sword.  Her retelling of the classic Afghani Jewish folktale is pitch perfect.  I have spoken with Ann several times about this book and have always been struck about her desire to get this one "just right" from both the text to the illustrations.  I have admired her diligent efforts in capturing the cultural setting for this folktale too.

As I read, The Wooden Sword, I was drawn to the faith of the poor Jewish shoemaker in the face of the challenges presented by the Afghani Shah.  The folktale works perfectly in our world today.  For many, challenges come constantly in the decisions that we face each day and in wondering how to deal with loss of jobs or other things.  The Jewish shoemaker remains faithful and optimistic through it all and shows great wisdom in how he deals with some difficult decisions.

Carol Liddiment's illustrations work to compliment and highlight Ann's storytelling.  Readers will find this story fulfilling and an excellent addition to classroom and school collections on folktales. 

Information about Ann Redisch Stampler:
Ann Redisch Stampler loves folk tales! She is an award-winning picture book writer, most recently receiving the National Jewish Book Award for The Rooster Prince of Breslov. She also writes for young adults.

From her website: In terms of the facts of my life, I was born on the East coast and raised mostly in the West, and live in Los Angeles where my husband, Rick, and I raised our two children. I studied English literature, psychology, and law, all of which still interest me. But I have always wanted to be a writer, and I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to fulfill that dream.

Where to find her: Picture Book Website | YA Website | Twitter | Facebook

Blog Tour Stops:

Tue - March 19 - Alethea at Read Now Sleep Later 
Wed - March 20 - Gail at Nightengail Art 
Thu - March 21 - Danielle at There's a Book
Fri - March 22 - Wendy at Noodling with Words 
Sat - March 23 - The Cats on Ben Yehuda Launch Party at Children's Book World, Los Angeles
Mon - March 25 - Julie Rowan-Zoch 
Tue - March 26 - Joanna at Miss Marple's Musings 
Wed - March 27 - Niki at Daydream Reader 
Thu - March 28 - Cynthia at Teaching in Cute Shoes 
Fri - March 29 - Colby at Sharpread