PPBF: Too Noisy!

Author: Malachy Doyle
Illustrator: Ed Vere
Publisher: Candlewick, 2012
Ages: 3 and up
Themes: families, noise/quiet, tolerance
Opening: CRASH! JANGLE! Meet the Bungles – Whistle! Tweet! Toot!
Summary: (from my library catalogue) The Bungles sure are a large and noisy bunch! So noisy that Sam, the middle Bungle, has no room to think and is desperate to escape his booming, twooting, banging, clanging family. So off he wanders into the woods for some peace and quiet.

I like this book because: I love critters in picture books that I am not quite certain of  – are the Bungles raccoons? Could be, maybe. And how Vere used silhouettes for all the other critters, aside from the family pet and a butterfly. Doyle lyrical flair shines through – he really knows how to imbibe rhythm without the use of a formal rhyme, though the main character surprises himself with one!

Resources/activities: What a great way to start a discussion on noise in the classroom and respecting others! I imagine the class could make a poster(s) of self portraits and have the kids make speech bubbles just like the ones in the book, an include some of there likes and dislikes that may or may not have to do with classroom behavior. And if you’re really into picture book making, head over to Picture Book Den, an informative blog Doyle shares with other others. AND here is a great review on the same book with fabulous activity suggestions at This Picture Book Life – HERE

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

PPBF: Little Boy Brown

Author: Isobel Harris
Illustrator: André François
Publisher: Enchanted Lion, 2013; originally by J.B. Lippencott, 1949
Age: 3 – 6 yrs
Themes: families, city life/country life
Opening: My mother is Mrs. Brown and my father is Mr. Brown – that’s why I’m little boy Brown. I’m four and a half years old.
Summary: (from my library catalogue) Little boy Brown is a lonely city kid, though he doesn’t really know he’s lonely, who spends the best day ever with his nanny and her family in the country”– Provided by publisher.

I like this book because: though it does not follow a contemporary schema, little boy Brown walked straight into my heart – and has taken up permanent residency! And I don’t often come across picture books told so believably in first person. The illustrations were a surprise; I would have guessed the style to have been from the 60’s. This is an excellent example of how a mood can be translated in a lively manner with just one extra color too.

Resources/activities: This could lead to great discussions on living arrangements – apartment, hotel, or house, but also traditional cultures and other forms of housing around the world. Students could design and build model housing out of recycled materials too.

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

PPBF: Un loro en mi granja/A Parrot on My Farm

Author: Pep Bruno
Illustrator: Lucie Müllerová
Publisher: Edelvives, 2009
Age: 4 – 8 yrs
Themes: parrots, animals, farms
Opening: Esta es mi granja. En ella puedes encontrar cerdos, caballos, gallinas, ovejas, alguna vaca, algún pato, un perro que se llama Pánfilo… Lo habitual en una granja. English – or, funky translation from Google: This is my farm. Here you can find pigs, horses, chickens, sheep, a cow, a duck, a dog named Pánfilo … Typically on a farm.

Summary: Without knowing what the text says it was easy to see this story is about a parrot who lives on a farm, and his role amongst the other more typical members of the farm community. But spread by spread, the scenes pan out, inviting the reader to imagine more than just a farm.

I LOVE this book: I am not able to speak Spanish so I typed up the whole text and translated it with Google – so clearly I haven’t got it all straight, BUT this is truly a picture book romance for me! Perfect pick for Valentine’s Day! Superb ingredients: a bit of mystery, wonderful illustrations that expand with clues, and a parrot who might be a pirate, well…you’ll just have to get your library map and head over to the Spanish section to discover this treasure!

Resources/Activities: It could be great fun to draw your own farm characters, from this book or others, including a farm setting. Cut them out and and tell this story or make up a new one!; This book would be a great way to introduce a Spanish lesson using the words for everything you can find on a farm – let students come up with things they know can be found there.

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

birthday birds_09(1)-1



What’s Sochi? Yep, that happens when you don’t have TV reception, don’t get the local paper (the writing could be better), and listen to public radio – obviously with beans in my ears!But Catherine asked to tandem another post (check hers out – HERE), so I googled ‘Sochi’ for inspiration, and found some! Heres the article. And how is it pronounced – by Russians? The -o in Sochi is somewhere in between the English “law” vowel and the English ‘lot’ vowel (so somewhere between SAW-chi and SOTCH-i).

borrowed from ftw.usatoday.com (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

FYI: Who came up with ‘curling’? According to wikipedia (source of all knowledge when you haven’t got a clue!), ‘the verbal noun curling is formed from the Scottish (and English) verb curl, which describes the motion of the stone.’ Got that? But wait – it’s also known as ‘the roaring game’, because of the sound the stones make while traveling over the pebble (droplets of water applied to the playing surface). Uhhh, okay.  Anyway – now for a poem, because that’s what you’re here for, the word crafting and the pictures. Right? (pssst – now is a good time to agree!)


This is what the Curling Fox says:

Høyer, høyer, pants on fire!
Crowds are trilling like a choir!
They cheer and cry – I don’t know why
Norway’s stones fall cruelly shy

Thanks for popping in!

PPBF: All Kinds of Families and a New Course: The Lyrical Language Lab!!

INFO ON THE NEW COURSE BELOW – keep scrolling!!

Author: Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrator: Marc Boutavant
Publisher: Little Brown, 2009
Age: 3 – 6 yrs
Themes: families, animals, stories in rhyme
Opening: Families, families, all kinds of families – Families are people and animals, too – But all sorts of other things fit into families – Look all around you and you’ll see what they do
Summary: (from Amazon) With irresistible, rollicking rhyme, beloved picture book author Mary Ann Hoberman shows readers that families, large and small, are all around us. From celery stalks to bottle caps, buttons, and rings, the objects we group together form families, just like the ones we are a part of. And, as we grow up, our families grow, too.


I like this book because… I picked up this title out of the shelf in my library while engaging in one of my ‘hobbies’ – pulling my favorites and placing them on display! I had read a book (and reviewed it for PPBF) from this illustrator before, and with a touch of neon pink and orange on the cover, well, I was sold! Funny thing is, in writing this post I discovered he illustrates another graphic novel series I already love, but was unaware of the fact  – names, I tell ya! – called ARIOL. And I’m a goner – totally falling for this illustrator’s work! Cannot wait to see the other titles I’ve just put on hold, like his latest GHOSTS (Oops, was published in France in 2001!). Enough already about the illustration, because THE WRITING IS FANTASTIC! Yeah, super smooth swinging rhymes that do not let go! So guess what? I put a bunch of Hoberman’s titles on hold too!


Resources/Activities: create animals or creatures or faces using letters, just like this one from the book! There are plenty more inside to jog the imagination; Make a family tree of your own.


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

AND NOW, if you haven’t already heard, I am happy to be able to tell you about Renee LaTulippe’s new course – THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB and a GIVEAWAY – a scholarship for the course – on her post TODAY!

The course is designed for

–Rhyming PB writers who would like a stronger foundation in the mechanics of poetry
–Prose PB writers who would like to punch up the lyricism of their writing through poetic techniques
–Writers who would like to learn more about writing poetry for children

I happen to be one of the very lucky beta testers of the first five lessons of her course. Renee wanted at least one total newbie to give it a trial run. Someone who may have dabbled but really had no clue what they’re doing. ME! No joke, I GET it now, even what is meant by ‘don’t mess with the stress!’ Teresa Robeson wrote a much more descriptive post about her beta experience – HERE

I know, practice makes perfect. I’m an amateur not a fool, but look at some of my  homework: first, an iambic quatrain

I’d like to drink a cup of tea
in your adoring company
But if you don’t enjoy the tea
Ingest! Delight! Just bask in me!

Maybe not gonna bring the house down, but I got the beat (everybody get on your feet… No? Too 80’s for ya?)

Just one more – not quite there yet, but here is my first try at the anapest (and Wantagh is where I grew up) —

In the middle of winter in Wantagh
I caught cold from the breezy night air
Though my mother had taught me much better
I camped on a patio chair

She said, Child what on earth were you thinking
your whim could have caught you your death
for in Wantagh the devil is lurking
on the moisture that carries your breath

I did rock out an AWESOME double dachtyl, but I can’t share it yet because I’m being brave –  going to enter it in my library’s contest this month – Battle of the Bards!