Title: Rufus the Writer
Author: Elizabeth Bram
Illustrator: Chuck Groenink
Age Group: 4-8
Synopsis: Rufus decides to forgo his customary lemonade stand for something a bit more creative.
I thought, initially, that this was a Christian Robinson book. Just from the front cover. Now that I’m staring at it, it’s obviously not but when you look fast it might. And, well, I was looking at it fast. I shelve books in the children’s section at our library and as I shelve I grab stuff that looks good. But tell you me. Keeping that place organized, especially after a Thursday morning reading session, could be a full time job. Even if there’s nothing to shelf, I could spend four hours correctly alphabetizing the books that have gotten hopelessly lost or just mixed up. Anyway, tangent aside, that’s how I happened upon Rufus the Writer. I saw it as I was flying through the B’s and set it in my stack for home. In hindsight, it was a great move.
Rufus is introduced to the readers while lying on his back and watching clouds. It’s hard not to instantly like someone who can spot a cat cloud that’s recently transformed from a cushion. He decides in that moment to have a story stand in lieu of his normal lemonade stand. After assuming the appropriate attire and gathering a plethora of pencils and paper he greets his first customer. In a smiliar chain of events, Rufus barters for a shell, a kitten, and a bouquet of flowers in exchange for his stories. Each is unique, imaginative, clever, and concise breaking the book itself into 4 different sub-plots strung together with an underlying main plot. Rufus, himself, proves to be thoughtful and kind and the overall effect is one of a heart-warming creativity.
Groenink’s illustrations really work well with these themes. He utilizes a slightly different style when emanating Rufus illustrating the stories he writes than Groenink uses for the main story line. This creates a clear but boundary between the two but is not so stark as to be jarring. The colors and style that he uses overall have a simplistic and muted tone to them which is striking and also allows the story and pictures to blend seamlessly. Indeed, at one point, quite early on, there is no text for two pages but Groenink does such a spectacular job that it’s easy not to even notice.
The combination of story and text makes this book a fabulous read but it’s the inclusion of such thoughtful, kind, and imaginative details that elevates it to amazing. We loved such a beautiful array of characters that exemplified what it is to be active, good friends. And I loved that Bug requested specific parts of the book to be read to him again and again (he especially loved the story about the kitty cat). It was a fabulous pairing of author and illustrator and also a great example of creativity and how amazing writing can truly be.
- Keep an eye out for your favorite story pieces on the last page.
I need more!
There’s not a whole lot of info out there about Elizabeth Bram. She has other picture books but they’re difficult to locate even on Amazon and Google.
Chuck Groenink has a great array of books he’s illustrated our other favorite being: Hank’s Big Day: The Story of a Bug. We can’t wait to check out: The Library Book and The Donkey Who Carried a King. Get more info about him via Google as his website doesn’t seem very up-to-date.