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*Scribble* by Deborah Freedman
by Deborah Freedman
Ages 3-6 40 pages Knopf May 2007 Hardcover    

Emma is proud of her beautiful Princess Aurora drawing. As she lifts up her drawing to relay the details of Princess Aurora’s surroundings to her little sister Lucie, Emma happens to glance at the yellow paper on the table. “What’s that?” she asks. Although Lucie identifies the drawing as “a kitty,” Emma cannot see anything beyond a scribble. Emma even points out the cat’s lack of triangular ears. Declaring “…you don’t know anything!”, Lucie scribbles all over Emma’s Princess Aurora drawing. It’s not until Lucie is alone that she decides to draw proper ears on her cat. Little does she know what those ears will do to her cat!

With his new ears come new abilities. Lucie’s cat now hears - and what he hears makes him leave his yellow drawing and travel to Emma’s pink drawing! When inside the Princess Aurora drawing, Lucie’s cat becomes a rescuer. To wake Princess Aurora, he needs to venture through the tough, twisty, tangled mess that surrounds her. Lucie chooses to watch from the sidelines, refusing to help. It’s not until she sees her cat lose a triangular ear that she lends a hand. Lucie wrangles the coily barrier into a manageable size, thus releasing Princess Aurora from her confinement. Lucie’s help not only brings two colorful characters together, but it fixes Emma’s drawing.

The pace is fast and dramatic inside the paper drawings. The characters run across the page, pulled over boundaries and falling into new places. The characters are shown from a variety of distances that helps guide our focus.

Lucie and Emma have a white cat, and the author includes her on every page in this book. The cat gets as involved as she can in this story. She watches, she reacts, and she definitely plays. Their white cat interacts with the paper drawings by exploring the drawn nooks and crannies, hanging off the pencil lines and climbing up the various hand-made structures.

The two sisters are drawn in a realistic style, and their facial expressions are telling. It’s clear what the girls are feeling by reading their body language and their facial features. Lucie’s emotional state is dramatized with bold type and jagged speech bubbles. A few of the illustrations bleed into the white space surrounding the panels. Lucie has physical outbursts from the framed panels in which the sisters are drawn. When defending her drawing, Lucie breaks out of the confines of the framed panel as she stands on her chair and declares “Well, it’s a special scribble-kitty!”

The dominant colors are bright pink and yellow - Emma's pink, and Lucie’s yellow. These colors soon become the only background color when Lucie enters the world of the drawings. The bold background colors complement the exaggerated movements of the characters inside the drawings. My favorite moment in the illustrations is when the yellow cat turns a little pink, and when pink Princess Aurora turns a little yellow.

In creating the illustrations for Scribble, her first picture book, Deborah Freedman used pencil with watercolors, Magic Markers, and digital coloring. Deborah had some help learning to draw cats and princesses - her daughters Lucie and Emma have these skills!

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  Tanya Boudreau/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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