PPBF: Dear Mr.Blueberry

Author/Illustrator: Simon James
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1996, c1991
Age: 
3-7
Themes: whales, letters, teachers

Opening:  see below

Summary: (from my library catalog) A young girl and her teacher correspond about the whale she has discovered in her pond.

I like this book because: it’s an oldie, a classic gem, and always reads fresh as a daisy!! Soft illustrations convey the mood and feelings Emily seems to experience, which also lend contrast to Mr. Blueberry’s tone of disbelief! poor Mr. Blueberry!

Resources/activities: read books and look up facts about blue whales; write a letter to one of your teachers, one of your classmates, or a relative or friend; draw something you would hope to find in a pool in your backyard or on the roof of your apartment building!

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

Also happy to share a nice review my upcoming book received from Project MUSE!

PPBF: There Must Be More Than That!

Author/Illustrator: Shinsuke Yoshitake
Publisher: Chronicle, 2020
Age: 
4-8
Themes: future, imagination, family

Opening: see below

Summary: (from my library catalog) Troubled because her brother has told her that the future of Earth is bleak, a little girl goes to her grandmother who assures her that there are many possible futures and encourages her to use her imagination to explore some of the alternatives.

I like this book because: I have to say I fell in love with the grandmother here! We try to protect children from terrible things yet inevitably they will hear about them and I was glad to see the main character sought out advice from her grandmother, but reflected and made her own way in dealing with them. Heavy stuff tackled in such a creative way – plus I am a sucker for all his books, must say!

Resources/activities: reading this book together will open all the cans of worms and leading all readers to discuss everything – what an opportunity! Take it! Read other books by Yoshitake

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

PPBF: At Mary Blooms

Author/Illustrator: Aliki
Publisher: Greenwillow, 1976
Age: 
2-6
Themes: cause-and-effect stories, animals

Summary: (from my library catalog) When pet-collector Mary Bloom’s doorbell rings, bedlam is let loose. But her young neighbor has some big pet news of her own.

I like this book because: It’s such sweet and simple fun to read aloud. Sometimes this much repetition can be tedious, but this story is just right! I appreciate the very expressive drawings done with just a few lines and a limited palette. A real pity that this book is out of print – it’s really nice for beginning readers too.

Resources/activities: create your own cause-and-effect stories using imagined pets or people you know from your neighborhood; Read Overnight at Mary Bloom’s/Aliki, AND read more C-a-E picture books: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie/Numeroff, Stuck/Jeffers, No, David!/Shannon; read about the Mary Bloom who inspired the books: HERE

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

PPBF: 13 Stories About Harris

Author/Illustrator: Amy Schwartz
Publisher: Holiday House, 2020
Age: 
3-7
Themes: best friends, friendship, neighborhoods

Opening:  See image above

Summary: (from my library catalog) Thirteen vignettes reveal the everyday life of Harris, who makes butter with his mother, attends the birthday party of his best friend, Ayana.

I like this book because: It’s so everyday! It celebrates the normal things a child experiences with such gentle humor that the whole book just melts your heart in the sweetest way (also because I am sorely missing my neighbors that moved a few months ago!). I hope others read it – it’s a huggable!

Resources/activities: this book put me in the mood for chalk drawing, but I recently found out that colored chalk is really bad for our water system and has bad effects for aquatic organisms. So while I will be searching for eco-friendly alternatives, I might gather sticks and stones and create a scene on the sidewalk instead and invite your kid(s) to do the same! Check out the work of Andy Goldsworthy for inspiration:

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

PPBF: Shirley Chisholm is a Verb!

Author: Veronica Chambers
Illustrator:
Rachelle Baker
Publisher: Dial , 2020
Age: 
5-8
Themes: US Congress, African-American women, legislators
Opening: (see opening pages below).

Summary: (from my library catalog) A picture book biography celebrating the life and contributions of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress, who sought the Democratic nomination to be the president of the United States.

I like this book because: I admire the way the author was able to combine a straightforward biography with such a strong layer focused on language and education, which ties back to who this courageous woman really was, and leaves the reader so inspired at the same time. I understand that a spread was included to show that others were standing on her shoulders in their efforts to get elected, but in my personal opinion I don’t believe some of those represented on the pages come remotely close in integrity and purpose, so I would rather have seen other voices more in line with Chisholm’s path. I certainly know kids feel inspired to learn more about her work after reading the book!

Resources/activities: explore the Kids in the House website HERE; more about Shirley Chisholm HERE; 10 ways kids too young to vote can get involved in elections HERE

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

PPBF: Flix

Author/Illustrator: Tomi Ungerer
Publisher: Tomi Ungerer/A Treasury of 8 Books, Phaidon, 2016
Age: 
4+
Themes: treasury, story collection, Tomi Ungerer

Opening:  Flix: Mr. Zeno Krall was a happy cat. He was well off, he loved his wife Cola, and they were healthy. He was even happier when she announced, “ Darjeeling, I am expecting!”

Summary: (from my library catalog) Flix, a dog born to cat parents, finds himself able to exist in two cultures, marries a cat, and campaigns for mutual respect between cats and dogs.

I like this book because: I appreciate this collection of 8 of Tomi Ungerer’s stories for all the extras: details about each one as to their origins, early sketches, process, and hidden tidbits! I’ve always admired his work and was happy to find this volume through my library. Flix is one of my favorites for the ability of the characters to adapt to absurdity as well as hardship, and above all getting along with people and family members, not just tolerating differences. But above all the humor in his illustrations!

Resources/activities: read all 8 stories and especially the “Behind the Scenes” details in conversation with Phaidon editor, Maya Gartner.

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

PPBF: Over the Moon

Author: James Proimos
Illustrator:
 Zoey Abbott
Publisher: Chronicle , 2020
Age: 
3-7
Themes: families, identity, wolves
Opening: (see opening pages below).

Summary: (from my library catalog) Two wolves find a baby girl floating down the river and take her home to raise her and teach her about good and evil, light and dark, right and wrong (although wolf two thinks of dinner); but when she grows up she is drawn to the human world–although the wolves are waiting to take her home each night.

I like this book because: sometimes I pick up a book I am not sure about, but something intrigues me. And sometimes I am so pleasantly surprised because I find the book has far surpassed my original expectations! This is one and what a delightful discovery! The story feels simple but I am drawn in right away and find empathy with all the characters to the point of wanting to be with them in their story! The humor is subtle, the seemingly soft palette picks up on energy as the pages turn. Enchanting! Do read it!

Resources/activities: learn fascinating facts about wolves – HERE; research stories of children who survived on their own in the wild under “feral children”; learn to draw a wolf – HERE

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

PPBF: The Goat in the Rug

Author: as told to Charles L. Blood & Martin Link
Illustrator:
 Nancy Winslow Parker
Publisher: Aladdin , 1990 (orig.1976)
Age: 
3-7
Themes: goats,weaving, Navajo stories
Opening: My name is Geraldine and I live near a place called Window Rock with my Navajo friend, Glenmae.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Geraldine, a goat, describes each step as she and her Navajo friend make a rug, from the hair clipping and carding to the dyeing and actual weaving.

I like this book because: of the humor! I love that this is a straightforward description of how a goat’s wool is traditionally woven into a rug – told by the goat herself. The illustrations are also simple and straightforward, lovely and so funny! I hope others can find this through their library systems too!

Resources/activities: watch A Loom With a View HERE; learn about other natural materials and how they are used in textiles; learn to weave on a simple loom for kids, like this HERE.

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

PPBF: Owl Babies

Author: Martin Waddell
Illustrator:
 Patrick Benson
Publisher: Candlewick, 1992
Age: 
2-6
Themes: owls, siblings, separation anxiety
Opening: Once there were three baby owls: Sarah and Percy and Bill.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Three owl babies whose mother has gone out in the night try to stay calm while she is gone.

I like this book because: it’s a great story to study for picture book writers! Yes, it’s a classic favorite that warms the heart, and its simplicity has so much to offer. The opening line: the sole focus is on the babies, not the mother/family; the names are listed without a comma which shows the reader the mother’s love is equal and unconditional. And the name choices, the older sibs have two syllables, the littlest only one – and it’s a nickname a pun! Already I know Bill will be the one to steal my heart! (Please let me know what else you may see.)

Resources/activities: listen to their calls here: Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. If you are in a classroom setting – even a virtual one – this would be a nice piece to act out, with a chance to discuss how voice and intonation can contribute to the drama of a play.

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