Little Clam

Little Clam

by Lynn W. Reiser
     
 

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Meet Little Clam, a very busy and unlikely hero who lives in his shell at the edge of the sea. The hungry sea star, the hungry conch, and the hungry gull are all looking for Little Clam. They want to eat him up. As the pages turn, endearing watercolor pictures and wise warnings from Little Clam's friends—the whispering tide, the blue-eyed scallop, and a sideways

Overview

Meet Little Clam, a very busy and unlikely hero who lives in his shell at the edge of the sea. The hungry sea star, the hungry conch, and the hungry gull are all looking for Little Clam. They want to eat him up. As the pages turn, endearing watercolor pictures and wise warnings from Little Clam's friends—the whispering tide, the blue-eyed scallop, and a sideways crab—add to the suspense and the fun. Is Little Clam listening? Will Little Clam escape? A classic bedtime book for those who live by the sea, visit the beach, dream of the ocean . . . and for every child.

Author Biography:

Lynn Reiser is the author of many popular books for children. She is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University and practices psychiatry in New Haven, Connecticut. She lives in a house in a garden in a forest in a town on the planet Earth.In Her Own Words...

"I am a psychiatrist. Much of my time is spent practicing and teaching at Yale Medical School. In recent years I have also found pleasure in making books for children.

"My books start out as images and sketches and evolve as I draw them. Out of the art comes a dialogue, and from this the story emerges. Putting a picture book together is like playing a game—there are rules and surprises. The book must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and fit into a set number of pages and a particular size.

"I draw wherever and whenever I have timewaiting in a train station, sitting by a stream, even on an airplane. Sometimes I begin sketches for a book years before I have a complete story or text. I draw the whole book in whatever order the images come, then I cut and paste the drawings until they fit. I listen forthe rhythm of the words and of the pictures-once I sense it, it becomes another guide and constraint. The finished book is always a surprise.

"I always knew I liked to draw. I did not know that I liked to write until after I began to do it. One of the first books I submitted to Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow Books was the wordless dummy for Bedtime Cat I asserted that the words were obvious. Susan said, "Then write them down." Through this process of "writing them down" I became a writer. Now I collect interesting words and phrases as well as sketches, and play with words as I play with images.

"I like to learn as much as I can about nature, the world, and people. Studying biology and medicine and psychology satisfies my curiosity about these subjects, and practicing psychiatry and teaching fulfill my wish to work with people and to help them. At first glance this sort of work may seem very different from the process of making picture books. But I feel that it is similar in that much of what I do as a physician is help others to express themselves, to discover their own stories, and to fit them together to make more sense of their lives. Words and dream images appear in my work every day. Metaphors and stories are part of communicating with students and patients.

"I have learned to trust that whatever comes to mind and hand is likely to be relevant and useful, no matter how silly it may seem at first.

"Making books is hard work, but it is a joy."

Editorial Reviews

Susan Marie Swanson
Designed for repeated readings, Little Clam is both refreshing and reassuring. -- Riverbank Review
Children's Literature - Sheree van Vreede
Little clam faces many challenges. It must remember when to stick out its siphons and when to stick out its strong foot, and it must listen carefully to the tide when it rolls in and out. We can all empathize with little clam as we struggle to manage from day to day, not knowing what is out there to harm us. This is a noteworthy bedtime story or anytime story.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-From the opening and closing illustrations of a mother tucking her child into bed, it's clear that this is a bedtime story. "Once there was a little clam..." begins this tale of a mollusk that escapes its natural predators by hiding in the sand as various creatures of the sea sing it a lullaby. The details are scientifically accurate but listeners will need additional facts to understand completely the process the clam undertakes in burying itself and breathing. Although the animal's siphons are mentioned repeatedly, how and why they are used is never fully explained. Simple, full-color illustrations against a white background offer some information, but youngsters may still find the book confusing. A quote by the author on the book flap draws a sentimental parallel between the clam's struggles and triumphs and those of children. This is a good effort at producing an educational book, but it does have its shortcomings.-Shelley Woods, Boston Public Library, MA
Horn Book
Holding a clam shell in her hand, a boy's mother begins the clam's tale, a nighttime story for her son. "Once upon a time there was a little clam who lived in a shell at the edge of the sea." The danger of Little Clam's daily existence all but passes him by. Like a young child, he doesn't heed the advice of the whispering tide or of his friends, a blue-eyed scallop and a sideways crab, who warn him of his ocean enemies; Little Clam is too busy "swirling and squirming and sifting." Everywhere the sibi-lant ssssss sound, so associated with the shore-and sleep-reinforces Little Clam's plight and his happy, ingenious escape from the "sur-prised gull and the startled conch and the shocked sea star." Pluckily, he splats, smacks, and snaps his attackers before the tide comes in to protect the now-tired clam. Repetition not only of individual sounds but also of whole phrases render this simple poetic tale ideal for young children; humor companions drama at every turn of the tide. Dramatic placement of the approaching tide and the advancing adversaries, as well as changing typography, heightens Little Clam's story. Alterations between boxed illustrations, full-page drawings, and comic-strip art contribute to the well-designed layout. Reiser's simplicity belies her attention to every detail: the stylized endpaper design, adapted from the American quilt pattern "Ocean Waves," becomes the boy's blanket; an alert open-eyed seagull mobile, which hangs over the bed of the youngster, closes its eyes at story's end when the boy's mother kisses her own "little clam" good night.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688159092
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/01/1998
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
24
Product dimensions:
8.31(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.33(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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