This spirited story from the team behind Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding (Atheneum, 2006) is narrated by Aspen Colorado Kim Chee Lee (her nom de plume), a seasoned author who favors pigtails and bright A-line dresses. Aspen opens by describing her writing process, lining up words "like a fruit seller who chooses her best mangoes and pomegranates and bananas and puts them on display." But lately she's had writer's block. Thinking Aspen needs inspiration, her grandparents, GungGung and PohPoh, take her to a paint-your-own pottery studio, where she selects an egg to decorate. At first, Aspen just stares at the egg, but as she acclimates to the unfamiliar activity (and the partylike atmosphere that's building in the store) she finds that getting unstuck can be as simple as trying something new. The book is oriented vertically, with pages that open calendar-style, and Heo's illustrations feature creamy surfaces, peppy patterns, and swirling collages that include a miscellany of art supplies, cupcakes, balloons, and polka-dotted penguins displayed in playfully skewed perspectives. Creatively inclined readers may be similarly inspired to explore new methods and media. Ages 4-8. (May)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
Gr 1-3--Aspen is a young writer who hasn't been able to compose for awhile now; though she climbs to her tree house, dons her writing clothes, stuffs her pockets with crackers, and sits quietly awaiting inspiration, ideas just do not come. Her grandparents attempt to allay her stymied imagination by taking her to a pottery-painting studio. The child finds she also has the same aggravating problem getting started with this new form of creativity. Only after another studio participant imparts gentle words of wisdom does Aspen allow herself to be willing to make a mess, which ignites her imagination for both painting and writing. Naïve-style oil, pencil, and collage illustrations are unpredictably laid out in a top-to-bottom format rather than side-to-side. The girl's frustration and eventual pleasure as she works through her writer's and painter's blocks are revealed in single-page and full-spread pictures. Good motivation for children who need to activate their artistic side.--Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI[Page 112]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.