REMEMBER? TODAY IS
CORINNE DEMAS HOLIDAY
BOOK BUNDLE GIVEAWAY!
ONE WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN BY
MY COMBINING ALL ENTRIES FROM
EACH POST THAT YOU WILL SEE
ON CORINNE DEMAS DAY TODAY!
THE LITTLEST MATRYOSHKA
BY CORINNE DEMAS
ILLUSTRATED BY KATHRYN BROWN
In a small shop in a snowy village in Russia, Nikolai the doll maker was carving his last matryoshka. From one piece of soft wood he shaped six nesting dolls, each one fitting inside the other. They all opened in the middle and were hollow inside, except for the littlest. She was the size of a bumblebee and she was made of the heart of the sweet-smelling wood.
Nikolai lines up the dolls from biggest to smallest, and names each one: Anna, Olga, Varka, Vanda, Nadia, and Nina. He tucks them one inside the other. Before he sends them off to a toy shop in America, he kisses Anna goodbye and tells her: "Keep your sisters safe inside you and may you find a happy home."
The matryoshka sisters have a safe journey across the sea. The toy shop owner lines them up on the shelf, but Nina, the littlest, is too close to the edge. While her sisters watch helplessly, Nina is knocked off the shelf, kicked outside into the street, and buried in snow. What will become of her?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
On her website, Corinne Demas tell about how this story came about. Here is what that part said: "I wrote The Littlest Matryoshka as a present for my daughter, to go along with a matryoshka I bought her. (It had all six dolls, but it was on sale because of a small crack.) I had a set of nesting dolls I loved to play with when I was a girl. The names in my story come from characters in the work of a famous Russian writer, Anton Checkov.
Nina's amazing journey was inspired by The Odyssey. In Homer's great epic, Odysseus has a long and adventure-filled voyage across the sea before he is back home again and reunited with his family."ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:
Kathryn Brown has illustrated nine children's books, including Climb Into My Lap (First Poems to Read Together), Tough Boris (an ALA Notable Book), A Bear for All Seasons, From Lullaby to Lullaby, Eeny, Meeny, Miney Mole, and Muledred, which she also wrote. She grew up in Idaho and now lives with her family in Western Massachusetts. Kathryn was kind enough to autograph the copy of the book that will be won in this giveaway!
Kids always ask me if I get to choose who illustrates my books. The answer is, no, the publisher chooses. I felt so lucky when they selected Kathryn Brown.
By chance, Kathy and I live close enough so we were able to meet before she began working on the art. She borrowed my daughter's matryoshka to use as a model for the story. (One nice thing about wooden dolls is that they stand perfectly still when you paint their portraits.) Here we are at our first signing.REVIEW:
With the feel of old-fashioned stories read to me, THE LITTLEST MATRYOSHKA is definitely written from the author's heart. It is the kind of story that children will respond to with its simple message of how good things can happen to good "people" ...or dolls, in this case, who share sisterly love.
As the doll maker carved the six lovely little nesting dolls and carefully painted their personalities onto them, Corinne Demas wrote their story in much the same way. She painted them with her delicate descriptions and gave them life with her use of personification. When the dolls tried to lift their arms that were painted on, the reader who is caught up in the charm of the story will actually wait for it to happen--or at least, I did.
When Nikolai sends the sisters on their way to the a new world, he warns them to be safe and stay together. When the littlest doll, Nina, is knocked off the shelf where she and her sisters are on display in a toy shop, you gasp. And in each step of her treacherous journey to try to get back home, Nina is shown as brave and steadfast. As her sisters Nadia, Vanda, Varka, Olga, and Anna wait with hope and watch from the window, will circumstances allow Nina to complete her journey safely back to them?
Corinne Demas has created a simple tale that could have been rewritten in many other ways about a lost family member trying to get back to their home and family, but she does it using the nesting dolls that throughout history have been made most famous by the Russians. In fact, she even includes a post at the end with a little history of the always lovely and cherished Matryoshka dolls. What a perfect gift to give with a set of the dolls to any young child. I think its message and the feel of the story is most appropriate especially during the holiday season.
BY CORINNE DEMAS
ILLUSTRATED BY KATHRYN BROWN
It's only a week until Valentine's Day, and Lily wants to make the perfect heart-shaped valentine for Mommy. But every time she cuts out a heart, it's either too pointy, too round, or too skinny. As the days go by Lily tries again and again, and when Valentine's Day finally arrives, she has a heart for each day of the week! Which one will be the perfect valentine surprise for Mommy?
CHECK HERE AND HERE IN CASE YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT CORINNE DEMAS BY NOW (FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO STARTED WITH MY FIRST POST FOR CORINNE DEMAS DAY)
R.W.Alley has illustrated nearly a hundred books for children, including Cat Skidoo by Bethany Roberts and the beloved Paddington series. He lives in Rhode Island with his family. You can visit his web site at www.rwalley.com to learn more about him and his books.
Whether sharing her own coming-of-age story with adults in Eleven Stories High or charming children with a delightful tale of the holiday season and finding new friends in Two Christmas Mice, Corinne Demas never fails to please her readers. With acclaimed artist R. W. Alley, whose familiar watercolor and pencil illustrations grace the pages of the Paddington series, these two talents combine to give young readers a lovely Valentine’s Day story.
When dedicated artist and loving daughter Lily realizes there is only one week until Valentine’s Day, she wants to make her Mommy a Valentine that will be just perfect. Each day, however, as Lily tries to make that ideal heart, it just doesn’t turn out right. One day it is too skinny, another day too round. From Monday through Sunday, Lily uses all her paper to try one more time for the heart she will be proud to present.
Alas, Valentine’s Day arrives, and no perfect heart. With a last-minute idea, Lily decides to link the hearts together and present them to Mommy apologetically saying, “But none of the hearts is perfect,” but Mommy lets her know how perfect they are because the heart that matters is inside Lily.
Lively illustrations and engaging dialogue show the frantic frustration and inexhaustible love that our little artist Lilly experiences in VALENTINE SURPRISE not only making this a perfect book for the holiday but also teaching shapes and days of the week to young readers. Bright colors, kitties, and Lily’s attempts at creating a traditional handmade Valentine all come together for a simply sweet story that will be read and shared many times for years to come
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