PPBF: Sam’s Sandwich


Author/Illustrator: David Pelham
Publisher: Dutton, 1991 (first American edition)
Ages: 3-8yrs
Themes: siblings, sandwiches, stories in rhyme
Opening: Samantha liked to sit and dream of doughnuts filled with chocolate cream, giant burgers, heaps of fries, frosty shakes and cherry pies. Shortly after Sunday luncheon Samantha wanted more to munch on. “Oh, Sam,” she wailed, “what can I eat? I need a really special treat.”
Summary: (from Amazon) When Samantha needs a really special treat to munch on, her devious brother Sam knows just what to make: a sandwich with everything on it. A sandwich-shaped, foldout book, Sam?s Sandwich invites young readers to peel back the lettuce, tomato, and other ingredients to discover Sam?s rhyming, crawling surprises.


I like this book because: Because it was delightful to read to my children hundreds of times, and over and over. And one more time? Sure! As you can see from the photos, the book has seen a lot of love: unfolding, folding, unfolding again, shouting out the end rhymes and giggling all the way.


Resources/activities: Make a real sandwich with everything on it (just don’t take your eyes off it!); Create a paper sandwich, like this one HERE; discuss insects in the garden – which are pests and which are beneficial; Do other cultures eat any of these insects? Find out together.


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



And a wee coloring sheet, for those equipped with crayons:


Patriotic Pup

Inspired by Catherine Johnson’s Metaphor Monday prompt and photos today HERE, I whipped up a Memorial Day poem and sketch (or, a ditty ‘n a doodle!).

PatrioticPupHot pavement and excitement took it’s toll on the brigade

As they trotted down the sidewalk in the Veteran’s Parade.

All spangled up in stars and stripes, a patriotic pup

Dropped to cool off in the shade and drink from Sarge’s cup.


– Thanks, Catherine!


Take a moment to remember while you enjoy family and friends today.


PPBF: The Bathing Costume


Author: Charlotte Moundlic
Illustrator: Olivier Tallec
Publisher: Enchanted Lion, 2013
Ages: 5-8yrs
Themes: swim suits, relatives, summer vacation
Opening: In a month, my family, will be moving. So my parents have decided that this summer I’ll go away kind of on my own, which means without Mama.
Summary: (from my library catalog) A Batchelder Honor book: On his first vacation without his parents, eight-year-old Myron faces a scary grandfather, teasing older cousins, his first dive off the ten-foot board, and his grandmother’s encouragement to write his mother daily, telling her of his adventures. (Kirkus review


I like this book because: the first-person story is so familiar! It brings back nights spent away from home, for emergencies or holidays, and my first experience diving off the high board. Terrific for any kid who has ever spent time with friends or relatives, with or without their own parents. The text is long for a picture book by American trends, reads more like a chapter book, but it’s a picture book format, and definitely fits my criteria for a PPBF pick. The composition of the color spreads is sparse but richly atmospheric.


Resources/activities: discuss the history of swimsuit fashion – info HERE; discuss personal fears and how one might or may have overcome them.

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


Friends and Benefits: SCBWI Workshops and Schmoozes

scbwi-loveThanks to the RMCSCBWI illustration coordinators, Bobbi Collier-Moralles and Karen Windness, regional illustrators had the opportunity to take an Illustrators Intensive with Will Terry (yes, the REAL WILL TERRY!) this past weekend on the RMCAD campus – and the price was right! I missed the opening talk, also open to RMCAD students for free on Friday evening, but was there bright and early Saturday to catch every word and catch up with illustrators I had met at previous regional conferences. (any text in red – click for more info!)

My favorite roomie – Stacy

We spent the first part of the day learning about the importance of good composition. Simple but important takeaways: start with very small thumbnails and use the 33 rule – the thumbnail should have an interesting composition at a distance of 3′ and 30′, as should the finished piece. Next, through Photoshop, Will demonstrated the use of underpainting, the importance of emphasizing points of interest, and multiple techniques to achieve a captivating piece – including creating texture brushes. After lunch, Will’s son Aaron gave us the 411 on creating apps: he was very frank about the ‘dark side of digital’ and the  learning curve, but also inspiring. Believe me, we were at the edge of our seats! Aaron encouraged us to create products that people will want to turn around share.

Had to get a picture with ‘der Meister’ – Will Terry!

Participants could put forward up to two of our own illustrations for an anonymous review, (no, Will did not wear a mask for this, silly!) which was a great method of reinforcing all we had heard earlier in the day. The workshop was invigorating! I just wanted to rush home and work – and that after a full day in a dark room!

On Monday evening I was back with my local SCBWI Schmooze group for a 2hr session on social media and online marketing with Mary Walewski (socialmediaexpress.biz), a former librarian turned marketing consultant. Our Schmooze coordinator, Teresa Funke (teresafunke.com) works hard to bring us great presenters for our bi-monthly meetings. Quick takeaways: Make a plan! Social media profiles are the center of an author/illustrators online marketing strategy, and the proper maintenance of a blog is the best way to get information to your audience. Don’t just make goals, check your progress! ‘Insights’ on facebook pages, your status data on your blogs should help you to determine where you can maximize your efforts.

Tonight, Tuesday, I will meet with my local picture-book writer’s critique group. We all  met through a Schmooze or a regional conference organized through – you guessed it – SCBWI!

Before signing off, here is a logo I recently designed for our Schmooze group… “Let’s go fly a kite!”



DREAM BIG WITH ME: Clean up in Brazil

DreamBigLogoDream Big With Me is a non profit organization working to promote a sustainable environment and education for the youth of Aguas Belas, a small community in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, hoping to improve the quality of life of the people who live there.  Their motto: Advance, Educate, Impact, Organize and Unite the Community. I was contacted by Sonhador Brasil and asked to accept a challenge to give a rendition of their logo, preserving the seven leaves on the tree and its colors. Here it is…

DreamTree-LionWatch the videos to learn more.


Like them on facebook – HERE. If you are interested in helping with their supplies for their Arts Festival, click HERE 


PPBF: Murilla Gorilla Jungle Detective

Author: Jennifer Lloyd
Illustrator: Jacqui Lee
Publisher: Simply Read Books, 2013.
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: detective stories, jungle animals, level reader
Opening: The bright sun shone over the African Rainforest. Murilla Gorilla lived in a hut on the mountain. She was asleep. “RING!”
Summary: (from the publisher) Murilla Gorilla, the jungle detective, is woken up by a new case: Ms. Chimpanzee’s muffins were stolen. But who did it? It’s up to Murilla to find out… as long as she can find her badge first! Murilla may seem like a hopeless detective—disorganized, messy and always thinking about her next snack—but out of her mess come some pretty good ideas, and some pretty funny moments too.


I like this book because: I identify with the protagonist. She likes to eat, draw, sleep in, and is in no hurry to miss out on the simple pleasures in life. This may be an Level Reader, but the pictures are simply beautiful, the color compositions so pleasing you will want to rethink your next paint choices. Only missing one thing: I want to see what Murilla has drawn in her notebook!


Resources/activities: Murilla Gorilla Teacher’s Guide;  Murilla Gorilla Kid’s Activity Book; There is a recipe in the activity book, but I like recipes with beautiful pictures if I can get ’em: The Best Banana Bread Muffins Ever {Without Dirtying a Single Dish} at Yammie’s Noshery.


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

PPBF: In Front of My House


Author/Illustrator: Marianne Dubuc
Publisher: Kids Can Press, 2010 (originally published in France under Devant ma maison)
Ages: 3-7yrs
Themes: space perception, imagination, characters in literature
Opening: On a little hill, behind a brown fence, under a big oak tree, is…
Summary: (from my library’s catalog) A child explores the world around his home and fills it with characters from the stories and fables he knows. 


I like this book because: each spread is a page turner, that is how the book/story is designed, which makes it a great read-aloud. I reviewed another of Dubuc’s books, Animal Parade, and though the design is similar I still think both stand on their own. I am REALLY looking forward to her new book coming out NEXT WEEK – The Lion and the Bird

Resources/activities: have children make a list from memory of things in front of their own dwellings; make a diorama from the list; discuss different living arrangements – among classmates and around the world – watch the videos form this wonderful series, Families of the World – HERE


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


2014 HCA Award Winner for Illustration – Part 6/6:

Roger Mello is the recipient of the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, for his complete work in children’s literature (more than 100 titles, 20 of which he wrote himself!). And he also writes plays. GO, Roger!

The jury said his “illustrations provide avenues to explore the history and culture of Brazil. He does not underestimate a child’s ability to recognize and decode cultural phenomena and images. His illustrations allow children to be guided through stories by their imagination.” According to Project Muse, ‘All his books deal with the concept of time passing and bringing with it transformation. The stories he creates are always found between the images and text, uniting the two through a continuous dialogue. Yet, despite this continuity, there is no set pattern to his work; he does not allow the reader to form expectations, as he continually plays with color, proportions, and perspective. Mello likes to experiment with different painting modes and media. His influences are innumerable, and he draws on the human creativity found in the world all around him, which allows him to look at the world with the pleasure and amazement of a child and the rich experience of an adults.’

Unfortunately, I could not find a single title of his through my library system, which I hope to remedy – SOON! Read a great post on Mello’s win at Literary Vittles – HERE ; excerpts from an interview in this article on Writing and Wandering – HERE

The Hans Christian Andersen Award is given biennially, and this year’s  winners (yep, there is one for authors too!) will receive their awards at the 34th IBBY Congress, to be held on September 10th, in Mexico City. The five finalists in alphabetical order: Rotraut Susanne BernerGermany; John BurninghamUK; Eva LindströmSwedenFrançois PlaceFrance; Øyvind TorseterNorway. Click on any of their names to read their post in this series.

2014 HCA Award for Illustration – Part 5/6: Øyvind Torseter

Read the posts on more nominees 1here, 2here, 3here, and 4here (winner post to follow soon).

Øyvind Torseter, is an artist, illustrator, comic book artist and author, who lives and works in Norway (Listen to the pronunciation of his name via google here). He debuted as a children’s book illustrator in 1999, and his first as author/illustrator was Mister Random in 2002, the release of which led to an intense discussion surrounding intended audience (can’t find any articles, but would be interested if anyone else does!).

From the IBBY site: “The pictures in his books normally appear as illustrations to the text, often authored by himself, but he also plays and experiments with perspective, cut-out drawings and other effects, before photographing it all and editing it with computer-assisted graphics tools. His comic books are influenced by Surrealism and some other works show traces, hints and tributes to art, literature, film noir from the 1950s and other expressions. Torseter has also decorated several public buildings, and his art can thus be found in many places in Norway.”

I am particularly fond of the effects he creates with 3-dimensional paper techniques in some of his picture books, but to get a quick feel for the scope of his art, google images  – WOW!

I recommended My Father’s Arms are a Boat, written by Stein Erik Lunde , illustrated by Torseter for Perfect Picture Book Friday – HERE

Øyvind Torseter, Sudden Mythology. Photo by Børre Høstland, Nasjonalmuseet

Read Maria Popova’s post (Brian Pickings) on The Hole – HERE 

PPBF: The Chickens Build a Wall

I interrupt this review so the little jackrabbit and I can say thanks (“Go on give it to them now. Yes, the note!”) again for all the kind words of encouragement on my entry for Susanna’s illustration contest (see all the finalist covers HERE). Now, let’s read a book… Jack rabbit Who Cried Gllamonster_20(2)-1

Author/Illustrator:  Jean-François Dumont
Publisher: Eerdmans, 2013); Originally published in French by Flammarion, in 2011, Une poule derriére un mur.
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: chickens, farm animals, toleration
Opening: On the farm, the chickens have built a wall, though no one is exactly sure why.
Summary: (from my library catalog) When a friendly hedgehog visits the farm, the chickens build an enormous wall to keep out “prickly invaders.” ChickenWall2 I like this book: It MUST be spring, because I had to review another farm-life book! And because the rat calls the hedgehog, “this chestnut with paws.” The traditional art is humorous and cartoon-like, created in warm colors and richly textured strokes. The story is one of tolerance, or the lack thereof. No one had ever seen a hedgehog before. I wish I could share this with my 19 yr old, as she has recently experienced some 2nd hand intolerance while shopping with her new college besties in Germany. One is from Nigeria, the other from Brazil, and my daughter was shocked to see a couple bend 90° in a not-to-be-mistaken what’s-up-with-the-dreadlocks glance. I’m happy that she was able to experience this, to better understand what her ‘foreign looking’ colleagues go through every day. ChickenWall1 Resources/activities: sing Old MacDonald – again!; discuss tolerance and acceptance – please!;  get crazy and build a chicken coop, maybe even one like the one below (don’t forget to get some chickens too!) For more really cool chicken coop ideas, click HERE; Check out the other books on the 2014 list of Notable Books for a Global Society – HERE

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