PPBF: Christmas Is A Time of Giving


Author/Illustrator: Joan Walsh Anglund
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961
Ages: 5-9yrs
Themes: Christmas, giving, traditions
Opening: Christmas is a time of giving. It is a time of wrapping gifts and making cookies….
Summary: the book is a collection of traditional and warm details that describe what Christmas means, or what it should mean.


I like this book because: I found this book of mine just last week I was sifting through boxes in my parent’s basement for things I could squeeze into my carry-on and take back to Colorado. I know I liked this book as a child because of it’s size (4″x6.5″), but also for the ink drawings that captured my heart: the character with their adorable chubby-cheeked mouthless faces dressed in the turn-of-the-century fashion, which I tried so hard to emulate. And inside were tucked a few of those attempts made when I was 7 or 8 yrs old.


Resources/activities: for any holiday one could make their own collection of traditions and what the holiday means for themselves and for their families.


There is no selection PPBF picks on Susanna’s blog today, but you can visit anytime to check the growing list – HERE

PPBF: Miss Brook’s Story Nook

Brooks' CoverAuthor: Barbara Bottner
Illustrator: Michael Emberly
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 2014
Ages: 5-9yrs
Themes: bullies, storytelling, librarians
Opening: Miss Brooks has Story Nook first thing before school, and I don’t like to miss it.
Summary: (from my library catalog) A school librarian encourages her students to make up stories, and teaches a lesson about bullying in the process. (but this bit from Amazon adds more flavor: Missy loves her librarian, Miss Brooks. And she loves to go to Miss Brooks’ before-school story time. But to get to Story Nook, she has to pass Billy Toomey’s house—and she does not love Billy Toomey. )


I like this book because: it’s a great resource for helping a child deal with bullies in a creative way. AND it explains what makes a good story in a very simple manner, easy for any one of any age to understand, without pressure or bopping over the head with pedagogy! And I adore Emberley’s genius when it comes to expression, whether it be in the face or posture – he hits the mark every time!


Resources/activities: WIY (Write It Yourself): This is the best picture book I’ve read that can not only lead comprehension for a creative writing unit for the early elementary grades, it excites!;  Make puppets to tell your own stories; discuss creative ways to deal with bullies.


For more PPBF selections including resources and activities for parents, educators and gift-givers, go to the participating bloggers’ list at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – HERE

Today is also my father’s 86th birthday! I am lucky to have the chance to celebrate with him, so I won’t be responding to comments until later (unless he takes a nap!).


PPBF: Take Away the A

TakeawayCoverAuthor: Michaël Escoffier
Illustrator: Kris Di Giacomo
Publisher: Enchanted Lion, 2014
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: alphabet book, word play, vocabulary
Opening: Without the A the BEAST is the BEST.
Summary: (from the publisher) Take Away the A is a fun, imaginative romp through the alphabet. The idea behind the book is that within every language there are words that change and become a different word through the simple subtraction of a single letter. In other words, without the “A,” the Beast is Best. Or, without the “M,” a chomp becomes a chop—though it could be that this particular play on words didn’t even make it into the book, there are so many! We certainly don’t want to give too much away. . . . Now, take a look and find some more! Discovering all of the words in the book is a lot of fun, and then there’s the wild, exciting adventure that follows, of trying to find more!


I like this book because: I enjoy a good alphabet book, but even more I enjoy a book that is fun! This is chock-full of great illustrations in muted warm colors, packed with beasts of all kinds. This is book I’m buying this giving season!


Resources/activities: Make your own Alphabeast book – a great group project for the classroom!

Takeaway2You can always check out past PPBF picks on Susanna Hill’s blog – though today you can find (and read!) all the entries for Susanna’s Annual Holiday Story Contest – HERE

PPBF: Elsa and the Night


Author/Illustrator: Jöns Mellgren (Translation from Swedish by Anita Shenoi)
Publisher: Little Gestalten, 2014
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: sleep, night, loss
Opening: Elsa is sitting by the kitchen table, sorting through her granola. “Number seventy-eight,” she mumbles, picking out another raisin. All the lamps are burning. It’s warm in the room.
Summary: (from my library catalog) One day, Elsa hears a creature moving underneath her sofa. When she lures it out, she discovers that it’s the Night. ‘You’re not allowed to be here,’ she says, and puts it in an old cake tin. Fourteen hours later, it’s still day outside.


I like this book because: Publisher’s Weekly calls it an eccentric story and I have to agree. It might not appeal to everyone, but I beg readers to give it a chance beyond the beautifully composed spreads. I have read a number of reviews and see it hits readers differently. For me this is a story of loss, grief, denial and letting go, told in a tall tale. I hope you all find something special in it for yourselves.


Resources/activities: a great resource for the art class, this book makes wonderful use of contrasting and harmonious colors, and perfect for teaching composition – students could cut out similarly colored shapes and create their own compositions for study; I believe this is a beautiful resource for discussion on loss, grief, and letting go.


For more PPBF picks packed with resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.