Monday, March 28, 2011


During a recent visit to Public School 295 in Brooklyn, NY, a first grader notices that the cat's floor in Hey, Rabbit! is similar to Pius' floor in The Room of Wonders, which he had read earlier. Here I show the other kids that he is right.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tweak Tweak: Kirkus Review

This book presents a pretty and friendly world, in which Mama Elephant is blue, Little Elephant is white and rosy, the sand is peach and every animal wears an expression of contented amusement. (...) As they walk, Little imagines climbing an acacia tree like the monkeys, flying with a very anthropomorphic and beruffled butterfly and singing like a bird, only to learn what elephants do instead. Mama praises her for asking questions, so she can learn and grow to be "a big, strong, smart, beautiful elephant"—just like her Mama, suggests Little Elephant. In a nice touch, it is Little who leads Mama back home, past all the animals they saw on their walk.
Captures exactly and sweetly a developmental ideal for both child and parent.

Tweak Tweak: Booklist Review

On a walk in the wild, Little Elephant asks her mother about each creature they see: What is it? What is it doing? And can Little Elephant do that, too? "Can I jump like a frog?" she asks on one spread, and the soft-toned, line-and-wash illustrations show the young animal imagining herself leaping from a cliff. (...) Young children will enjoy following Little Elephant's fantasies, depicted in the uncluttered, double-page spreads, all the way to the story's climax, which celebrates what Little Elephant really is, as well as the big, strong creature she will grow up to be. Along with the imaginative silliness, the nurturing parent-child tenderness is the core of the story. 
Hazel Rochman

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tweak Tweak: Publishers' Weekly Review

In this tender story from Bunting (Will It Be a Baby Brother?), Mama Elephant advises Little Elephant to "tweak twice," by pulling on her tail, if she has any questions while they go for a walk. And at almost every turn of the page, Little Elephant does. Ruzzier's delicate lines and subdued colors match the tenor of the text, as Little Elephant asks her mother to identify various animals (a frog, a monkey, a bird, etc.), then wonders if she can also jump, climb, or sing. "Can I sing like that?" Little Elephant asks. "No, because you are not a bird.... But you can trumpet--like this. RO-OAR!" Ruzzier (Hey, Rabbit!) warmly conveys the small elephant's emotions and the reactions of other animals in fantasy spreads that show the elephant leaping between cliffs, swimming, and soaring through the sky. Despite the quiet plot and gentle tone, ample sound effects give the story pep, and the tail-pulling is a fun elephantine analogue to the way toddlers pull on a parent's pant leg or skirt hem with questions of their own.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Skype school visit

A few weeks ago, I was very happy to welcome to my studio a whole second grade class of Hanna Woods Elementary School, from Ballwin, Missouri. I had a great time showing them sketches and drawings and answering their smart questions. They were so kind to send me a bunch of beautiful drawings, of which I'm happy to share a few.
Here is a kind note from Amy Johnson, the Technology Integration Specialist:
The second graders in Mrs. Mask's class at Hanna Woods Elementary had the pleasure of "meeting" Sergio Ruzzier via a Skype video call. After reading several of Mr. Ruzzier's books through an author study in communication arts, the students formulated questions about the books, the writing process, and what it is like to be an author and illustrator. The opportunity to have their questions answered firsthand was an invaluable learning experience. As Mr. Ruzzier sat in his studio in New York, he talked to the students about the craft of writing and illustrating a book from beginning to end. The students continue to make connections based on their learning from the Skype session. We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to him for providing such a rich learning experience for our students.