My selection for originality in writing this week was Tomi Ungerer‘s “Otto The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear“. The book tells the story of a little bear that is given as a birthday gift to a young boy. His life starts out great, he spends all of his time with David (the boy who owns him) and his best friend Oskar. Their happiness does not last however, Oskar and his family are taken away in trucks, along with the rest of the Jewish families. David gifts Otto to Oskar. In the process of the war, Oskar loses Otto. Otto is found by an American soldier who uses him as a shield, when a bullet almost strikes his heart. Eventually Otto ends up in America where he miraculously is reunited with Oskar and David.
I loved the story and I love the fact that it provides children with a bit of history. Although the story is tragic in many ways, people’s kindness and Otto’s resilience lead to a happy ending. There are many tragic and also happy twists and turns, as happens in most people’s lives, but in the end all three main characters overcome their difficulties (enough so to live happy and fulfilled lives). I like stories like these because they open up discussions about difficult subjects with children. They help them understand that life can be tough sometimes and unfair and that they should always try to be kind to others.
This week for originality in illustrations I selected Quest by Aaron Becker. The story is a follow-up to Journey. It tells the story of two children who stumble across a door that leads them back into the magical world first found in quest. They are faced with the challenge of finding all the magical colors in different parts of the mystical world in order to rescue the king. They go on a grand adventure. They travel under the sea, to a jungle over a rickety bridge, they soar over the mountains and eventually collect all the colors. Once they connect them, they defeat their enemies and save the magical world. The king is saved and he throws them a huge parade and knights them.
Quest is a very unique book in that there are absolutely no words, just beautiful images that tell and equally beautiful story. The words are not necessary in this case, they might actually detract from the story if they were there. Children are encouraged to add their own special touch to the story and to imagine what the children must be feeling. It is truly an incredibly unique and beautiful book.
What books were your favorite this week?
Please be sure to check back every Friday to see what book(s) I selected as my Books of the Week for Originality in the Writing and Illustrations. Feel free to make any recommendations on books I should check out.