Our California

Overview

Re-illustrated and re-designed, OUR CALIFORNIA (previously CALIFORNIA, HERE WE COME!) is a lively tour of award-winning author Pam Muñoz Ryan's home state. Spirited poems celebrate California's major cities and regions. Backmatter includes state symbols and additional information about each place.

Bold paintings by illustrator Rafael López capture the spirit of the land.

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Overview

Re-illustrated and re-designed, OUR CALIFORNIA (previously CALIFORNIA, HERE WE COME!) is a lively tour of award-winning author Pam Muñoz Ryan's home state. Spirited poems celebrate California's major cities and regions. Backmatter includes state symbols and additional information about each place.

Bold paintings by illustrator Rafael López capture the spirit of the land.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

López's (My Name Is Celia/Me llamo Celia) stylized, exuberant paintings make it clear why no other state in the continental U.S. has California's magical pull on the popular imagination. A whirlwind loop tour whisks readers through the Golden State, starting with the beaches of San Diego, heading up to L.A. and beyond to Gold Country, then swinging down through Yosemite (depicted in a stunning nighttime vertical spread) and Death Valley before ending up poolside at Palm Springs. Ryan's (When Marian Sang) quatrains often take on an earnest, textbook-like tone: "The Great Central Valley, with its plentiful yields,/ feeds the whole nation from its orchards and fields." López's illustrations, paintings rendered on wood and sometimes distressed, remain fresh and surprising as he finds ways to express wonder and affection. On some spreads he seems to be channeling the spirit of the great WPA and Mexican muralists; on others, he releases a more graphic-novel spirit, as in the depiction of a '49er with a marvelously greedy glint in his eye. Beyond its obvious use in a classroom, this title is virtually certain to inspire California dreamin' in readers of all ages. Ages 6-9. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4- The art in this loving tribute to the state is so colorful, evocative, and eye-filling that it is tempting to review the title solely as a book of pictures. The text takes the form of brief, undistinguished four-line verses that highlight some interesting features in the 14 locales, or give reasons for their historical or current importance. Some of the places are well known (such as San Francisco and Los Angeles) and some will be less familiar to children outside California (such as the Channel Islands and Eureka). The illustrations, done in brilliant acrylics, fill each spread with a burst of folkloric color and energy. The Capistrano swallows, the Forty-Niners in Coloma, the whales and otters along the coast-all are shown. The back matter includes an illustrated spread featuring the state flag, bird, insect, plant, and so on. Further information on all of the places shown is also appended. This book may not be adequate for reports, but it is a wonderful way to show children the spirit of California, and it could also be useful for families planning vacations.-Marian Drabkin, formerly at Richmond Public Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
A historical and regional tour revealed through rhyming snippets and bright acrylics welcomes the young picture-book audience to California. A turned-sideways opening spread of a map of California introduces 14 double-page spreads that lead a geographic journey from San Diego to such diverse places as Yosemite, Death Valley's Furnace Creek and the Channel Islands. There are historic trips to Sacramento's Capitol Dome in the time of the Pony Express; Monterey when sardines were fished and then sold on Cannery Row; and Coloma when James Marshall discovered gold. Simple couplets focus the vivid composition that's scratched and scraped on textured wood, creating a grandiose sense of history and place. The journey's end concludes with state facts and an expansive array of 75 bulleted items, the eclectic choices following no theme or organizational scheme other than their proximity to the visited areas in the poems. Included are lesser-known places such as Paul Ecke's poinsettia farm close to San Diego and well-known sites as the La Brea Tar Pits along with factoids about the endangered condors and California's motto, "Eureka." A brilliant tickler for budding historians and travel bugs. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580891172
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/15/2008
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 177,701
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.94 (w) x 9.84 (h) x 0.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Pam Muñoz Ryan is a native of California. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees at San Diego State University and she worked as a bilingual teacher and an early childhood administrator before dedicating herself full-time to writing. She wrote her first book at the age of 32 at the encouragement of a friend. She has written many picture books for young children and novels for older students. Pam lives in California with her husband and four children. She often speaks at schools and conferences about writing and literacy.

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