PPBF: Bearsie Bear and the Surprise Sleepover Party

Author/Illustrator: Bernard Waber
Publisher: Walter Lorraine Books, HM, 1997
Themes: bears, sleepovers, cold

Opening: see image below (brilliant!)

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) In a cumulative story, one animal after another asks to come in out of the winter cold to sleep in Bearsie Bear’s big bed.

I picked this book because: my critique partner Lynn Becker recommended it to me, and all I’m wondering is why haven’t I heard of it before? I love it! It’s the perfect sort of storytime readaloud for toddlers (my homies!) with just the right amount of repetition and silly names for the reader, and just the right amount of the same for kids who like something silly but heartwarming. Please find and enjoy!

Resources/activities: if possible, read in a bed or under a big blanket! This would make a great piece to reenact with multiple roles. Talk about sleepovers, why we like them, why we don’t, what we bring to them, and what to do when you are at a sleepover, but would rather go home. A great companion read from thew SAME author is called, IRA SLEEPS OVER.

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

And just for fun, a few photos (below) I took of friend’s books while visiting Germany in April…

PPBF: How to Find an Elephant

Author: Kate Banks
 Boris Kulikov
Publisher: Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2017
Themes: elephants, instructions, dull days

Opening: The best time to look for an elephant is on a dull day when the clouds hover on the horizon looking like spaceships. And you’re thinking up something to do.

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) A boy provides instructions as he searches high and low for an elephant, which the reader can find in the illustrations..

I picked this book because: This book had me with the opening line! Maybe because we’ve had a lot of cloud hovering days lately, but mainly for the juxtaposition within that sentence alone! It’s a fun read aloud for storytime too, and let’s us linger on each page to enjoy the sumptuous illustrations. Perfect for sunny days too!

Resources/activities: Play follow the leader in a circle with elephant steps, on tippy toes, on flat feet, swinging trunks, etc; read books about or with elephants, like The Elephant and the Bad Baby, by John Burningham. Make elephants from TP rolls!

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

PPBF: How to Light Your Dragon

Author: Didier Lévy
 Fred Benaglia
Publisher: Thames & Hudson, 2019; orig. 2016
Themes: dragons, health, human-animal relationships

Opening: Can’t breathe fire? not even the tiniest flicker of flame? Has your pet dragon’s fire gone out? Don’t worry. There must be a way to relight him!

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Has your dragon forgotten how to breathe fire? Have no fear. This imaginative story follows the exploits of one frustrated dragon owner as she tries increasingly hilarious tricks to rekindle her dragon’s flame. Covering everything from the simplest tactics (tickling the dragon), to the sneakiest ones (surprising it with unlit birthday candles), this book is perfect for children who love to guess what’s going to happen next. Readers will learn that in the end, the most important thing is loving the dragon unconditionally. If a person can do that, and if they mean it from the bottom of their heart, then they might discover a truly magical result.

I picked this book because: it’s so sweet AND funny! The writing as well as the illustrations done in a bright but limited palette. I love the voice of the dragon’s human and their heart!

Resources/activities: can you think of other ways to help a friend get their spark back – after giving them the time and space to just be with their predicament, of course! A nice companion book could be The Rabbit Listened, written and illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld. Great launch for a discussion about respecting space and knowing when to give a friend some help.

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

PPBF: Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Author/Illustrator: James Marshall
Publisher: Dial Books, 1988
Themes: bears, folklore, classic tales

Opening: see image above

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Three bears return home from a walk to find a little girl asleep in baby bear’s bed.

I picked this book because: I enjoyed reading it agin, for the gazillionth time! the image above, of Goldilocks sinking into an oversized, overstuffed chair, or the perspective of Pap Bear’s eyes in the image below speaks volumes about what makes Marshall illustrations so irresistible to me – concept, placement, seemingly minor details. The lampshade repeating the shape of papa Bear’s left paw… I melt every time! And his tale-telling style and sense of humor – like the last line from the neighbor on the first page/opening above. You just KNOW it’s going to be a great story! Sigh!

Resources/activities: enjoy reading anything by James Marshall! Rewrite or act out a classic tale and try to give it your own flavor.

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

PPBF: I Really Want the Cake!

Author: Simon Philip
 Lucia Gaggiotti
Publisher: Orchard Books, 2020
Themes: cake, girls, self-control

Opening: “There’s a smell I can’t ignore. It’s wafting through the kitchen door. It’s time for me to find out more.

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) How on earth do you resist the most amazing cake? One little girl is about to find out just how hard it can be…

I picked this book because: it’s pure fun to watch someone else with the same weakness for cake try as hard as this adorable main character to be good. Spoiler alert: the writing is so delicious it allows the reader feel like they have just tasted the cake themselves. And it’s a rhyming read aloud that will make you want to bake – so be ready! And I love the little tiger feel to her character design too!

Resources/activities: read companion titles like Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton, or Where is the Cake, by T.T. Khing; Bake a cake! Bake enough cake to share with friends or neighbors (I once baked a cake sooo lemony-sweet I apologized to each neighbor I gave a slice to before they could eat it, but they all LOVED it! Ha!)

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

PPBF: Albie on his way

Author: Jutta Bauer
 Matthias Wieland
Publisher: Red Comet Press, 2022; orig.: Kibitz Verlag, 2021
Themes: mice, contentment, happiness

Opening: I am Albie. “Albieee! The king is asking for you!”

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Albie is on a mission! The king has commanded him to deliver an important message to the neighboring castle. Dutifully he dashes away. But once on his way, something comes up . . . and then another thing, and then another! What is one to do when a squirrel, a tired mother and her many children, and an old animal need Albie’s help, just has much as his king? Told with clever parallel storytelling, Hans Christian Andersen Award winner Jutta Bauer, relays a charming tale about the importance of kindness and being true to oneself–even when you are on an important errand for the king.

I picked this book because: of the old fashioned feel of a tall tale, but with a short main character! Actually, I am a fan of Jutta Bauer’s work and was going to read it no matter what! But I loved the gentle and humorous form of storytelling and the double visual narrative of the king’s journey while he waits for Albie. So sweet. I hope you feel the same.

Resources/activities: read more companion titles involving a king’s assignment or a journey to the castle story, like this one from Klaas Verplancke; take notes on all the people you meet one day all along the way; discuss why the king acts the way he does when Albie returns, what happened?

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

PPBF: Ways to Make Friends

Author: Jairo Buitrago; transl.: Elisa Amado
 Mariana Ruiz Johnson
Publisher: Greystone Kids, 2022; orig.: Leetra Final, 2021
Themes: friendship, social interaction, toads

Opening: To make friends you should sit under a huge tree.

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) A quirky and uplifting guide to making new friends for kids 4 to 7 from a beloved, internationally renowned author. What’s the best way to make friends? Toad has the most magnificent ideas! Sometimes they don’t go according to plan… but that’s okay. Eventually Toad tires of making new friends, but comes to a marvelous conclusion: sometimes being with yourself is a good way to pass the time too. A hilarious and heartfelt read for kids who are starting school or experiencing other unfamiliar social situations, Ways to Make Friends will give them the courage to stand on their own–and maybe try one of Toad’s unconventional methods to make a friend for themselves.

I picked this book because: Sold by the cover again! I like to point that out, but also admit that more often than I’d like the story doesn’t necessarily meet the expectations I form based on cover art – and vice versa. I guess I am trying to say there is no shame in judging the cover! I just love the quirky ideas this toad has and think this will have kids giggling and wondering what works and what doesn’t. The best books make us think a lot after reading!

Resources/activities: This is a great text for discussion: each of Toad’s suggestions could be contemplated and chewed over – some seem simple, but are they really good ideas to try when we want to make friends? Read companion books on making friends; share stories of how we made friends; share some ideas that didn’t go as planned and how we might try better next time. And don’t forget to ask, what does being a friend mean and how many friends does one need to get by?

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

PPBF: Pip and Zip

Author: Elana K. Arnold
 Doug Salati
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2022
Themes: ducks, eggs, life cycles

Opening: Once, when we all had to stay home for the whole long springtime, when schools were closed and work was closed and everything fun was cancelled,…

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) When a family brings home two abandoned duck eggs and waits for them to hatch, they read, learn and laugh, until one day Pip and Zip are born!

I picked this book because: Lots of layers here : bit of science, bit of contemporary timeframe (lockdown), family life, unusual experience, and all so heartwarming! The illustrations are the perfect fit too. I love the writing, feels almost lyrical, poetic, and like slipping on a soft glove. Find it, enjoy it!

Resources/activities: discuss your own lockdown experiences, or encounters with wildlife. Visit a local bird sanctuary or city park with duck – but don’t feed them, especially not bread! Take a walk in a natural space and notice changes upon returning a month later – repeat!

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

PPBF: Thumbelina of Toulaba

Author: Daniel Picouly, after Hans Christian Andersen, transl. by Claudia Zoe Bedrick
 Olivier Tallec
Publisher: Enchanted Lion, 2007
Themes: fairy tale interpretations, girls, emotions

Opening: Once upon a time in Toulaba, a country at the far end of faraway, there lived a woman, young as the sweet breeze of spring and dark as the night when the moon merely smiles.

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) In this retelling of the Andersen fairy tale, a tiny girl is stolen from her loving mother and many siblings, has adventures with a wise caiman, an injured bird of paradise, and other exotic creatures, and learns how to say no while fending off suitors. Includes a glossary of plants and animals.

I picked this book because: I picked it up because I am a big fan of Tallec’s work, but I really enjoyed the lyrical, almost folkloric feel in the telling. I like the fact that Thumbelina is much more in control of her destiny in this retelling. The vocabulary might be challenging to a group of older toddlers, so I might only read it to one or two on my lap so we can take the time to explain, but this would be great to use in an elementary classroom. And just gorgeous!

Resources/activities: read the original Andersen version if your kids are up for it; locate Martinique, where the author comes from, on a map, and Paris, where he lives now. List the animals in the book (both if you read another) and talk about which animals appeal to readers more and why. Would you have acted differently than Thumbelina in some instances?

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

PPBF: Bedtime for Bo

Author: Kjersti Annesdatter Skomsvold, transl. Kari Dickson
: Mari Kanstad Johnsen
Publisher: Enchanted Lion, 2022
Themes: bedtime, imagination, mother and sons

Opening: It’s evening and Bo is being silly. he does tumblesaults on the sofa and sings as loud as he can.

Summary: (from my library catalog) It is time for bed, but Bo is not ready to stop playing, so Mommy joins in the fun with imagination and love, while still guiding Bo through his nighttime routine.

I picked this book because: I love the BIG loose images, the simple flat palette that still manages to fill in so many details, like animal characters that we can’t be quite sure of – are they real or stuffies? Essentially, a bedtime-comparison concept book with lots of fun and drama that goes beyond!

Resources/activities: discuss your bedtime routine and what you you might like to change and what to keep the same; read companion books to learn more about the habits of familiar animals; visit this post: Where Children Sleep Around the World !

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