7-Imp may be, for all intents and purposes, an art site, but today I’ve got some words for you. (Okay, some art too.) More specifically, Christoph Niemann’s Words, released this month from Greenwillow Books.
I love this one, which makes a great book for emerging readers to browse (if I could, I’d leave copies in every Kindergarten classroom in the country), as well as a great book for those learning English as a second language. To be sure, though, it’s a smart and fun book for everyone. In it, Niemann has illustrated more than 300 words in bold, black lines he drew in Adobe Photoshop. Each page features one word, and Niemann doesn’t desert any parts of speech. (Be sure to look for his illustrations of parts of speech at the book’s close.) How would you draw “there” and “those”? “Did” and “real”? “Almost”? “Will” (the verb, that is)? Tough ones, huh? Niemann’s got you covered here with clever, thoughtful renderings of words in the English language, sometimes pairing homonymns on one spread (“duck” showing the creature and then “duck” showing a duck ducking!).
Here’s part of what Niemann writes in the book’s short opening note:
One of the biggest differences between a word and an image is that most of us learn to understand images through happenstance or playful discovery, whereas learning to read and write usually requires a conscious effort. My aim for this book was to make the discovery of words equally fun and inspiring. By showing words in the context of simple visual scenes, I am inviting kids (and readers of all ages) to intuit and puzzle out meaning, and to see language as a source of ideas and stories.
STORIES, INDEED. (I’m yelling this in enthusiasm.) The book is actually a wonderful story-prompter, page after page, and it will get the wheels turning in the heads of readers, particularly those just coming to our bizarre language. (Niemann came to the U.S. from Germany and writes in a separate note, which came with the publicity materials, that English was challenging to learn. But, he adds, “English is a wonderfully diverse and inventive language, and I eventually learned that it is much less exclusive than other languages that make you climb a terrifying mountain of grammar before you can even dream of communicating.”)
As the starred Publishers Weekly review notes, Niemann is prompting readers to tease out correlations and even cause and effect between things and ideas. Child readers will also put their inference skills to work. Instead of me going on, I’m going to let some more of his words and images do the talking. Below are a small handful of images, and if you want to see even more, click here to see a GIF of more pages from the book.
WORDS. Copyright © 2016 by Christoph Niemann. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Greenwillow Books, New York.
Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.
1) Nasty women who vote.
2) I love this Horn Book post over at Family Reading.
4) Light and lanterns.
5) Decisions and judgments and fingers crossed.
6) Hot cocoa with rainbow sprinkles.
7) Slow but steady progress on my daughters’ Halloween costumes. (They’re a bit of a challenge this year.)
What are YOUR kicks this week?