Marthe Jocelyn’s ability to present important-to-learn concepts to the very young has garnered accolades from around the world. Ones and Twos is her first book collaboration with her nineteen-year-old art student daughter, Nell, and, together, they explore numeracy, sorting, and pairing. Each brightly illustrated page invites children to identify familiar objects ranging from kites to socks, from one nest to the two birds sitting in it. Ones and Twos gives little toddlers and their caregivers much to discuss and to enjoy together, and it introduces an exciting new creative team.
About Marthe Jocelyn
When I was a child, I liked to read books about ordinary children who stumbled across enchantment. I really thought that if I looked hard enough, I might find a magic nickel or a secret room behind the bookcase or a gnarled gnome whom only I could see. As I grew older, I felt the same thrill of seeing mysteries unveiled when I went to the theatre or read a book. In my childhood activities, I played with dolls way past the normal age, made dioramas out of junk scraps, directed backyard plays with casts of neighborhood kids, and was always, always reading–only as an adult can I clearly see my pursuit of illusion.
When I was 14, I spent a year in a Quaker boarding school in England, encountering a world utterly different from my own, no magic necessary. I learned the advantage of being a stranger; I created a new character for myself, far from my family and not dependent on anyone’s preconceptions. This later fed my approach to fiction: My heroines are small part “me” and large part invention of who I’d like to be, or to have been.
My earliest chapter books (the Invisible trilogy) were about an ordinary child who stumbles across enchantment. My next several books were historical novels (Earthly Astonishments, Mable Riley, and How It Happened in Peach Hill), set in worlds utterly different from my own. It’s easy to see in retrospect that exploring alternate realities began as a game in childhood and eventually became a consuming pastime, otherwise known as research. I love doing research. I depend on what I learn not only for flavor and accuracy of details, but also for the occasional serendipitous discovery that alters the plot of a story.
But then we come to my most recent novel, Would You. It is a complete departure from any of my other stories, because its inception was in the accident that gravely injured my sister when I was 20 years old and she was 27. Paula was hit by a car and remained comatose for several weeks. When she emerged, she was severely brain-damaged and a paraplegic. Ten years later, she was again hit by a car–in her wheelchair–and killed.
Friends were concerned that Would You would be too difficult to write. In fact, it was the easiest book I’ve tackled yet. I didn’t have to worry about plot! The characters are teenagers and the main challenge was to capture their irreverence and humor alongside the tragedy.
The friendship between the sisters, Natalie and Claire, is inspired by that of my own two daughters. As a mother, I delight in the love they have for each other. It is impossible not to think about my own sister and what I have lost. But here I am, 30 years later, having a fine life, and surrounded with the alternate reality that only teenagers can provide. I hope that I have written an elegy for my sister and an homage to my children.
About Nell Jocelyn
NELL JOCELYN is the daughter of award-winning author and illustrator Marthe Jocelyn, and she is currently a student at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She is the recipient of the Visual Arts and the Photography Prizes from Young Arts New York – one of only two students in the country to win in two categories. Jocelyn has also worked as an assistant teacher at the Arts Alive summer camp in Stratford, Ontario.
PRAISE FOR ONES AND TWOS:
“This delightful concept book brings visual literacy to the forefront, supported by a minimal text…. The simple descriptive verses … are spot-on to reinforce images of numeracy, sorting, paring, common-object recognition, and the daily lives of young children. Each page or spread is illustrated with creative, engaging collages on paper, textured fabrics, and items … extending the opportunity for learning and discussion…. The charming collages are the stars of the show and will inspire curiosity”
—Starred Review, School Library Journal
“… Jocelyn’s imaginative collages help create a book rich in playful details, with a storyline told through pictures that provide depth to the concepts explored in the text…. Although the text is very spare, words like ‘lone,’ ‘swoop,’ and ‘chums’ provide verbal interest. The variety of colours and textures add dept and fascination to the collage images…. Sophisticated and yet endearingly simple, Ones and Twos can be enjoyed by both very young children and the adults who read it with them.”
—Starred Review, Quill & Quire
PRAISE FOR A DAY WITH NELLIE:
“Jocelyn’s charming, intricate collages magically turn cloth, buttons, and other materials into lively, colorful, multidimensional scenes. Children will enjoy the pictures and relate to this day in the life of a typical pre-schooler.”
– School Library Journal
“…delightfully child-friendly…There are so many things to see and so many different objects…used to make the pictures that numerous readings will be welcomed.”
PRAISE FOR WHICH WAY?:
“…As a teaching tool this book is a standout, but it also holds it own as a charming and well-illustrated storybook. Highly recommended.”
– Resource Links
PRAISE FOR SAME SAME:
“… a book like this is an essential part of the very young child’s library.”
– Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“An appealing and eye-catching addition.”
– School Library Journal