Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain

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9780615314440: Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain
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This collection of 124 humorous and whimsical children's poems offers a lighthearted perspective of childhood in an up-beat tone. Over 100 black-and-white illustrations complement the poems, and challenging words are interspersed to expand young readers' vocabularies. Enter a world where a girl turns into a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich and mice wear roller skates; follow a baseball on its unexpected trip; and discover the fiery effects of eating a chili pepper.

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About the Author:

Barbara Vance is an author and illustrator and a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is the former non-fiction editor of the literary magazine, Reunion, and has taught writing at Southern Methodist University and at UTDallas.

Ms. Vance's work has appeared in everything from literary journals, poetry collections, numerous Texas publications, to alternative reality games. She also works on films with cultural organizations and museums, and consults on screenplays, marketing campaigns and novels; and speaks about narrative and storytelling strategies, most recently at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Her children's poetry and stories have been used by numerous education and arts organizations, including The Dallas Chamber Symphony, for whom Barbara illustrated, and cowrote a digital music curriculum.

Review:

With publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets preparing to celebrate National Poetry Month in April, I am excited to introduce author and illustrator Barbara Vance s Suzie Bitner was afraid of the Drain, the newest book of poems in our family s personal collection of favorites. When I first viewed the front cover of Vance s book it immediately reminded of a childhood favorite, Shel Silverstein s Where the Sidewalk Ends. The design of Vance s book gives a nod to Silverstein s aesthetics, with the use of her own minimalist line drawings, varied typography and abundant white space. Before the kids could even get their hands on the book, I took it to bed with me as my winding down before I go to bed read. It didn t exactly meet its purpose, because an hour later I was still reading, muffling giggles while reminiscing about my own childhood experiences, quandaries, and fears. One poem, Something s There , reminded me of the days when I would run and jump into my bed from several feet away to ensure the evil things that lurked beneath wouldn t grab my feet and drag me under. Countless times my parents pulled up my dust ruffle, looked underneath, declaring it free of any mischief before kissing me good night and heading out the door. Their assurance still didn t keep me from tucking the covers tightly underneath my feet and body so nothing could crawl up and get me. I always left a breathing hole small enough that only I knew it was there. Crazy. Did anyone else do that? Another poem, Rules is EXACTLY why I loved to stay at my Grandma s house and why my children love visiting their grandparents houses. Where else is ice cream, movies, and endless gaming hours guaranteed? Rules are irksome; Rules are dull, And moms know how to make em. That s why we all Need grandmas Cause they re allowed to break em EXACTLY. Utilizing fonts and spacing, Vance visually engages her readers with a kind of wordplay in many of her poems; the words literally play across the page, complimenting the nature of the poem itself. Because the poems vary in length and meter, and cover a pretty wide span of subject matter, even kids who do not love poetry will be lured into reading poem after poem. Vacuuming is another one that resonates close to home. No seriously, I may have to frame this one. I m vacuuming the carpet; It s quite a dreadful chore. I don t think I will tell my mom When I m bored anymore. When my children dare to say they are bored they receive my standard reply, Only boring people get bored. If they don t take the hint, I have a list of chores available to assign. Vacuuming is on the list. heh heh This book has something for all ages. What teen can t laugh (or cry?) about Braces ? I went to the doctor today; He said braces would make me look charming. But, frankly, once they had been glued there, My appearance became quite alarming. This metal all over my mouth Hurts almost as bad as it looks. I think that the doctor s insane, Despite his degrees and his books. The next time I go in to see him And he flashes that big, phony grin, I know that inside I ll be wishing The braces instead were on him. The combination of quirky illustrations (over 100 of them) perfectly supports the humor found in Barbara Vance s poems. A finalist winner of the 2010 International Indie Book Awards, and a nominee of the 2010 CYBILS and Digital Book Awards, the collection of 124 poems in Suzie Bitner was afraid of the Drain is one of those memorable books that stick . And not just because the subject matter is fun (It is!), but because Vance s lighthearted humor and witty approach draws you in to read just one more page, and then another one, and another. --PioneerWoman.com

I recently received a copy of first-time author Barbara Vance s Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain, a collection of children s poetry, and was informed that I would love it, by every one of my friends with kids. At first, I wondered if that was a jab at my love for Disney films and morning cartoons, or a hint to follow in their child-bearing footsteps; either way, I found myself connecting to the humor and innocently refreshing quality of Vance s turns of phrases. In the collection of 124 poems, she explores the childhood experience. Some poems take a realistic look at the problems kids face, from bullying ( The Terrible Thing about Cindy ) to nightmares ( Something s There ) to cooties ( Girls ), while other poems are fantastical, like A Ghost Who Loves Movies and Don t Make the Tooth Fairy Angry. Inherent in all the work is the emotional rollercoaster that is childhood, and Vance presents it all in a fun and positive way. While on the surface, Suzie Bitner looks like an easy bedtime read, Vance s poetic style juxtaposes the traditional children s book. The material is, of course, relatable: it s funny, endearing, and depicts exactly what kids go through on an everyday basis. Every kid has been told to take a bath because they have Stinky Feet, dealt with the issue of Sharing with a sibling, and has made that Fast Friend that lasts a lifetime. But every adult can relate to the material as well. The themes are universal, ranging from acceptance to an awareness of the body to cultivating creativity, and transcend those informative years of childhood. Two of the poems that resonated with me were Sandwich Sister and Dinah. Sandwich Sister stuck with me like peanut butter and jelly literally, the protagonist eats so many PB&J sandwiches that she turns into one for three reasons: it reminded me of the experience of Violet in Roald Dahl s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ( You re turning violet, Violet! ); my mother used to always tell me to stop doing certain things because my face was going to stay that way; and the adjoining illustrations define Vance s pictorial style. A simple pen and ink drawing succinctly illustrates the transformation of the little girl. Her big doe-eyes take in the delicious sandwich and her development into peanut-buttery goodness is both charming and slightly disgusting. But it relays the message: over-consumption never works out. Vance introduces these challenging concepts and words to help expand the young readers vocabularies allowing for interaction and discussion between the adult readers and children. But beyond the strength of her lyricism, Vance s illustrations are lovely and appropriate. Like the drawings in Sandwich Sister, the words in The Sun Is Hot radiate out of the title like sunbeams, creating a visual representation of the text. Overall, her illustrations never draw attention away from the poetry; they only enhance it. The book also includes an index of the poems, both by title and by first line for easy reference. With echoes of Shel Silverstein s Where the Sidewalk Ends, Suzie Bitner Was Afraid of the Drain is sure to entertain, educate, and become one of those go-to books for children as they become teens and later adults. I know that I still dust my copy of Sidewalk, and Suzie Bitner has earned her place on the same shelf. --KERA ~ Art & Seek

If you have children, or you yourself are a child at heart, then don t miss this wonderful book with 124 marvelous and humorous children s poems with over 100 illustrations all by author and illustrator Barbara Vance. Suzie takes us to her world where we explore everything from the day to day to the wild and wonderful. My children especially enjoyed Dear Santa where there is a list even longer than those my boys have this year, Sandwich Sister where a girl turns into her favorite food (PB&J), and my oldest really likes My Brother is D --Role Mommy

There's something I don't think I've shared with our faithful Role Mommy readers - I'm a poetry fanatic. In fact, I've been reading and writing poetry since I was in the third grade and I truly appreciate great poems written just for kids. Which is why when I discovered @SuzieBitner on Twitter and learned she was actually the name of a poem written by illustrator and poet Barbara Vance, I had to find out more. After a quick twitter exchange, Barbara and I connected and she sent me her book to read and I have to say, I've been smiling ever since. Even more exciting, I've shared her poetry with my 8 and 11 year old and she's got them laughing too. Here's a cute verse, that's short and sweet and had us chuckling (especially since we're suckers for penguins): There are 124 poems in the illustrated book that is bound to tickle the funny bone of kids of all ages. Read them with your kids and laugh or your older ones can curl up with Suzie Bitner and read it before they head for bed. If your kids are just learning to write poetry, this is a great way to get them immersed in content that they can connect with and enjoy as they learn the art of rhyme! --Role Mommy

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Book Description Copperplat, United States, 2011. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This collection of 124 humorous and whimsical children s poems offers a lighthearted perspective of childhood in an up-beat tone. Over 100 black-and-white illustrations complement the poems, and challenging words are interspersed to expand young readers vocabularies. Enter a world where a girl turns into a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich and mice wear roller skates; follow a baseball on its unexpected trip; and discover the fiery effects of eating a chili pepper. Seller Inventory # FLT9780615314440

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