On episode 49 of the Lu and Bean Read podcast, we had the honor of interviewing author Marcie Colleen who wrote the new picture book LOVE, TRIANGLE. Marcie was a blast to chat with and obviously is very skilled at working with and writing for children!
About Love, Triangle
From Goodreads: A hilariously clever geometry-inspired picture book from acclaimed author Marcie Colleen and popular illustrator Bob Shea. Ever since they were a dot and a speck, Circle and Square have been best friends…. Then someone new comes along: a cool, exciting Triangle. And three starts to feel like a crowd. . . .With their friendship bent out of shape, can they put it back together again?
A hilariously clever geometry-inspired picture book from acclaimed author Marcie Colleen and popular illustrator Bob Shea. Perfect for fans of Amy Krouse Rosenthal.
Ever since they were a dot and a speck, Circle and Square have been best friends…. Then someone new comes along: a cool, exciting Triangle. And three starts to feel like a crowd. . . .With their friendship bent out of shape, can they put it back together again?
LOVE, TRIANGLE is illustrated by Bob Shea and published by Balzer and Bray in October 2017.
About Marcie Colleeen
Marcie Colleen is a former classroom teacher turned children’s book author. In addition to LOVE, TRIANGLE, Marcie is the author of THE SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS chapter book series with Macmillan/Imprint and PENGUINAUT!, illustrated by Emma Yarlett, to be published by Scholastic in 2018.
Marcie is an expert on creating highly acclaimed Teacher’s Guides that align picture books and middle grade novels with the Common Core and state mandated standards. She is the education consultant for Picture Book Month and the curriculum developer for Time Traveler Tours & Tales. She is a frequent presenter at conferences for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, as well as a faculty member for Kidlit Writing School. Her educational work in children’s literature has been recognized by School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Children’s Book Council.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in education of English and language arts from Oswego State University and a master’s degree in educational theater from New York University.
Although she will always be a Brooklynite at heart, Marcie lives in San Diego, California with her husband—artist Jonathan Lopes—and their mischievous sock monkey.
Books we discussed
I was utterly charmed by WINTERHOUSE, a magical new middle grade novel from author Ben Guterson.
Eleven-year-old Elizabeth Somers lives a miserable existence with her aunt and uncle after her parents’ mysterious death. As Christmas nears, her caretakers unexpectedly announce they’ll be going on holiday and Elizabeth will be sent to stay at the renowned Winterhouse hotel.
Elizabeth is enchanted with life at Winterhouse, making friends with guests and staff alike. Only two of the hotel’s guests give her pause: a mysterious couple that seem to know too much about Elizabeth. Coupled with a series of seemingly magical events, a mysterious book, and the hotel proprietor’s family legend about dark magic, Elizabeth begins to wonder what she’s gotten herself into at Winterhouse. Along with her new friend Freddy, another preteen hotel guest who is just as adept at creating and breaking codes as Elizabeth is, Elizabeth spends her stay at the hotel unraveling the secrets held in Winterhouse’s past.
Although written to entertain kids aged 8-12, I devoured WINTERHOUSE in just a few hours. The mystery was enough to captivate me, and I enjoyed the children’s wit and wisdom as they decoded the mystery. The fast pace will keep young readers intrigued, and the dark parts of the book are balanced with a cast of light, lovable characters that help us understand the draw of the hotel.
WINTERHOUSE has a few weaknesses. We never quite learn why evil lurks in the building, only that a relative of the owner chose evil over good. This is the first in a three-part series, so perhaps the author will delve deeper into the root cause in a future volume. The dialogue between Elizabeth and Freddy is clunky in spots, but that likely won’t deter young readers.
In all, it’s an enjoyable read that I’d recommend to fans of HARRY POTTER and NEVERMOOR without hesitation. I’m already looking forward to the sequel.
WINTERHOUSE published in January 2018 from Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers.
Buy the book
MY GRANDPA’S CHAIR is a lovely, quiet picture book that says just enough.
My Grandfather’s Chair review
A young girl’s grandfather has fallen into a funk. No matter how hard she tries, the girl cannot cheer Grandpa up. He used to love sitting on his favorite couch, but lately he’s glum. They buy a new chair, but Grandpa is so worried about ruining it that it makes him even more unhappy.
In time, the girl brings her grandfather to the park to enjoy a beautiful day. They breathe fresh air, feel the hot sun, and enjoy the outdoors with the wonder of a child. And together, they finally find a seat that will make Grandpa happy.
This simple story brilliantly presents sadness and mild depression in a way that children can understand. Using the chair as the object to represent Grandpa’s happiness, we can feel his despair as he loses interest and isolates himself from his granddaughter.
There is a special bond between the granddaughter and grandfather that’s evident throughout. The girl is slowly able to draw Grandpa out of his fog by reminding him of all the simple beauty in the world. A gaggle of ducks. A squeaky squirrel. A patch of flowers. Pak’s sparse text leaves plenty of room for the illustrations to show us the transformation as Grandfather reengages with life. A simple, yet deep, story to teach children about grief and help explain that sometimes adults feel sad, too.
MY GRANDPA’S CHAIR published in September 2017 from Knopf Books for Young Readers.