PPBF- Cybils Awards Finalist: Shh! We Have a Plan

 

Shh1This selection is one of seven finalists for fiction picture books, and I am a participating judge for round 2. Which means I have to read them. Tough work, huh? For information on the Cybils Awards, click HERE

Author/Illustrator: Chris Haughton
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2014
Ages: 3-7yrs (according to Amazon, but I think the younger in the range would enjoy it more)
Themes: trapping, birds, compassion, observation
Opening: Look! a bird
Summary: (from Amazon) Four friends creep through the woods, and what do they spot? An exquisite bird high in a tree! “Hello birdie,” waves one. “Shh! We have a plan,” hush the others. They stealthily make their advance, nets in the air. Ready one, ready two, ready three, and go! But as one comically foiled plan follows another, it soon becomes clear that their quiet, observant companion, hand outstretched, has a far better idea.

Shh2I like this book because: it is both humorous and deep. On reading it again I realized an extra layer, that beyond there being more ways to accomplish a task, there are more ways to interact with your environment. The illustrations, as you see, are bold and bright, which stand in glorious juxtaposition to the quiet message midst the humor and excitement. The illustrations have much more to surprise you with than I am willing to spoil by sharing! Check it out!

Shh3Resources/activities: great companion read when discussing problem-solving, opposing viewpoints or respect for nature; use in the art room when discussing use of warm and cold colors; make torn-paper pictures using complimentary colors.

For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

 

 

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Phyllis’ First Decade

anemone

Spring visit in Colorado – we both love anemones!

On February 2nd, Groundhog Day 2015, Susanna is having a party in celebration of Phyllis’s 10th Anniversary, the official Phyllis’s Birthday Bonanza HERE. Phyllis wants would like to hear sweet words of adoration (10 yr old girl? Yep, that’s about when it starts!), and who am I not to oblige (with a little inspiration from Will)?

Phyllis in her birthday suit, checking for black raspberry flowers.

Phyllis in her birthday suit, checking for black raspberry flowers.

Shall I compare thee to a winter storm?

Thou art more lively and more boisterous.

Rough winds do shake the feeble boughs of gray,

And winter’s lease hath all too long a date.

Sometimes (not enough!) the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his pale complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or sudden changing course, is trimmed;

But thy wearisome winter will not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade (Ha! What shade?),

When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.

     So long as men can’t breathe, and noses drip,

     So long lives this, and this gives life to quip.

I know, Phyllis – better keep my day job! Happy 10th!

Haven’t read Phyllis’s books? Click on the images below to go direct to the source!

PPBF – Cybils Awards Finalist: Knock Knock

Knock1This selection is one of seven finalists for fiction picture books, and I am a participating judge for round 2. Which means I have to read them. Tough work, huh? For information on the Cybils Awards, click HERE

Author: Daniel Beaty
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2014
Ages: 3-6yrs (according to Amazon, but, again, I think it’s for older children)
Themes: fathers and sons, separation, diverse books
Opening: Every morning I play a game with my father. He goes KNOCK KNOCK on my door, and I pretend to be asleep till he gets right next to my bed.
Summary: (from the publisher) A boy wakes up one morning to find his father gone. At first, he feels lost. But his father has left him a letter filled with advice to guide him through the times he cannot be there.

Knock2I like this book because: it’s powerful and beautiful, both in the writing and the illustrations. For a variety of reasons many children have to deal with separation from or the absence of a parent, and this selection deals with incarceration, though it’s not mentioned. I believe it would make a good addition to classroom shelves, helping kids understand and navigate the difficulties some are forced to deal with and to encourage hope. The multi-layered mixed-media illustrations are rich and warm, and invite the reader to take time to see there are often more layers to life’s complexities if we take a closer look.

Knock3Resources/activities: check out this pinterest board on building self-esteem.

For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

PPBF – Cybils Awards Finalist: The Girl and the Bicycle

 

Girl1This selection is one of seven finalists for fiction picture books, and I am a participating judge for round 2. Which means I have to read them. Tough work, huh? For information on the Cybils Awards, click HERE

Author/Illustrator: Mark Pett
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2014
Ages: 5-8yrs (feel it can easily be read with a younger child)
Themes: moneymaking projects, friendship, bicycles
Opening: wordless – girl walking past city shops notices a bicycle for sale in the window
Summary: (from my library catalog) A wordless picture book in which a girl sees a bicycle she wants to buy, works hard for a kindly neighbor to earn themoney for it, then gets a pleasant surprise.

Girl2

I like this book because: of its beautifully drawn and easy-to-read pictures, with plenty of negative space to help set the pace. A lovely message about the benefits of hard work, sharing and friendship.

Girl3

Resources/activities: classroom activities for learning about cost/benefit using this book

For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

PPBF+Cybils Awards Finalist: This is a Moose

This selection is one of seven finalists for fiction picture books, and I am a participating judge for round 2. Which means I have to read them. Tough work, huh? For information on the Cybils Awards, click HERE

Author: Richard T. Morris
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2014
Ages: 3-6yrs (according to Amazon, but I think it’s for kids a tad older)
Themes: documentary films, moose, animal behavior
Opening: This is a moose – take one! This is the Mighty Moose. His father is a moose. His mother is a moose
Summary: (from my library catalog) Director Billy Waddler is trying to film a documentary about moose, but the moose in question has no intention of spending his life in the woods and his animal friends, who have dreams of their own, help him prove his point.

I like this book because: it’s funny! My critique partner brought it to share and we all had a good laugh reading it! How could you not enjoy a moose who dreams beyond other’s expectations? The ink, gouache and colored pencil illustrations are stunning – perfect for an ‘outdoor documentary’! I’ve seen a number of moose here in Colorado, but never ran into one with a good sense of humor.

Moose

Resources/activities: this is a great companion read for a unit on animal behavior; make a class documentary with a storyboard depicting animal behavior – or get silly and dream up goals of your own for the animals.

For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

PPBF: Shackleton’s Journey

ShackletonCoverAuthor/Illustrator: William Grill
Publisher: Flying Eye Books, 2014
Ages: 7 and up
Themes: Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, explorers, Antarctica
Opening: Introduction: Born on 15 February 1874, Shackleton was the second of ten children.
Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Presents a visual narrative of Ernest Shackleton’s voyage to Antarctica during which his ship, the Endurance, became trapped in ice, forcing the crew on a desperate trek to seek rescue.

Shackleton1

I like this book because: it’s GORGEOUS and just the kind of book I would have wanted as a kid – glorious, expansive spreads illustrated with my favorite energy-yielding media – pencils! Oh, and lists, more lists, and maps! I can’t say why, but some of the images are less crisp than others, and that was a little disappointing, but no matter – they bedazzle so much you still feel a chill!

Shackleton3

Resources/activities: great read for any unit on exploration; track the journey on a class room map with yarn; more activities on the Endurance Voyage from PBS Nova Teachers – HERE

Shackleton2

More PPBF picks on Susanna Hill’s blog – HERE

Shackleton4