PPBF: I Can Make a Train Noise

Authors and Illustrators: Michael Emberley and Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House, 2021
Themes: railroad trains, imagination, read-aloud

Opening: see image below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A girl transforms a cafe into a train by making train noises with words.

I picked this book because: it’s absolutely perfect for storytime! I loved reading books with toddlers/pre-schoolers in the bookstore, but I have not been able to since the pandemic and wow, do I miss it! So this will be on the tippy-top of my list when we start up again! What a fantastic way to engage kids with crescendo/de-crescendo, beautiful visuals, and physical movement! Woohoo!!!

Resources/activities: Turn your classroom or living room into a train! Listen to all different kinds of trains on youtube, HERE; make train crafts like the one below – instructions/suggestions HERE

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

PPBF: The Invisible Alphabet

Author: Joshua David Stein
 Ron Barrett
Publisher: Rise/PRH, 2020
Themes: alphabet, 2-color palette, concept book

Opening: see image below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Illustrations and simple text for each letter of the alphabet represent invisible items, some that are gone and some that have not arrived, such as a bus that has been delayed–or missed. (A lack of passion here, I’d say!)

I picked this book because: the cover intrigued me, especially the hint that it might have a VERY limited palette! I love to see someone tackle a visual challenge, and the concept must have been quite the puzzle too! But both author and illustrator make it look deceptively simple! I also appreciate visuals that are easy for the very young to read – not that I don’t like beautifully detailed illustrations, but it’s not only important to get a message across, it also teaches us something about the power of being concise. I’ve already read it multiple times with a consistent smile on my face!

plenty of detail but easy to read

Resources/activities! see if you can come up with more words to use for each letter and drawings to go with them!

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

PPBF: Rocket says Look Up!

Author: Nathan Bryon
 Dapo Adeola
Publisher: Random House, 2019
Themes: siblings, astronomy, meteors

Opening: Mom tells me that I never stop looking up and my head is always floating in the clouds.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Aspiring astronaut Rocket draws her community together to see a rare appearance of the Phoenix Meteor Showers, hoping especially that her big brother, Jamal, will look up from his phone.

I picked this book because: First let me say the description in the summary above is a bit misleading. Rocket wants her brother to engage with her and take interest in something she is passionate about. We all want to be seen, I don’t see this as an indictment about phones, but about family, siblings and wanting to share that which excites us! and Rocket is excited about space, so much so she shares her enthusiasm throughout with fun facts – and I know kids like her and the adults they have become! Also, the illustrations are adorable! (I do wish they had used white text on dark backgrounds though!) I hope Rocket will warm your heart too!

Resources/activities! Can you watch the Perseid meteor showers from where you are tonight? Otherwise look up when the best time is for your area!

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

PPBF: My Winter City

Author: James Gladstone
 Gary Clement
Publisher: Groundwoodl, 2019
Themes: winter, city life, sledding

Opening: see spread below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A young boy wakes up in the early light of a winter morning, pulls on his boots and mittens, and steps out into the snowy city with his dad. They trudge through the snow, their dog bounding along beside them, then a slushy, steamy bus ride takes them to the tobogganing hill for some winter fun. The boy describes all the sights and sounds of the day, from the frost in Dad’s beard and the snow “pillows” in the park, to the noisy clunking snow plows and the singing buskers they pass on their way home. That night, the boy lies awake under cozy covers, reflecting on the day, as snow blankets the world outside his window. This is winter in the city.

I picked this book because: it’s so hot here (again) I needed some snow! At this point I would welcome it in real life! And this title did not disappoint. Even on a hot day, it pays to slow down. Told from the point of view of a city child, the reader is invited to make connections with their own experiences (though I’d love to hear back from someone who hasn’t lived in an area with winter weather!) A walk through any city offers us a plethora of details if we pay attention, and the illustrations here are delightful and refreshing, yet warm the heart like a cup of cocoa.

Resources/activities! discuss what parts of the globe experience snow in winter, the differences in our experiences to snow in the country or suburbs, mountains or plains – even the seaside. I would pair it with a reading of Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales (so many beautifully illustrated editions and a delightful film!), even if you don’t celebrate Christmas.

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

SCBWI Big Five Oh Conference Sketches

There is so much to be gained from sketching speakers at conferences, and while I enjoy being there in person the virtual sessions allow a much better closeup for features. I enjoyed myself immensely this year!

Peter Brown, TeMika Grooms, Saho Fujii
Cecilia Yung, Barbara Marcus, Sophie Blackall
Laurent Linn, Ann Whitford Paul, Mike Curato
Don Tate, Linda Sue Park, Paul O. Zelinsky