It’s berry season! The stalls at the farmer’s market are filled with the sweet goodness of Ontario strawberries. The smell and taste of strawberries bring back fond memories of family outings. One of my favorite photos is of my sister and me in our summer dresses showing off our knobby knees and strawberry-stained hands. We would spend hours wandering through the strawberry patches, but I would end up having little to show for it – one berry for the basket and three berries for me. Keep reading…
As a little boy, Bruce Degan and his grandparents would spend their summers picking wild berries in rural upstate New York. Grandma filling her pot, Grandpa filling his can and little Degan filling his pail with berries before heading home to enjoy the fruits of their labour. He has fond memories of sitting in his grandparent’s kitchen surrounded by the smell of blueberry pie baking in the oven, blackberry jam cooking on the stove and eating fresh berries with sour cream and sugar.
Inspired by these memories, author and illustrator Degen brings us Jamberry, a sweet little story is about a little boy and a bear’s delicious adventures in Berryland. A perfect book to read out aloud, Jamberry is filled with silly rhymes and musical rhythm, which will reduce young readers to giggles and handclapping.
The traditionally drawn artwork is as sweet as the story. Degan uses watercolour and pencil to portray his delightful characters, particularly the animals. Readers will get a kick out of discovering the subtle touches in Degan’s illustrations, such as a butter knife dragonfly sitting on a lily pad cracker or marshmallow and jelly bean cattails.
Jamberry, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Author and Illustrator Bruce Degan
In stark contrast to the summers he spent with his grandparents, Degan was born and raised in the urban landscape of Brooklyn, New York.
At an early age, he was encouraged by his elementary school teacher to continue in the arts and he went on to receive his Bachelor of Fine Arts at The Cooper Union and his Master of Fine Arts with a major in printmaking and a minor in painting at the Pratt Institute.
Upon graduation, Degan worked numerous jobs, including advertising design, painting scenery for opera productions, running a lithography and teaching art in schools, before settling on illustrating and writing children’s books. He is best known for his illustration work on The Magic School Bus series.
Publisher HarperFestival (January 6, 1995)