Tuesday, July 11, 2006


HOW TO BE by Lisa Brown (HarperCollins)
It can be mighty tiring being a child all the time. How last Thursday! Perhaps a young reader or storytime listener would prefer to try on a different skin. How to be a snake? "Shed your skin./Slither./Dance in a basket./Be charming." How about a bear? "Catch fish with your hands./ Hibernate./Growl./Be brave." After a few animals, perhaps humanity will regain its appeal, in which case How to Be a Person is proffered, taking all the best qualities of the animal kingdom into account. I guess it's something we must build up to!

Spare, expressive line-drawing illustrations leave plenty of room for imagination; besides acting out every page, children will enjoy creating their own sets of poetic instructions for things that need being. Playful and child-centered, with the winsomeness of Ruth Kraus and Maurice Sendak's early collaborations and the offhanded, natural wit of Karla Kuskin, Lisa Brown has shown that she certainly knows How to Be an Author/Illustrator. (4 and up)

On a personal note:
I was surfing without success for this Lisa Brown's website, but instead came across a fairly fabulous website of another, different, and unfortunately demised Lisa Brown who was also an artist (albeit Keith-Haring-ish and of a decidedly more adult nature, but hey, we can be grown-ups for a minute here, I guess). So! If you are pregnant and looking for a name for a daughter, have you considered Lisa Brown? It seems that women with this moniker are beautiful and have creative tendencies.

Here is a picture of the children's author Lisa Brown.
Isn't she so pretty and friendly-looking? Just like her book.

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

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