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


PPBF: Boats for Papa

BoatsCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Jessixa Bagley
Publisher:Roaring Brook Press, 2015
Ages: 3-7yrs
Themes: mother-child, boats, handicraft
Opening: Buckley and his mama lived in a small wooden house by the sea. They didn’t have much, but they always had each other.
Summary: (from my library catalog)Buckley and his mother cope with the loss of their father/husband by sending small wooden boats, built by Buckley, off into the ocean..

Boats1I like this book because: it is a sweet heartwarming story, perfect for a grieving child – or adult. The illustrations are lovely watercolors proving just the right amount of detail for quiet discovery. Pay good attention to the endpapers – lovely!

Boats2Resources/activities: make a paper sailboat, like the one HERE at YoungAmerica.com; discuss other ways we might feel a connection with lost loved ones, or keep the memories alive.

Boats3For existing PPBF selections, including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE


PPBF: Dinner at Alberta’s

DinnerAtAlberta'sCoverYup, The PPBF series on Susanna Hill’s blog is still on vacation, so I am giving myself permission to stretch the rules for this recommendation, listed under JuvF – not PB – at my library.

DinnerAtAlberta'sEndpapersAuthor: Russel Hoban
Illustrator: James Marshall
Publisher: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1975
Ages: 6-10 (from the publisher in ’75)
Themes: crocodiles, etiquette, first love
Opening: “Arthur,” said Mrs. Crocodile to her sone one evening at dinner, “you are eating like a regular little beast.”
Summary: (from my library catalog)Arthur Crocodile cannot seem to learn table manners until his sister brings her new girlfriend to visit.

DinnerAtAlberta's1I like this book because: it’s a gem! I am on a James Marshall kick (again!), and this is where I’d like to thank my favorite children’s librarian, Giny (miss you!), for asking me to take a second look at the Marshall books years ago. Hysterical yet understated, lots of beastly sibling snarkiness, and perfect for any child who has been admonished to sit up straight or chew with their mouths closed (you got that, Olivia?).

DinnerAtAlberta's2Resources/activities: write up a list of reasonable table manners, and another wacky list – just for fun (we had ‘no singing during meals’ for a while); discuss table manners that are different form yours – here is a list of 17 from other countries at The Savory, HERE.

DinnerAtAlberta's3For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE


#pb10for10 – fresh classics

pb 10 for 10 015

I just had to jump in, so forgive me, please, if I am not following guidelines. In the vein of ‘make new friends’, but keep the old’, here are 10 picture book gems I wouldn’t want to live without, and I hope one or two may be new to you. Of course, I’m using the label old rather loosely – a book I may have read to my now adult kids. In no particular order:

Miss Twiggley’s Tree


Brave Irene

Brave Irene

One Morning in Maine


Tikki Tikki Tembo



Willy and Hughwilly-hugh

Dinner at Alberta’s



My Little Henmylittlehen1

The Three Robbers


The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunit*maulwurf

We read this title in German, but I prefer the direct translation: From the Little Mole Who Wanted to Know Who Pooped on His Head

Miss Rumphius


Cathy Mere at Reflect & Refine and Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning organize this event. Look for the hashtag #pb10for10.




PPBF: The Piggy in the Puddle

The PPBF series on Susanna Hill’s blog is still taking a vacation, but I have to share Perfect Picture Books as discover them, at least on Fridays!PiggyCoverAuthor: Charlotte Pomerantz
Illustrator: James Marshall
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 1974
Ages: 3-8
Themes: pigs, mud, stories in rhyme
Opening: See the piggy,/ See the puddle,/ See the muddy little puddle,/ See the piggy in the middle/ Of the muddy little puddle.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Unable to persuade a young pig from frolicking in the mud, her family finally joins her for a mud party.

Untitled 2I like this book because: my inner-kindergartener yelled, “More! More!” while I read aloud with runaway energy! Another classic gem I was glad to be able to get a hold of through my inter-library loan system. The art is pure Marshall: subtle, hysterical, effective!

PiggyMomResources/activities: discuss why pigs like to wallow in mud, and possibly other seemingly strange habits of animals; instructions to make pig finger puppets at ichild – HERE; make a list of words that rhyme with PIG.

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

PPBF: One Word from Sophia

SophiaCoverThe PPBF series on Susanna Hill’s blog is still snoring the summer away, but I must share Perfect Picture Books as I come across them, at least on Fridays!

SophiaEndPAuthor: Jim Averbeck
Illustrator: Yasmeen Ismail
Publisher: Atheneum, 2015
Ages: 4-8
Themes: pets, politeness, giraffes
Opening: Sophia’s birthday was coming up, and she had five things on her mind – One True Desire and four problems.
Summary: (from my library catalog)All Sophie wants for her birthday is a pet giraffe, but as she tries to convince different members of her rather complicated family to support her cause, each tells her she is using too many words until she finally hits on the perfectone. Includes glossary.

Sophia1I like this book because: of big words and nimble, fluid illustrations! This may be a challenge for younger ears, but go ahead and challenge them! The text is dense and deep and the light and elegant illustrations compliment perfectly!

Sophia2Resources/activities: Review the glossary, discuss the big words, and see if you can find more to add; discuss strategies and methods as well as manners to communicate with; list everyone’s One True Desire (for the day!)

Sophia3For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE


Kid-Lit Summer School and My Nerdy Chick

Nerdy Checks Rule_01(4)-1

Nerdy Chick Writes – Drawing Contest!

Inspired by the nerdy chick that artist Mike Ciccotello drew on a coffee cup and tweeted to Kami and Sudipta for Kidlit Summer SchoolThe rules: 1. Draw a Nerdy Chick; 2. Tweet the image to @leezaworkswith the hashtag #NerdyChicksDraw AND/OR share on our Facebook Group page with the same hashtag; 3. Do this before the final day of Kidlit Summer School!


PPBF: Ira Sleeps Over

IRAcoverAuthor/Illustrator: Bernard Waber
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, 1972, reissue 2000
Ages: 4-7yrs
Themes: teddy bears, sleepovers, family, humiliation
Opening: I was invited to sleep at Regges’s house. Was I happy! I had never slept at a friend’s house before.
Summary: (from my library catalog) A little boy is excited at the prospect of spending the night at his friend’s house but worries how he’ll get along without his teddy bear.

IRA1I like this book because: I am transported not to the memory of a book I probably read as a 6yr old, but to my life as a 6yr old and the exhilarating anticipation of having been invited to sleep over a friend’s house. The illustrations enliven the memories and emotions, even the rustling breeze and dappling light through the deciduous trees surrounding our Levitt homes. Sigh.

IRA2Resources/activities: teacher’s guide -click HERE; invite students to bring in a favorite stuffed animal/toy for a group nap in the classroom.

IRA3PPBF is still on summer break, but for existing PPBF selections, including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE