PPBF: Ear Muffs for Everyone

EarmuffscoverAuthor/Illustrator: Meghan McCarthy
Publisher: Paula Wisemann/S&S, 2015
Ages: 4-8
Themes: ear muffs, ear warmers, inventors, patents
Opening: The word “muff” has been around since the Middle Ages. Starting in the 1700’s, people wore muffs on their hands to keep them warm, like this: ‘This muff keeps my hands so very warm!’
Summary: (from my library catalog) This picture book biography of Chester Greenwood explores the invention of the earmuffs and the patenting process.

earmuffsendpapersI like this book because: it’s not all about who invented earmuffs, or as the title says, ‘How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs’, it goes into depth about the information we get and how we need to look deeper into the history of an invention – or patent – to really know how the object came about. It will help them to question things they hear and take for granted. The art is fabulous – McCarthy has such a wonderful way of bringing to our attention what could otherwise be seen dry information yet it’s all so much fun in her books – do check out her website: http://www.meghan-mccarthy.com/; or this article in School Library Journal.

earmuffs1Resources/activities: try and make your own earmuffs – video instructions here; if you are lucky, maybe there is a patent museum near you, like the Hagley Museum I visited in PA – HERE

earmuffs3For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HEREearmuffsback


PPBF: Sharing the Bread

SharingcoverAuthor: Pat Zietlow Miller
Illustrator: Jill McElmurry
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade, 2015
Ages: 4-8
Themes: family, Thanksgiving, stories in rhyme
Opening: Mama, fetch the cooking pot. Fetch our turkey-cooking pot. Big and old and black and squat. Mama, fetch the pot.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Illustrations and simple, rhyming text reveal a family’s preparations for their Thanksgiving feast, with everyone pitching in to help–including Baby, who sleeps quiet as a mouse.

Sharing1I like this book because: The warm illustrations, reminiscent of american primitive folk art of the 20th century (particular favorites – Ralph and Martha Cahoon), entice and match the musical vigor of the text. Marvelous!

Sharing2Resources/activities: make bread, and/or any traditional family recipe, together; Read the Q&A about this book with the author, Pat Zietlow Miller HERE

Sharing3For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

PPBF: A Daisy is a Daisy is a Daisy (except when it’s a girl’s name)

DaisycoverAuthor/Illustrator: Linda Wolfsgruber
Publisher: Groundwood Books, 2011, originally published by Verlag Jungbrunnen, Wien, 2009
Ages: 4 and up
Themes: names, feminine names, flowers
Opening: Flora, Florica, Kukka, Lore, Hana and Zvetana mean flower. Flowers are born in the spring.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Presents an illustrated look at names for flowers in several languages that are used as personal names for girls.

DaisyendpapersI like this book because: of it’s simplistic, dainty yet powerful beauty, and I’ve always ghad a fascination for name origins. I once found one for mine that I really liked: thick-haired.

Daisy1Resources/activities: make paper flowers; ‘draw’ with thread – with or without a sewing machine; look up the origin of your own name; create a new name for yourself or a pet.

Daisy2For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE


Creeeaak… My Entry

orange_23-1Susanna Leonard Hill’s 5th Annual Halloweensie Contest*: write a 100-word Halloween story appropriate for children using the words costume, dark and haunt. (I threw in some older sketches for fun – enjoy!)


Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Trick or treat.

Rick and Pete?

No. Trick or treat!

Oh. Stinky beets?

We’re trick or treaters!

You’re picky eaters?

We’re wearing costumes!

You need the bathroom?



It’s dark out here!

A shark is near?

We’ll bare our teeth!

You like my wreath?

Open the door!

No, I don’t snore,…but I’m hard off hearing.

We’re gonna haunt your house!

You caught a mouse?

Aw, forget it.

Slug and lettuce?

Goodbye…and good riddance!


Why are you leaving? I love kittens!


*Read the other entries as they are posted over the next 5 days HERE

PPBF: The Elephant and the Bad Baby

EBBcoverAuthor: Elfrida Vipont
Illustrator: Raymond Briggs
Publisher: Coward-MacCann, 1969
Ages: 3-5
Themes: elephants, babies, manners, cumulative stories
Opening: Once upon a time there was an elephant.
Summary: (from Waterstones)”The Elephant and the Bad Baby” is the classic story from Elfrida Vipont and Raymond Briggs. The Elephant takes the Bad Baby for a ride and they go ‘rumpeta, rumpeta, rumpeta down the road.’ They help themselves to ice creams, pies, buns, crisps, biscuits, lollipops and apples, and the shopkeepers follow them down the road shouting and waving. All ends well as the Bad Baby learns to say ‘Please’ and his mother makes pancakes for everyone.

EBB1I like this book because: this is a GREAT read-aloud, recommended by a friend (Hi, Kelly!) for it’s jauntiness as she recently searched for a copy to gift her grand-nephew. I am a fan of Raymond Brigg’s work, but had not known about this cumulative gem. And the simplicity of the opening line is just so refreshing!

EBB2Resources/activities: make a puppet show, a flannel board, or perform the book as a play; talk about appropriate manners, but do this first – then read this to lighten the mood!

EBB4For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE


PPBF: Max and Marla

Max&MarlaCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Alexandra Boiger
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015
Ages: 3-5
Themes: sledding, Olympics, friendship
Opening: Max and Marla are best friends.
Summary: (from Amazon) Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it’ll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories!

M&M2I like this book because: it reminds me of the sledding adventures I had as a child, how persistent we were, wet mittens and all, and how the kids in our neighborhood enjoyed playing ‘Olympics’, though gymnastics was my chosen sport because CARTWHEELS! (I always wanted to play Nadia Comaneci). I love the simple palette, an array of cool blues and spots of cinnamon. Both characters are endearing, but my heart melted with little Marla asleep on the couch, ‘helping’ with the wax – “True Olympians never give up”!

M&M4Resources/activities: learn about different Olympic sports for winter or summer (don’t forget badminton – my favorite to play!); discover the difference between sleds and sleighs, and what makes them go (and why Max uses wax on his)at wonderopolois.org – HERE; investigate: do different cultures use different kinds of sleds? (I have a German one, just like the sled in the book!). I’ve wanted one like the following since I first saw the Swedish tv series, Pippi Longstocking:


For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE



PPBF: Bookmaker’s Studio

TheBookmaker'sStudioCoverAuthor: Photography: Jake Green; Art Direction: Melanie Mues; Editor: James Cartwright
Publisher: The Bookmaker’s Studio, 2015; Printers: Hacksmith Press
Ages: all
Themes: children’s picture book illustrators, illustration, design
Opening/Introduction: Making books for kids is a humbling profession; months and years of character developing, story refining, composition adjusting, and dummy approving to which your audience will be forever indifferent.

TheBookmaker'sStudio2Summary: (from the kickstarter page) A glimpse inside the studios and minds of some of the world’s best living children’s picturebook makers. A limited edition photo book.

TheBookmaker'sStudioInhaltI supported this kickstarter project because: I am curious, nosy, interested and delighted to have a glimpse into the working spaces of other artists. TheBookmaker'sStudio3

TheBookmaker'sStudio4Resources/activities: Have children list all the things they recognize in the artist’s studios as tools they know or own themselves, then make a second list of things they are surprised to see in an artist’s studio; Discuss how picture books are made.

TheBookmaker'sStudio5For existing PPBF selections, including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE; for todays’ fresh picks, click HERE



PPBF: In the Canyon

ItCCoverAuthor: Liz Garton Scanlon
Illustrator: Ashley Wolff
Publisher: Beach Lane Books, 2015
Ages: 4-8
Themes: nature, hiking, Grand Canyon, stories in rhyme
Opening: Here’s a map, some boots, a pack, a walking stick, and sandy track.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Illustrations and simple rhyming text present a child who is hiking with a group into the Grand Canyon, enjoying the wonders of nature–whether a lizard, a picture on the stone, or a glimpse of the moon from the bottom..

ItC1I like this book because: it transports me! I haven’t hiked the Grand Canyon yet, but have hiked and camped not to far from there, and, as I said when I first saw some of the illustrations, I could feel the fine red sand building up in my shoes. And the gentle rhyming couplets give the sense of being right there with our young guide. Beautiful!

ItC2Resources/activities: plan a hike; list what will you need to take on a hike in your area; talk about the wildlife you might see on the hike and what clues could help to discover their presence; practice map reading.

ItC4For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

ItC6Check out Ashley Wolff’s store by clicking on the image (available for purchase) below:

PPBF: 100 Great Children’s Picturebooks

100GreatPBsCoverAuthor: Martin Salisbury
Publisher: Lawrence King, 2015
Ages: all
Themes: great children’s picture books, illustration, design
Opening: Having had the impertinence to make a selection under the banner of 100 Great Children’s Picturebooks, I am anxious to make a few things clear in my defense at the outset. First, I am of course very aware that, as a multi-modal form of communication, the the successful picturebook is about much more than good art and design. This selection, however, first and foremost about good art and design, and is made entirely on that basis. It aspires to deliver a visual feast for those who love the picturebook.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Each book is a creation of genius and inventiveness, and their design and illustration represent such diverse trends as the Russian Constructivists, Italian Futurists and Postwar Neo-romantics. They are also mirrors of their times reflecting social concerns from a child’s and family’s perspectives throughout the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. Fearlessly confronting the frontiers between a child’s picturebook and art, this is a collection of books that anyone with an interest in design, illustration or simply children’s literature should know about.

100GPBs4I like this book because: no comment! Just look at these spreads!


100GPBs7Resources/activities: read this book; look for some of the selections and read them; make a list of some of your own favorites and discuss the reasons behind your choices; read some more!

100GPBs6For existing PPBF selections, including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE


From THE THORN MOUNTAIN, Paul Sunmi, Some Books, 2012

PPBF: Standing in for Lincoln Green

LincolnGreenCoverAuthor/Illustrator: David Mackintosh
Publisher: Abrahms, 2013
Ages: 4-7yrs
Themes: identity, responsibility, humorous stories
Opening: Lincoln Green has a double. Someone who looks just like him. A match. SNAP!
Summary: (from my library catalog) Lincoln has a double, You Know Who, to do all of his unpleasant tasks while Lincoln sleeps, plays, or visits his best friend, but when You Know Who makes a friend of his own, Lincoln is in big trouble.

SIFLG1I like this book because: You know how they say, “Write the book you want to read”? Well, this is the kind of book I want to read just as much now as I would have in first grade. I really appreciate the feel Mackintosh has for composition and negative space, for loose line work and graphic shapes, and above all humor – in his art as well as between the lines in the text.

SIFLG2Resources/activities: make a list of chores you might be asked to do in your family, define which seem reasonable, which don’t, which ones you can’t stand, and which ones you look forward to learning (I wanted to iron like nobody’s business, until I actually got the chance. Still hate ironing!).

standing in for lincoln green3For existing PPBF selections, including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE