Perfect Picture Book Friday – Sparkle and Spin

Sparkle and Spin, 1957

Sparkle and Spin, 1957

Sparkle and Spin
Author: Ann Rand
Illustrator: Paul Rand
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1957/1991
Suitable for ages 4 and up

Themes: words, word meanings

Opening:  “What are words?  Words are how what you think inside comes out
and how to remember what you might
forget about.”

Why I like this book:  I was browsing the
picture book bins at our local used bookstore when this beauty jumped out at me.  What bold, beautiful, eye-popping designs!  Although I was not familiar with the name Paul Rand, a quick Google search revealed that he was a highly celebrated father of modern graphic design.  Rand designed crisp modern corporate identity logos for powerhouses like Ford, ABC, UPS, IBM, Westinghouse and Enron.

Here are more gorgeous samples from inside:

sparkle and spin 002_crop
“And surely you’ve found,
words sometimes sound
exactly like what they’re
supposed to be.
There’s toot toot!
whee! and whoa!”

sparkle and spin 001_crop
And if you spell fair: f  a  i  r
it could be where a carnival is.
But fare spelled: f  a  r  e
is what you pay on a train
when you’ve grown too big to ride for free.”

Activities:  Have some fun with words!

Here is a fun online game about homophones from Quia.

Or how about a game of onomatopoeia BINGO with these cute cards?

Celebrate words and poems by writing an acrostic!

And a bit more:   This pristine book was discarded from the Stratham, NH Memorial School Library.  Its date due card was blank.  Was it never once checked out?  How sad.  It is a treasure!  But Chronicle Books has recently re-published SPARKLE AND SPIN so it is readily available online and in stores.

I’ll be heading back to that used bookstore soon to look for two additional books published by the Rands:  LITTLE 1, A Book about Numbers, and LISTEN LISTEN (which is currently selling for $399.00 on eBay!).

Perfect Picture Book Fridays are the creation of the children’s book author Susanna Leonard Hill. Susanna maintains a complete list (alphabetically and by theme) of all reviews with new books being added every Friday. It’s a wonderful resource if you’re looking for book activities or books with a particular theme.


About Cathy Ballou Mealey

Children's book author, repped by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, alumna, autism advocate, book reviewer. Reach me via email at or Twitter @catballoumealey
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday – Sparkle and Spin

  1. tinamcho says:

    That’s a gorgeous book; how neat you found it! Thanks for those links. I’m going to try the Homograph quiz with my kids next wk.

  2. Catherine Johnson says:

    Sounds super! I’m glad it’s getting seen this time around then.

  3. As a recovering graphic design geek, I just adore the look of this one. Gonna get it!

  4. playing with words – and how they look on the page…. what fun! This will inspire kids to play with language and fonts (maybe) and toss in some design.

  5. It’s wonderful to see “old” books getting a second life. I’ll look for the re-pub.

  6. What a classic book. Never knew Ann Rand wrote picture books. Her husband’s graphic designs are so striking and perfect for the book. This is such a great find.

  7. izatrapani1 says:

    This IS a great find, Cathy. I don’t know it either, but it looks and sounds wonderful!

  8. Joanna says:

    I loved your extra little thought about whether this clever book had had some library love or not!

  9. The title had me, but this one looks like it will satisfy my ‘graphetite’!

  10. What a cool book! I’m looking forward to checking this out with my son! This looks like a book you can read to very young children because it is entertaining and keep reading it to them as they get older and learn more about words.

  11. A very clever little book. The title had me too. Thanks Cathy!

  12. Robin says:

    I’m so glad you found this book and were able to share it with us. I wonder if it’s still in print. Wouldn’t mind picking up a copy.

  13. Oh! Used book stores are places of wonder. Always treasures to be found! This looks like a real gem. A fun one to look at and to read out loud. I’ll have to look for this one! Thanks!

  14. danacarey1 says:

    I love this book, Cathy. Totally agree with you. I came across it a few years ago in the ‘bargain basement’ of amazon– warehouse deals. Hopefully the other Rand titles will be reprinted.

  15. Cathy…thanks for uncovering this treasure…I will definitely be hunting this one down. I love the rhyme and meter…and the graphics are POWerful. 🙂 Super activity ideas as well!

  16. Sue Wang says:

    I so love great graphic and play of words. They awake the sense, the mind. And I love used book stores!!

  17. What a find!!! I will have to see if I can find that one at the library!

  18. This is such a visually appealing book. Thanks for sharing at The Children’s Bookshelf.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s