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Posts Tagged ‘Perfect Picture Book Friday’

Today’s PPBF selection is from one of our April Author-Palooza authors and Perfect Picture Book Friday’s very own host – Susanna Hill!

 Not Yet Rose

Written by Susanna Leonard Hill, Illustrated by Nicole Rutton

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, September, 2009

Suitable for: Ages 3+

Themes/Topics: New Baby, Siblings, Family, Big Sister, Love

Opening/Synopsis: From School Library Journal: Every morning, a young hamster races into her parents’ bedroom and asks, “Is the baby here yet?” and each time they answer, “Not yet.” Rose can’t decide whether she wants a sister or a brother, and at one point she decides that she doesn’t want a baby at all, but her mother brings her around to the idea that she’ll probably like being a big sister. Dad describes the nurturing that babies require and reminds his daughter that she was once an infant who needed and received loving care, too… Hill presents adults who encourage their daughter to process her feelings and come to her own conclusions. The narrative’s pacing and structure are ideal, with the story and life lessons beginning on Monday and ending on Friday.

Activities: Susanna Hill has wonderful resources for Not Yet, Rose and all of her books on her website, including a teacher’s guide, coloring pages, a word search and a maze. This book is obviously also a great jumping-off point for preparing young children for a new sibling and opening discussion of their feelings. Another great way to further the discussion is showing children their own baby pictures and talking about what they were like as infants and asking questions about what kind of big sister or brother they want to be.

Why I Like This Book: I so love the ending of this book, but I don’t want to rob you of the joy of discovering it for yourself. I also love the fact that when my daughter read this book she sighed and said, “I love this book.” Then we shared lots of memories of what it was like when we brought her baby brother home. Of all the “new sibling” books I’ve read, this one is my very favorite.

For more fantastic picture books and resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.

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Today’s PPBF selection is from one of our April Author-Palooza authors – Sandy Asher.

 Too Many Frogs

Written by Sandy Asher, Illustrated by Keith Graves

Philomel, February, 2005

Suitable for: Ages 3+

Themes/Topics: Friendship, Habits, Animals, Bedtime, Reading, Books, Manners

Opening/Synopsis: From Booklist: Rabbit settles in his cozy wing chair by the fire and starts to read a book until he is interrupted by Froggie, who invites himself in and asks to hear the story. On successive nights, Froggie shows up again, makes himself snacks, and plunks down on a pile of pillows to listen to more reading aloud. Then Froggie brings his huge family to the evening storytime, and Rabbit has had enough: “Too many frogs! Too much fuss!” He tells the Frog clan to leave, but guilt catches up with him, and he invites the family back. The humorous, repetitive text is well matched by the funny, expressive illustrations.

Activities: I found this great activity sheet for the book which includes extension activities and discussion topics. Here is another website that lists more than 50 activities for frog-themed picture books, including TOO MANY FROGS! I think this could be very funny as a drama exercise, even with just two kids – one being rabbit and one the first frog. In fact, I think I might just try that with my kids this weekend…

Why I Like This Book: I am a lot like Rabbit in this story. When I cozy up with a good book, I just want to be left alone… most of the time. In fact, I can be quite a curmudgeon about it. But since my kids were born I have come to appreciate group reading time and sharing stories together. Reading them their bedtime stories is easily my favorite part of the day. My kids love the silliness of the frog and the fact that he is oblivious to Rabbit’s feelings. As a writer, I have to say I love the few rhyming parts in the story. This book is an excellent example of how to stir a little rhyme into your prose.

For more fantastic picture books and resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.

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Today’s PPBF selection is from another one of our April Author-Palooza authors – Jennifer Ward. If you like this book, I suggest you read others in this series. Set to the tune of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, they are great fun!

There Was an Odd Princess Who Swallowed a Pea

Written by Jennifer Ward, Illustrated by Lee Calderon

Marshall Cavendish Children, September, 2011

Suitable for: Ages 4+

Themes/Topics: Princesses, Rhyming, Silliness, Fractured Fairy Tale, Humor

Opening/Synopsis: From KirkusThe exuberant princess in this tale begins her day by swallowing the titular pea, which had been under her mattress. From there, the things she ingests get more farcical and less foodlike (as well as a lot bigger)… Observant readers will pick out items and characters that belong in other fairy tales—Cinderella’s glass slipper, the Frog Prince and a prince who could be from Rapunzel’s tale. Spot-on rhymes and rhythms keep the pages turning.

Activities: Jennifer’s website includes a Lesson plan for another book in this series – There Was an Old Monkey who Swallowed a Frog. Many of the activity ideas in that plan could also be applied to There Was an Odd Princess. For example, comparing Ward’s tale to the original. Jennifer’s website indicates that a lesson plan specifically for this title is coming soon, so check back. Another activity my daughter enjoyed was finding all the references to traditional princess tales. There is also a scroll at the bottom of each page revealing the previous items the princess has eaten, so kids can “read” along and chime in as the story unfolds.

Why I Like This Book: This book is just plain fun to read out loud. Even though it’s a spinoff of the popular song, it is unexpected and fresh in its approach. When a book spoofs two well-known stories, you don’t expect to be surprised, but I was! The illustrations go right along with the hilarity of the text. My daughter belly-laughed when I read it to her. Now we want to get the other books Jennifer has written in this series and compare them all to see which one is our favorite.

For more books with resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.

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The book I was going to choose for Perfect Picture Book Friday has already been featured – by none other than the host herself, Susanna Hill! However, I did want to bring attention to it again because it was written by one of our April Author-Palooza authors – Linda Ravin Lodding. The book is The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister.

Susanna’s review of the book is spot on – all the way down to the amusing names of the teachers. I also agree the book brings a very timely message about the importance of free, unstructured play.  So if you missed it the first time around, I recommend you take a look. To make it easier, I decided to share Ernestine’s wonderful book trailer. Enjoy!

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It’s great to be back for PPBF! Today’s selection comes from an author I’ve recently “met” online – Roxie Munro. I was at the library with the kiddos earlier this week, and the book cover caught my eye.  I was delighted to find it was one of Roxie’s!

Written and illustrated by Roxie Munro
Marshall Cavendish Children, February, 2011
Suitable for:  Gr K-6
Themes/Topics:  Nonfiction, Birds, Nature, Eggs, Environment, Habitats
Opening and brief synopsis: From Kirkus: The selection of birds allows for both the familiar – ostrich, hummingbird, eagle – and the unusual: black-legged kittiwakes, cactus wren, pegged for both the musicality of their names and some good and strange facts. Birds that sleep on the water with one eye open? Birds that build a nest as big as a car? Birds that can dive 700 feet under water? A bird taller than a professional basketball player? Birds that squat on anthills for the stinging thrill of it? They are all here. Munro doesn’t just dole out the odd facts, but paints – literally and figuratively – a fine portrait of each bird, the kind that will keep a young reader rapt. 
Activities: TeachingBooks.net has an interview with Roxie about Hatch. The book also includes extensive back matter, including a list of books and websites with more information about birds.  It even has a glossary of “bird words.”
Why I Like This Book: I’m sure I’ve mentioned that my son is a huge nonfiction lover – usually the more boring (in my opinion) the better (in his). So it is always a special joy to find a book that we can both love.  Hatch! fits the bill perfectly.  The illustrations are so true-to-life and beautiful that we could both look at them for hours.  The facts about the birds are fascinating – not a boring one among them!  We both learned loads from reading the book, and my son loves guessing which kind of bird is going to come from which egg and why.  Superb!

For more books with resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.

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Before getting to today’s picture book, I want to let you know that this will be my last Perfect Picture Book Friday post until Friday, March 30th.  Why? Well, I am getting on a plane later today to fly to ITALY and thus won’t be here for the next couple of Fridays.  Part of my trip there will be spent at the O’Reilly’s Tools of Change conference, focused on digital children’s publishing, and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.  I don’t know how much time I’ll have to blog on site, if any, but I will be posting updates on my Facebook Author page and on Twitter if you want to follow along.

Today’s PPBF selection comes from our March featured 12 x 12 author – Katie Davis.  We’ve talked a lot about her in the context of her Brain Burps About Books podcast and her ebook, How to Promote Your Children’s Book, but guess what?  She’s an author and an illustrator too! 🙂

Little Chicken’s Big Day
Written by Jerry Davis, illustrated by Katie Davis
Margaret K. McElderry Books, September, 2011
Suitable for:  Ages 1 – 4
Themes/Topics:  Parent/Child Relationship, Getting Lost, Fears, Love
Opening and brief synopsis: From the Jacket copy: For this plucky little chick, the world is an amazing place. So when his mama hurries him along on a big day out, Little Chicken falls behind.  Soon he finds himself feeling a tiny bit lost and a tad less plucky. Happily, his mama is always just a cluck away. Booklist says: Utterly simple and utterly adorable.
Activities: Katie will have activities available on her website soon, but this book is a great jumping off point for discussions with your kids about what they should do if they get lost or separated from their grownups.  I also ask my kids to say the refrain, “I hear you cluckin’ big chicken,” when we get to those parts in the book.  They think that is so hilarious, they’ve even started saying it to me at other times when I ask them to do things.  😉
Why I Like This Book: This book is so heartwarming and off-the-charts adorable.  It’s also a great example of how you can tell a rich story in so few words (kudos to Katie’s illustrations).  I dare you to read this book and not smile at the end.  Plus, the refrain – “I hear you cluckin, Big Chicken,” is just so darned fun to say out loud. P.S. When you get the book, be sure to read the dedication page!

By the way, Katie won the School Library Journal 2012 Trailee award for this adorable book trailer. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it now.

For more books with resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.

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Today is March 2nd and the good Dr.’s birthday, so of course I had to make a Dr. Seuss selection.  Today is also Read Across America Day, and Teaching Authors has a fantastic post about Dr. Seuss and how to celebrate.  Fox in Socks doesn’t seem to get the same kind of love as Seuss’ other books, but it is definitely one of my favorites just because it is SO FUN to read aloud.

Fox in Socks
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
Random House, 1965
Suitable for:  Ages 3 and up
Themes/Topics:  Tongue twisters, Rhyme, Humor, Silliness
Opening and brief synopsis: “This Fox is a tricky fox. He’ll try to get your tongue in trouble.” Dr. Seuss gives fair warning to anyone brave enough to read along with the Fox in Socks, who likes to play tongue-twisting games with his friend Mr. Knox.
Activities: Just trying to read it out loud without making any mistakes is a great activity! It would pair well with other tongue twister books.  Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Eric Van Raepenbusch’s fantastic post on his blog, Happy Birthday Author, with amazing ideas for celebrating Seuss in general.
Why I Like This Book: Talk about a book that’s fun to read over and over!  That’s because you can seldom read it perfectly, so it becomes a challenge.  And the rhyme is mesmerizing for kids.
Finally, check out this video of a woman speed reading Fox in Socks.  It is unbelievable!

For more books with resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books!

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This book has been a standby in our house for as long as I can remember.

Love You When You Whine
Written by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, September, 2006
Suitable for:  Ages 3 and up
Themes/Topics:  Parenting, Relationships, Family, Behavior, Love
Opening and brief synopsis: From SLJ: In this cozy picture book, a patient mother declares her unwavering love for her daughter, no matter what trouble she gets into. The tot’s actions–pouring cereal on the floor, trying to sneak dessert without eating dinner, chewing with mouth open wide, unfurling newly folded laundry, throwing a tantrum–will seem familiar to young listeners.
Activities: Our favorite thing to do after reading this book is to turn it around on each other.  For instance, I’ll say to my daughter, “Love you when you complain about going to ski lessons the whole drive there.”  She’ll say to me, “Love you when you work on your computer even though you say you won’t,” and so on.  We all laugh, we get to vent a little, and it helps us understand each other better.
Why I Like This Book: For two reasons.  First, because my kids love it and laugh so hard when we read it.  Why?  Because of course they see themselves in the child character.  Second, it’s the kind of book that makes me smack my head and think, “WHY didn’t I write that book?”  It’s so brilliant in its simplicity and so universal.

For more books with resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books!

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I can’t remember where I first read about this book, but I do know that I bought it sight unseen based upon an interview with the author (social media works!).  Being a complete sucker for miraculous dog stories with happy endings, I couldn’t resist.  Plus, this is the author’s debut picture book, and I always like to support new authors.

Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic
Written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi
Nancy Paulsen Books, January, 2012
Suitable for:  Ages 3 and up
Themes/Topics:  Animals, Dogs, Survival Stories, Friendship, Helping Others, Rescue, Bravery
Opening and brief synopsis: From the jacket copy: On a cold winter day, a curious dog wanders onto a frozen river.  Suddenly, the ice starts breaking up, and soon the dog is adrift and traveling–the unwilling passenger on a fast-moving sheet of ice.
Activities: This is a brand new book, so there isn’t much out there yet.  The author, however, has an adorable downloadable Baltic paper doll on her website.  I’m sure it would be fun for kids to act out his journey on the ice.
Why I Like This Book: It’s an incredible story of survival, rescue, bravery and friendship.  Oh, and the main character is an adorable dog.  What’s not to love?
For its sheer adorableness, here is a video of the real Baltic, who did end up being adopted by the crew who saved him.

For more books with resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books!

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Books about self-calming, loving-kindness, meditation and gratitude are still relatively few.  This beautiful book is based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn, and in the simplest of terms, introduces children to the use of their own breath as a way to slow down, calm down and appreciate the beauty in the world.

Written by Sister Susan, Illustrated by Nguyen Thi Hop and Nguyen Dong
Plum Blossom Books, February, 2002
Suitable for:  Ages 3 and up
Themes/Topics:  Mindfulness, Meditation, Breathing, Zen Buddhism, Multi-cultural
Opening and brief synopsis: Opening Lines: “Dear little ones, let us sit very quietly.  Listen… Listen to the wind.  Listen to the birds.  Listen to the crickets and the frogs.  Listen very quietly to your breathing.”
Activities: In my opinion, the best activity based on this book is to do a little meditation with kids having them pay attention to their breath.  When we do this at home, I ask my kids to pay attention to what they hear as they breathe.  It’s amazing how perceptive they become.  Once my son even said, “I heard my own heart beat.”
Why I Like This Book: Every time we read this, especially at bedtime, the kids emerge more peaceful and calm.  I think it also helps them to understand that listening to their breath can be calming at any time.  It also increases their awareness of their environment and their own feelings.  The language is also so lovely.  Here are a few more lines: “Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.  Breathing out, I feel solid.  Breathing in, I see myself as space.  Breathing out, I feel free.  Space, free.”

For more books with resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books!

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