books that instruct / books that enchant
Patito: A Duckling's True Tale
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR PATITO:
"I liked how you made it with suspense." C., 2nd grade
"Good for all ages...a very good read." L., 5th grade.
"Much better than most picture books." S., 4th grade
** To order copies of PATITO, Chillustrated Edition, from Jeswalden Press, call (413) 369-4242, or email Peter@PeterJeswald.com **
EXAMPLES OF CHILLUSTRATED PATITO PAGES:
Kids Give Book Thumbs-up
By Bob Dunn, The Recorder, 12/30/09
For many writers, facing ones critics is a daunting task. The fact that most of Peter Jeswald's are less than 4 feet tall doesn't make it any easier.
Jeswald, a Conway building designer and author, has taken his latest work, a children's book called Patito, A Duckling's True Tale and put it into the hands of local elementary school students in the hopes of garnering feedback to improve the book.
Jeswald, who has also authored several home improvement books, said he first presented a draft of the book to a local children's author for her input. She told Jeswald that there were issues with the book and gave him feedback to make it more attractive to a publisher.
"Well, Jeswald said, "I don't care whether a publisher likes it. I do care what children think about it." Jeswald says the story is based on true events that took place at his home pond (dubbed "Jeswalden Pond") in 2004 when a lone duckling appeared there.
He gave copies to fourth and fifth-grade students at the Greenfield Center School to read, illustrate, critique and share with their younger kindergarten and first-grade counterparts.
The book comes with a map of the pond and has blank frames where the children are encouraged to provide their own illustrations. "Chillustrations", Jeswald calls them.
Recently, Jeswald went to the school to observe the older students reading to the younger ones and collect feedback. Some students sat on the floor, some huddled underneath tables or stretched out in a loft space, some smiled and laughed at the right places and others were distracted by their own feet. Overall, the feedback has been very positive, Jeswald said.
"I bet it would be an award winner," wrote one student. "I would definitely get it if it were in a book store," wrote another. Jeswald hunted through the stack of response notebooks looking for things the students wanted to see changed or improved. "I want to find the (responses) that tell me how to make it better," Jeswald said.
Adding page numbers was one suggestion, while some students recommended making the book shorter, another suggested removing a particular line altogether. "Aw, but I liked that line," Jeswald said aloud while reading through the responses. "Here I can get unvarnished feedback from the source," Jeswald said.
Sophie Hathaway, a 9-year-old fourth-grader, said her younger reader enjoyed the story, especially the more action-oriented scenes. Chloe Bullock, a Center School fifth-grader, said her younger student enjoyed it but thought it might be a little lengthly for younger readers and one part in particular, in which Patito gets stuck in a pipe, might be a little alarming.
Jeswald said that he has commissioned a local illustrator to provide artwork for a finished version of the book, but will still have blank versions available through his Web site. Jeswald said he hopes to have final copies ready for next October's annual Festival of the Hills in Conway. By then, the story may feature changes suggested by the students.
"It's a really good children's book," 10-year-old Chloe said. "Especially for little kids."