Mr. Dick fulfils my Aunt’s Prediction: ‘You are a very remarkable man, Dick!’ said my aunt, with an air of unqualified approbation; ‘and never pretend to be anything else, for I know better!’
Author: James Thurber
Illustrator: Marc Simont
Publisher: Harcourt 1990, Text ©1943
Themes: princess, moon, cleverness, imagination
Age Level: Pre-school to Grade 3
Opening: Once upon a time, in a kingdom by the sea, there lived a little princess named Lenore. She was ten years old going on eleven. One day Lenore fell ill of a surfeit of raspberry tarts and took to her bed.
Summary: Princess Lenore asks her doting father for the moon: “If I can have the moon, I will be well again.” After his wise consultants cannot help him, the King finally calls on his lowly but clever Jester to help solve the problem.
Why I like this Book: So clever and delightful, I cannot believe, after reading at least 3,500 picture books this year alone, it has taken me so long to find this gem! This really celebrates the intelligence and creativity of children! The original edition of Many Moons, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin and beloved by so many, remains in print alongside this newly illustrated version. Click here for a peek at Slobodkin’s illustrations.
Resources/Activities: Read and compare another great PB about pleasing a princess, like Clever Jack Takes the Cake, by Candace Fleming, illustrated by G.Brian Karas; ask students to imagine what they might have asked for (like the princess) that would seem impossible to fulfill, and imagine ways to solve the task!
For more PPBF selections: go to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – any day!
But she still repeated the same words, continually exclaiming, ‘Oh, the river!” over and over again. ‘ I know it’s like me!’ she exclaimed, ‘I know that I belong to it. I know that it’s the natural company of such as I am! It comes from country places, where there was once no harm in it – and it creeps through the dismal streets, defiled and miserable – and it goes away, like my life, to a great sea, that is always troubled – and I feel that I must go with it!’
The first time David saw him again Mr. Peggoty offered what he could. “I’ll tell you Mas’r Davy,’ he said, – ‘wheer all I’ve been, and what-all we’ve heerd. I’ve been fur, and we’ve heerd little; but I’ll tell you!” -Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
Shortly thereafter Mr. Peggoty took up his search again. In Hindi one might say he had a hundred thousand heads – doggedly persistant!
I tried, but figured Agnes could not have had the time to curl her hair.
The following is Copperfield’s description, after moving in with the Wickfields: “I cannot call to mind where or when, in my childhood, I had seen a stained glass window in a church. Nor do I recollect its subject. But I know that when I saw her turn round, in the grave light of the old staircase, and wait for us, above, I thought of that window; and I associated something of its tranquil brightness with Agnes Wickfield ever afterwards.” – Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
“Peggotty was glad to get it for him, and he overwhelmed her with thanks, and went his way up Tottenham Court Road, carrying the flower-pot affectionately in his arms, with one of the most delighted expressions of countenance I ever saw.” – Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
Have to finish reading by Thursday evening, 7pm. I’ve got a dvd lined up, starring Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan, andW.C. Fields as Micawber. And Basil Rathbone plays Murdstone!
Author: Harriet Ziefert
Illustrator: Barroux (click for HZ’s post on visiting Barroux)
Publisher: Blue Apple, 2012
Themes: dogs, animal rescue
Age Level: 4 and up
Opening: Here is Lucy at the pound, where we found her. She needed to be rescued. Her time was almost up.
Summary: (from the publisher) When Lucy is adopted from the local animal shelter, her new family thinks that they have chosen a perfect pet. And she is, right up to the minute she starts to howl, and howl, and howl some more. Treats, tricks, a soft red bed, lullabies, and even doggy therapy cannot stop her “Wah-ooo-ooo-roo!” It is the little girl who figures out that Lucy needs a comfy friend (her own stuffed animal) and Lucy who figures out that she needs as many as she can get her paws on. And then, all is well.
Why I like this book: I’ll admit, the cover grabbed me! And the end papers. And the seemingly simple yet heartwarming story. But the illustrator was able to show how an anxious puppy’s howling can fill a room. I have never owned a dog, but I live close to the local university. New college kids move in next door almost every year, getting a puppy and leaving it home a lot (sad to have to add this) so I know what puppy howling ‘looks’ like, and how heartbreaking it feels to hear it. Barroux must know this too!
Resources/Activities: Volunteering at your local Humane Society isn’t something kids can easily do on their own, but here are some ways kids can help; offer to watch a neighbor’s puppy when they go out!