Saturday, March 08, 2014

Saturday Morning Cartoons-- Photoplay!

Bronstein, M.J. Photoplay!: Doodle, Design, Draw
March 4th 2014 by Chronicle Books
Copy provided by the publisher

It's been a long, cold winter, and when my children were small, this kind of weather necessitated a lot of drawing. There were the Ed Emberley Thumbprint Art books that left me with permanently stained digits, rolls of paper for murals, regular coloring books, "outside the box" coloring books, and some math oriented tessellation and pattern related tomes. Photoplay! is an excellent addition to this type of drawing book. Each page consists of a photograph and a prompt ( "Grace is walking her pet.", "Dylan sees a snow monster.", "There are zombies in this house.") with considerable white space left for a drawing. Bronstein includes a brief forward about drawing on photographs and has an interesting web site,

18048730 Taylor, Chloe. Cute as a Button (Sew Zoey #5)
January 14th 2014 by Simon Spotlight

Zoe starts to realize that her sewing requires a lot of money, and she's not willing to ask her father for any more money. After she makes cute clothes for her Aunt Lulus dog, Draper, and people want to buy them, Zoe has an idea. She decides to start a campaign to get followers of her blog and others to contribute so she can raise $500 to start a dog clothing business. Things go pretty well, and she and her brother work on videos and incentives to get people interested, when the unthinkable happens. Draper, who is 14, passes away. Zoe is devastated, as is her aunt. Zoe has some other drama in her life-- her father starts dating, and her friend Libby thinks that Zoe doesn't like her because of some mishaps involve their "twin" dresses. Eventually, Lulu decides to adopt a new dog from a shelter, and "Buttons" is a new source of inspiration for Zoe, whose business gets so many orders that she has to contact another business to do her sewing. The next book, A Tangled Thread, comes out 18 March 2014.
Strengths: There are some nice and realistic relationships portrayed. Zoe misses her mother, but wants her dad to be happy. Her aunt is supportive. Her friends have the normal ups and downs of middle schoolers. It's also nice to see that Zoe is willing to work hard for what she wants and doesn't expect everything to be handed to her.
Weaknesses: The crowd sourcing, while certainly timely, seems unrealistic, but then so did the blog, the contests Zoe has won, and the secret admirer who sends her things. That's probably the fantasy element that readers like best.

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