PPBF: Farewell Floppy

FarewellFloppyCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Benjamin Chaud (Engl. translation: Taylor Norman)
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2015 (orig. published: Adieu Chausette, hélium/Actes Sud, 2010)
Ages: 4 and up
Themes: pets, friendship, responsibility
Opening: Floppy, that’s my rabbit. That’s his name because of his ears. They don’t stand up straight like other rabbits’. 
Summary: (from my library catalog) A boy feels that he is too old for his pet rabbit, so he tries to turn Floppy loose in the woods–but when he realizes that he really loves his pet, and returns for him, Floppy is nowhere to be found.

FFEndpapers

Why I like this book: I picked it up because of the book’s vertical format (8 x 0.5 x 12.5 inches) and the illustrator’s work (another PPBF pick of mine HERE). But at first I was not taken with the text – WHHAAAAH? But, I read on – so something must have been working because I am a tosser (over the shoulder but with a soft landing). If I am not grabbed in the first 2 pages, 3 max, the book is airborne. The illustrations invited me to keep going. but the last line on page 2 got me:  “So I had to let him go.” Yikes! I had to follow the mc and find out how he planned to do this! When you’ve read it too let me know what you think. I fell, big time! A Kirkus review did not, and as with all books, it keeps me wondering about personal tastes and how we form opinions – too deep a topic for this recommendation though. Do give it a go!

FF5Resources/activities: discuss pet care and the connected responsibilities, and choosing the right pet; learn about lop-eared rabbits; contact your local Humane Society to arrange a visit; tell the story with puppets.FF4

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

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PPBF: Leave Your Sleep

LYScoverCollection of Classic Children’s Poetry: adapted to music by Natalie Merchant
Illustrator: Barbara McClintock
Publisher: Frances Foster Books, FSG, 2012
Ages: 5-9yrs
Themes: poetry
Opening: (from The Land of Nod, R.L.Stevenson) From breakfast on all through the day, At home among my friends I stay; But every night I go abroad, Afar into the land of Nod.
Summary: (from my library catalog) This collection of classic children’s poetry, adapted to music by Natalie Merchant, opens the door to a wondrous world filled with witches and fearless girls, blind men and elephants, giants and sailors and dancing bears. Leave Your Sleepfeatures a daring and delightful selection, ranging from the beloved (e.e. cummings, Edward Lear, and Jack Prelutsky) to the undiscovered (the young Nathalia Crane). Natalie Merchant’s brilliant musical renderings, selected from her highly praised album, share the stage with Barbara McClintock’s richly imagined art to create a memorable reading, looking, and listening experience.

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I like this book because: I’ll admit I hadn’t even opened the book before I melted: McClintock’s illustrations are so rich and divinely rendered that i sat and stared, carefully turning each page as slowly as possible, soaking it all in. I have always loved to leaf through collections, laughing at silly sounds and notions, and wondering why the illustrator decided to illustrate just that particular part of it. Beautifully done, these are lifetime treasures.

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Resources/activities: Watch Merchant perform the poems in a TED Talk – HERE; choose a particularly descriptive line or phrase from any of the poems to illustrate something from; learn a poem by heart, from this book or another.

LYS2

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

PPBF: Das Wurzelkind/ The Root Child

Tomorrow, April 4th, is the birthday of Belgian illustrator and recipient of the 2010 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Kitty Crowther. And though she may not be well known in the US, it is where I first saw her work, albeit in the World Languages section of my library (see my review of ¿Entonces?/Then? – HERE). Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is the only ‘Crowther’ I was able to find on the fly (why, why didn’t I order ahead?), while traveling through Germany last month. Read more about Crowther and her work at picturebookmakers.com HERE

Author/Illustrator: Kitty Crowther, translated from the French by Bernadette Ott
Publisher: Aladin Verlag, 2014 (originally published in French by l’ecole des loisirs, 2003)
Ages: 5 and up
Themes: forest creatures, fairies, friendship
Opening: my translation: This story takes place in a deep, deep forest. (Diese Geschichte spielt in einem tiefen, tiefen Wald.)
Summary: (from the publisher) my translation attempt: A fox lures Leslie in the dense undergrowth of the deep woods, not found on any map. In a clearing she meets a secretive creature that will change her life in wonderful ways. (Original: Ein Fuchs lockt Leslie ins dichte Unterholz eines tiefen Waldes, der in keiner Karte verzeichnet ist. Auf einer Lichtung begegnet sie dort einem geheimnisvollen Wesen, das ihr Leben auf wunderbare Weise verändern wird.)

W1

I bought this book because: it may have been the only Crowther book I could find, but the illustrations are charming and I would have picked it anyway! They possess so much energy while maintaining a a level of secrecy, of mystery, always leaving me wanting more. It’s a folk tale, unlike conventional American counterparts in word count and style, but universal in the telling of how a wild creature might not adapt to a home life.

W2

Resources/activities: as this book may not be available in English I won’t add activities for it, but would like to invite caregivers and children to explore the world languages departments of their local bookstores and libraries.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KITTY!

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

PPBF: Scrappy the Pup

ScrappyCoverAuthor: John Ciardi
Illustrator: Jane Miller
Publisher: J. B. Lippincott, 1960
Ages: 3-8yrs
Themes: stories in rhyme, watchdogs, farmers
Opening: This is the story of Scrappy the Pup, Who slept so hard he just couldn’t wake up.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Here is a Poem about Scrappy the pup who was supposed to be a watchdog. What Scrappy really liked to do was eat and sleep, and once he was asleep nothing could arouse him-not thunder, rain, guns, nor anything else – until his owner, a farmer, broke Scrappy’s dinner plate.Scrappy2

I like this book because: the rhyme is sublime! I am a late bloomer when it comes to poetry, but I know a good ‘un when I read it! I saw the author mentioned in an interview with illustrator Moira Swiatkowski on Joanna Marple’s blog HERE. I put a bunch of his books on hold and am totally in love! As I told a friend, I feel like I’m being pushed on a swing while reading this. No need to take my word, read the three consecutive pages posted here. I enjoyed the simplistic and loose illustration style, and feel it works well with the rhythm of the story.Scrappy3

Resources/activities: read more of John Ciardi’s collections for children; read Renée LaTulippe’s Ciardi post with Lee Bennet Hopkins at No Water River HEREwrite a poem!Scrappy4

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

PPBF: Eine Kleine Dickmadam

EineKleineDickmadam

A Little Fat Madam: Funny Rhymes for Children (my direct translation!)
Illustrator: Franz Zauleck
Publisher: LieV, 2010; originally published 1979
Ages: 3-6yrs
Themes: funny rhymes in German

EineKleineDM2

Opening: “Eine kleine Dickmadam reiste mit der Eisenbahn; Eisenbahne krachte, Dickmadame lachte, lachte bis der Schaffner kam und sie mit zur Wache nahm.”

EineKleineDM3Summary: board book with funny rhymes for children.

EineKleineDM4I bought this book because: my daughter planned a visit to the Leipzig Biook Fair while I stayed with her in Germany. I planned to purchase a select few that I could fit in my wee suitcase. This one has pretty edgy illustrations for a 36 year old book! Sure, I enjoy rhymes, and hope to read this to a child someday, but I bought this last Friday for ME!

EineKleineDM5Resources/activities: though it may seem odd to read a few German rhymes to English speaking preschoolers, I think it would be fun for them to listen for the sounds/words that rhyme and try and guess what the rhyme is about from the pictures. Not a bad way to spark interest in learning a foreign language!

Also tempted to purchase, from Zauleck

For more PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) titles, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: susannahill.blogspot.com

From the same stand at the Leipziger Buchmesse:

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LeiVVerlag

PPBF: Some Bugs

BugsCoverAuthor: Angela DiTerlizzi
Illustrator: Brendan Wenzel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2014
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: stories in rhyme, insects
Opening: Some bugs sting. Some bugs bite. Some bugs stink. And some bugs fight.
Summary: (from my library catalog) From butterflies and moths to crickets and cicadas, a rhyming exploration of backyard-bug behavior.

BugsTitle I like this book because: it features simple, spot on rhyme. Not too tight – just right! Bright, mixed-media collage illustrations are engaging and vibrant – makes you want to jump up for spring! (Which I hope has sprung when I return from the old country!)

BugsButterfResources/activities: get out your magnifying glasses, turn over leaves, rocks, mulch – you’ll be surprised to see what you can find. Draw or take photos, create a class collage. Do this at repeated intervals throughout the year and gain a better sense of what otherwise remains a hidden environment.

BugsMelonHeading out on a search for picture books on foreign soil, so I won’t be PPBF-ing (or checking out everyone else’s posts – sorry!) until after mid-March. Until then keep up with the PPBF posts and parent/teacher resources you can find on Susanna Hill’s blog – HERE

Booklove Bloghop and a PPBF Giveaway?

NeilGaiman

Yup! The GIVEAWAY: this signed book – one of three that I stood on line for outside in February for SEVEN hours. Totally worth it!!! My local indie-bookseller, Old Firehouse Books tempted its customers with a challenge: the most copies of The Ocean at the End of the Lane sold by one of five chosen indies will be the lucky host of a Neil Gaiman visit! AND WE DID IT! A shout out to all the wonderful people I chilled with – literally! And the amazing staff and volunteers that made the event FUN! Leave the number of minutes it would take for you to WALK to the nearest seller of milk in your neighborhood in a comment below by Feb 15th-12amEST to win!

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Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Skottie Young
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2013
Ages: 8-12yrs
Themes: adventure stories, fathers, space and time
Opening: There was only orange juice in the fridge. Nothing else that you could put on cereal, unless you think that ketchup or mayonnaise or pickle juice would be nice on your Toastios, which I do not, and neither did my little sister, although she has eaten some pretty weird things in her day, like mushrooms in chocolate.
Summary: (from my library catalog) While picking up milk for his children’s cereal, a father is abducted by aliens and finds himself on a wild adventure through time and space.

Milk

I like this book because: it’s funny! I know, by definition, it is not a picture book, but there are pictures on every spread but one, AND I had to share it!

Resources/activities: go out for milk (or pickle juice if that’s what you’re into!) and think up your own adventure as you walk! I can walk to my neighborhood grocery store in 17 minutes – how long would it take you to get to your nearest seller of milk? Leave your answer in a comment below for a chance to win the signed copy of Fortunately, the Milk.

H, J and K

H, J and K: Seven hours

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

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Booklove picks: I didn’t have to choose books that friends wrote, but I am lucky that I can!!! Click each for a quick review on goodreads

DDiesen

JulieH'sMLFYITS

SalinaYoon

MonicaKulling

JacqueDuffy

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Carrie Finison came up with the LOVE-ly idea to spread the booklove! Wanna show some booklove too? Check out the instructions on Penny Parker Klosterman’s post HERE. Be sure to include the adorable badge designed by Dana Carey. Dana is a writer and illustrator who is Assistant Regional Advisor for SCBWI France, and also one of the co-leaders of Sub It Club.

 

 

Thinking about Visual Thinking

…and character development. By sketching, doodling, drawing every day (thanks to SkADaMo challenges with Linda Silvestri and Alison Kipnis Hertz’s Doodle Day fb group) I have become aware that a lot of my creative process does not take place in my head, but though visual communication with my hand. Sound crazy to anyone? The shape of one curve often interests me enough to change the way I’m drawing a character from the visual I had in my head. Often ‘accidents’ happen that are more appealing than what I was attempting. I thought I’d share an example – how I came upon an alpaca while trying to draw a dog!

PQradade Dog_03(2)-1So here was one attempt at a dog, utilizing black so that I could concentrate more on the shape and how it was working for me. It wasn’t. Do I want this dog to have more anthropomorphic qualities? Should he be able to stand on two legs? Hold on to it, but create a new file.

PQradade Dog_04-1Fun lines, but this did NOT look like a dog to me! Nope! Next…

PQradade Dog_05-1Now I have really taken a departure form the canine world! but now I see something quite different, a different species altogether…’follow your nose, Julie’…another file!

PQradade Dog_06-1Now I see, it’s an alpaca! But so stiff! I’ll play, and add color too…

PQradade Dog_07(1)-1

No dog created, but I found this delightful creature! So I allow myself to write a crappy story draft, and draw crappy sketches – a workable piece could be in the next file!

PPBF- Cybils Awards Finalist: Shh! We Have a Plan

 

Shh1This selection is one of seven finalists for fiction picture books, and I am a participating judge for round 2. Which means I have to read them. Tough work, huh? For information on the Cybils Awards, click HERE

Author/Illustrator: Chris Haughton
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2014
Ages: 3-7yrs (according to Amazon, but I think the younger in the range would enjoy it more)
Themes: trapping, birds, compassion, observation
Opening: Look! a bird
Summary: (from Amazon) Four friends creep through the woods, and what do they spot? An exquisite bird high in a tree! “Hello birdie,” waves one. “Shh! We have a plan,” hush the others. They stealthily make their advance, nets in the air. Ready one, ready two, ready three, and go! But as one comically foiled plan follows another, it soon becomes clear that their quiet, observant companion, hand outstretched, has a far better idea.

Shh2I like this book because: it is both humorous and deep. On reading it again I realized an extra layer, that beyond there being more ways to accomplish a task, there are more ways to interact with your environment. The illustrations, as you see, are bold and bright, which stand in glorious juxtaposition to the quiet message midst the humor and excitement. The illustrations have much more to surprise you with than I am willing to spoil by sharing! Check it out!

Shh3Resources/activities: great companion read when discussing problem-solving, opposing viewpoints or respect for nature; use in the art room when discussing use of warm and cold colors; make torn-paper pictures using complimentary colors.

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