PPBF: The Detective Dog

E6F5CC3F-B534-4860-8BCD-052EC38CD4F2Author: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: Sara Ogilvie
Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt, 2018; orig. in England by Macmillan, 2016
Age: 4-7
Themes: dogs, libraries, rhyming books

7C75A5E4-FAAD-490A-A2AB-2EE5E2032304Opening: There once was a dog with a keen sense of smell. She was known far and wide as Detective Dog Nell.

BB2D39D7-BE29-4DD1-A51F-B6FC12069C9FSummary: (from my library’s catalog): When Detective Dog Nell puts her nose to the task, there’s no mystery she can’t solve. Whether she’s tracking the missing shoe of her human, Peter, or locating some lost honeycomb, all Nell has to do is sniff, sniff, sniff and she’s hot on the trail. Besides solving mysteries, there’s something else Nell loves–listening to children read. Every Monday, Peter takes her to school where children tell her stories. One day, Nell and Peter arrive to find that all the books are gone. Who could have taken them? And why? There’s only one dog for the job, and Detective Dog Nell is ready to sniff out the thief!

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Fitting for the illo that the book was falling off the table when I shot this pic!

I like this book because: I figure every child (and me!) wishes they could have a dog in the classroom – every day! This is yet another fantastic read-aloud from the Gruffalo-author, Julia Donaldson. And the delightful, energetic renderings live up to the Donaldson standard! You will fall in love with Nell too!

1AD14924-E8E4-459A-8429-C2A0E1808C87Resources/Activities: seek out programs (like at my local library) where you can read to a dog; Ask around, someone you know might not be using the library for all it has to offer – maybe you could even give them a tour! I meet people all the time in the bookstore where I work who do not even have a library card! Yowza!

F3C1DC18-CE56-4FF8-A5FC-89D54BC379F4For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: The Five of Us

2210EB5B-FCD5-4352-9F60-EEF6375CF4E7Author/Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Publisher: Tate Publishing, 2014
Age: 4-8
Themes: abilities, friendship, road trip
Opening: Once, not very long ago, and not very far from here, there were fve friends. There names were Angie, Ollie, Simona, Mario and Eric. They were all fantastic.

65D4A18E-66C0-4D2B-A3B6-1B20BD28BCEESummary: (from the author’s website) THE FIVE OF US is a captivating tale of adventure, friendship and teamwork: Angie, Ollie, Simona, Mario and Eric are five fantastic friends, each of whom has an unusual ability. Disaster strikes on a day out to the countryside but, working together and combining their individual powers, the Fantastic Five save the day. Teeming with Quentin Blake’s characteristic sense of fun and his exuberant illustrations, THE FIVE OF US is also a powerful, though subtle, reminder that the world is a better place when we focus on what we can do, rather than on what we can’t.

5B00E4BC-FC82-4E38-AD6C-DFC459A799C4I like this book because: I was actually on the hunt for counting books when I came upon this Blake title I had not yet read (I believe I have read most of his authored books…but happy to find out I haven’t!). The story is so simple yet powerful, and as usual the drawings lively and loose – just the way I like ’em! But read this for the heart. It reminds us how much  we can accomplish with our own special quirks if we put them to good use!

7FF57797-7183-4556-9E54-C6F2FC4EB9F8Resources/Activities: For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: Possum and the Summer Storm

4CC74825-D61C-447C-8692-690D6DAB3682Author/Illustrator: Anne Hunter
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018
Age: 3-7
Opening: Possum looked out one summer afternoon. “Time to come in!” He called to his baby possums. “It looks like we’re in for some weather!”
Summary: (from my library catalog) When Possum’s brush pile washes away in a storm, his neighbors all help build a new home based on their own abilities and preferences.

616B4D00-620A-48A0-91BA-6B02B9F4C6E3Themes: Storms, homes, hospitality

FEF11FC8-48CE-474D-A851-A695E31FD7C2I like this book because: Ever since I was very little I have enjoyed watching thunderstorms, especially in late spring when the slate gray sky can make green foliage sing! The illustrations and color choices bring just such a storm right into your reader’s lap! Note the perfect shade of thunderstorm-blue chosen for the endpapers – scrumptious! You’ll want to get out as soon as the rain clears to assess for damages and explore other creature’s habitats yourself.

517BA8C6-12D6-4484-B655-FF7284AE92ADResources: read other books about how animals build their dwellings; read MY favorite book about friendship in a storm HERE; find a safe spot to observe a thunderstorm, like a covered front porch – see the recent hail storm and flooding I observed below.

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1A00DB1B-B14B-4E30-B41B-A4228201DFA9And one I created myself!

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For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: Dark Night

DarkNightcoverAuthor/Illustrator: Dorothée De Monfreid
Publisher: Random House, 2009
Age: 3-7
Opening: It was a dark night.
Summary: (via Amazon) Little Felix is all alone, walking home through the forest when he hears a spooky howling and spots a wolf approaching! His luck turns from bad to worse when a tiger scares away the wolf and a crocodile scares away the tiger! Can something as small as a rabbit help Felix scare away the wild things prowling the woods? This empowering picture book is perfect for any child who’s ever wanted to turn the tables on scary beasts lurking at night.

DarkNight1Themes: dark, fear, courage

DarkNight2I like this book because: Nothing like jumping right into a dark forest in the middle of the night to get a story started! I am a big fan of picture books with simple use of color and silhouette to keep the reader focussed on the bare essentials of a good story (if you haven’t already noticed!).

DarkNight3aResources: read other books about confronting fear of the dark, like The Dark, Handler and Klassen (see trailer below), or It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg – review here; check out more of Dorothée De Monfreid’s delightful work here and here.

For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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Random Tandem with Catherine!

Drew a sheep with its tongue sticking out ready to go on @jrzoch blog this coming week. We used to do a poem of mine with an illustration of hers all the time so this is special starting up again. ❤ #sheep #ewe #oilpastelpainting #oilpastels #drawing #sketchbook #society6 #farmdecor #interiors #wallart #nurserydecor
Julie skipped passed the billy goats and gave them her signature facial expression.
They laughed and said, Mornin’ Julie, good day to ya.
– Catherine M. Johnson
We are at it again! It’s been far too long since Catherine and I did a tandem post, pairing either drawing, paintings, or verse – or all of the above! This time Catherine suggested the animal and the gesture. Come to think of it, I think Catherine has made most of the suggestions, and I have profited from them immensely. Some have gone on to become full fledged picture book manuscripts. Fingers crossed that it happens again!
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I also had to nab this painting of Catherine’s (off Instagram) to show you too. I love the colors and its sweet hugable face!
Updated an oldie. Missed painting in acrylics. Anyone watch the royal redding? 😊😍🇬🇧 #sheepoftheday #ewe #acrylicpainting #abstractpainter #abstractaddicts #abstraction #contemporaryartist #painting #baaa #worldofartists

PPBF: I Know An Old Lady

IKnowAnOldLady.jpgAuthor: Rose Bonne; Music by Alan Mills
Illustrator: Abner Graboff
Publisher: Rand McNally, 1961
Age: 3-6
Themes: fly, nonsense, cumulative tale
Opening: I know an old lady who swallowed a fly. I don’t know why she swallowed a fly! I guess she’ll die!

IKnowAnOldLadyTitlePage.jpgSummary: (from Amazon) For more than a century, this deceptively simple rhyme has delighted children and parents alike. Its galloping rhythm is perfect for reading out loud, becoming a memory game as the list of animals grows—from fly and spider to bird, cat, dog, and goat. Abner Graboff’s bright and starting illustrations combine beautifully with the original verse to bring this subversive, irreverent tale to life.

IKnowAnOldLady2I like this book because: my friend Bonnie gave it to me, one of the only children’s books she found while sorting out items at the home her parents lived in for decades. So first, special meaning, but Bonnie knew I’d like this one – and I say, who wouldn’t? This classic is an example of bold graphic style and humorous simplicity paired with the definitive version of this cumulative nonsense song in American history! Am I too passionate?

IKnowAnOldLady3Resources/Activities: watch a fly as it moves around, on your arm, the dog, your lunch! Play a color/fly swatter game like this one HERE; have fun withe the folllowing fingerplay:

IKnowAnOldLady4Five Little Flies Fingerplay
Five little flies buzzing through a hive,
One snuck some honey, and took a deep dive.
Four little flies buzzing through a door,
One slipped and fell, Crash! on the floor.
Three little flies buzzing through the trees,
One bumped the bark and bloodied his knees.
Two little flies buzzing through a shoe,
One held his nose and said, PEE YOO!
One little fly buzzing through a bun,
The swatter goes SPLAT! Now there are none IKnowAnOldLady5For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPFB: Karen’s Opposites

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One of my favorites in celebration of Alice Provensen, who passed away at age 99 just weeks ago, on April 23, 2018. 

Author/Illustrator: Alice and Martin Provensen
Publisher: Golden Press, 1963
Age: 2-5
Opening: (see spread below)
Summary: concept book of opposites.

KarensOpposites2Themes: opposites, siblings, children

KarensOpposites3.jpgI like this book because: It is a PERFECT concept book. Yup. Think I’m exaggerating? Go find a copy and we can talk.

KarensOpposites6Resources: Look for other opposites in your home, classroom. Read more about the Provensen. According to Alice, “we were a true collaboration. Martin and I really were one artist.” Read the NYT obituary here.

KarensOpposites7For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: Fox Eyes

D8B82C31-BBC7-4332-A18B-6DE3C5519C5BAuthor: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Garth Williams
Publisher: Pantheon Books, 1951; illustrations: 1977
Age: 3-7
Themes: foxes, animals, animal habits
1906972E-DDDD-46F2-B592-37C2F299A81F.jpegOpening: (image below)

F6796E5F-22DD-46F2-B165-9B123A1464D8Summary: (from my library’s catalog) A fox causes consternation among the animals whose secrets he discovers. Little do they realize that because of the fox’s secret, they have no cause for worry.

C2645C92-FC2A-4C0B-AABA-BD2494979161.jpegI like this book because: I was intrigued by an image that Jama Kim Rattigan posted from the book and was so glad I could get it through my local library system. And that cover!!! Wow! What a surprise! But my favorite part of the book has become the sound of the fox’s cough – Whiskerchew!

552FC49D-1B94-44BC-8694-DCBCBB7E7C31Resources/Activities: great companion book when discussing animal habits, habitats, and their sleeping and hunting rhythms, together with Night Animals from Gianna Marino, or Owl Moon from Jane Yolen.

E6CCE695-B7EC-45C8-A462-9070B38C4AF7.jpegFor more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: The Funeral

FDD2A161-1E3F-49CE-B0C0-B866419234B8Author/Illustrator: Matt James
Publisher: Groundwood Books, 2018
Age: 4+
Themes: death, funerals, family

861EA264-CC4F-4880-92CD-A69DEA37BEA6Opening“No school for Norma!” said Norma, putting on her mother’s shoe. A few days earlier, there had been a phone call. Her great-uncle Frank had died, and today was for saying goodbye.

BD54470E-82C3-4AB2-8B08-0403D7635093Summary: (from my library catalog) Although Norma does not understand all the rituals that happen when she attends a funeral with her family, she does enjoy playing with her cousin and feels the deceased would have liked the funeral.

E564F101-A965-49F2-A561-F2A80F7ADB2FWhy I like this book: it is my personal belief that we do not talk about death enough. It was a mysterious thing to me as a child, especially when I was not allowed to attend funerals as a small child. This book reminds me, in the best way, of my first experience. It was not as bad as the grown-ups made it out to be. Share it – it’s beautiful.

70601DA2-F596-43E0-A2D1-F2039EAEF55FResources/Activities: to help make death a part of life, share this book with friends and relatives, bring it to class to share; companion titles: The Scar/ Charlotte Moundlic, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney/Judith Viorst, My Father’s Arms Are a Boat/Stein Erik Lunde.

D1793EA6-2852-4E0F-A489-1A8185A8DA65For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: The Island and the Bear

IMG-3567.jpgAuthor: Louise Greig
Illustrator: Vanya Nastanlieva
Publisher: Picture Kelpies, 2017
Age: 5-8
Themes: bears, Scottish Hebrides, true stories
Opening: (image below)

IMG-3568.jpgSummary: (from the publisher) One morning on a wild and quiet Hebridean island, a bear appeared where there should not have been a bear. The gentle giant would not harm a living thing. But even friendly bears don’t belong on Scottish islands. Will he ever find his way home?

IMG-3569.jpgI like this book because: the illustrations are warm, inviting, energetic, evoking the feel and climate of life in the Hebrides (favorite read for adults linked in ‘Resources’); the writing is equally evocative, with a rhyming style so gentle it has you believing this is how the islanders themselves speak!

IMG-3570.jpgResources/Activities: read more Scottish stories: about Kelpies, Selkies, the Loch Ness Monster, or Robert the Bruce; Research where Scotland is on a map. How is their climate different from yours? What is a school-day like in Scotland? Fro adults: read some of my favorite books about life in the Hebrides from Lillian Beckwith: The Hills is Lonely, The Loud Halo, Lightly Poached, and Beautiful Just.

For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

712E3976-A1A3-418B-9820-42F2C7DA9D69I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to bring attention to the struggles of teachers serving our communities today. In my state (CO) a walk-out is being planned one week from today – April 27, 2018. If you cannot join them in their protest, send a teacher you know a letter of gratitude, of support, or encouragement as they continue to support and encourage our children. Thank you!