PPBF: Elliot

Author: Julie Pearson
Illustrator:
 Manon Gauthier
Publisher: Pajama Press, 2016
Age: 
5-8
Themes: orphans, foster parents, rabbits

Opening: see image below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Elliot’s parents do not know how to take care of him. As Elliot moves from one foster home to another, his visits with his real parents leave him anxious and conflicted about where he wants to be. At last he finds stability with a new adoptive family.

I picked this book because: I liked the cover. That’s why I picked it up. I like it because it’s a story I was not expecting, an important story, gently told, of the experience of Elliot “a playful little boy who was full of life.” Afterward I looked for other reviews, and was astonished how Elliot was perceived by some reviewers, as possibly suffering from some behavioral disorder. Why? Because he cried when he was hungry, yelled when he was upset, and sometimes even misbehaved? I’ve never known a child to not show those natural forms of communication. In any case, I thought that was another reason to chose Elliot for PPBF, not just for it’s beautiful, seemingly simple, playful – and full of life! – illustrations!

Resources/activities! so much to talk about! Here is a website I found from a foster parent should you need assistance. And just like last week, draw or make collages to help deal with feeling that may arise in the discussions. Look for more titles beautifully illustrated by Manon Gauthier .

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

PPBF: Middle Bear

Author: Susanna Isern
Illustrator:
 Manon Gauthier
Publisher: Kids Can Press, 2015
Age: 
3-7
Themes: bears, siblings, middle child

Opening: see image below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A middle child discovers his own unique gifts. He was the second of three brothers. “He was not big, but he was not little, either. Neither strong nor weak, neither tall nor short, neither a lot nor a little … He was the middle one.” And when you’re always in the middle, sometimes it’s hard to feel special. Until one day, his parents needed an important task to be done. And suddenly, middle-sized was the perfect size to be. Kids will be reassured by this powerful message: No matter your age, you’re always the best at being you!

I picked this book because: I’m the middle child, of course! And this text handles the sensitivities so beautifully. The positives and negatives a child feels about their place in the family, their size, and the responsibilities and privileges attributed. The illustrations are highly engaging and invite young readers to try their own hand at creating collages too! In fact I will add that to the resources below! Find it, enjoy it, share it!

Resources/activities! especially due to the pandemic children need to find ways to express their feelings, and I think reading this together, discussing the pros and cons of one’s placement within a family and what we feel would be a great prompt for a personal collage assignment in which each child may depict a scene form their pandemic experience in relation to their family. Look for more titles illustrated by Manon Gauthier for more inspiration.

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

PPBF: Animal Masquerade

Author/Illustrator: Marianne Dubuc
Publisher:
Kids Can Press, 2012 (Originally under Au carnaval des animaux, 2011)
Themes
: animals, disguises, masquerade

Age Level: 3-7, but my teens loved this too!
Opening: 
see image below

Synopsis: from Kids Can Press: The lion is going as an elephant, the elephant as a parrot, and the parrot as a turtle! Each costume gives way to another, yielding new surprises on every page, and revealing a menagerie of familiar and unusual animals. Young children will delight in the absurd and amusing images (who wouldn’t love a ladybug dressed as a hippopotamus?) and will also appreciate the gags (a fish costumed as a cat is dubbed a “catfish”) and other bits of silly sweetness. Recapping this reading adventure: a detailed panorama at book’s end, showing all the party guests in their fanciful finery.

Why I am recommending this book again: I could not believe my eyes last week when I noticed this book is out of print! I have hand-sold numerous copies and truly enjoy it EVERY time I read it. I’m so incredibly sad about this! It’s so much fun and even the youngest hang in for all 120 pages! So if you find a copy (for sale, little thieves!) snap it up! And again: If anyone out there ever makes a costume of an animal ‘in costume’ send me a photo!

Resource/Activity: make your own costumeshttp://crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/halloween/costumes/Blog: My Disguises great photos and ideas for kids of ALL ages.


For more links to posts on Perfect Picture Books and resources, visit Susanna Hill’s blog every Friday.

PPBF: Not Little

Author: Maya Myers
Illustrator:
 Hyewon Yum
Publisher: Neal Porter/HH, 2021
Age: 
3-7
Themes: size, bullying, self-awareness

Opening: see image below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Dot proves she is not little by standing up to a school bully. (*might be one of the shortest summaries, but it packs the punch!)

I picked this book because: I admire all of Hyewon Yum’s work and will always pick up one of her books, BUT this story totally stole my heart. Maybe because I was little in elementary school too (spurt came late), maybe because I experienced a fair amount of bullying (“you have freckles, you can’t play with us!”), or maybe because the author just captured the feelings so well. Not just maybe! This will certainly remain a personal fave and I can’t wait to share it with “little” people again!

Resources/activities: If your space is safe, the book lends itself to a good discussion starter on the different forms of bullying, and might encourage kids to share their experiences; discuss strategies for addressing it as well as strategies for how to listen to and be an ally for our friends; read companion books like Stick and Stone by Ferry/Lichtenheld, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Lovell/Catrow, Chrysanthemum by Henkes; draw about our experiences.

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