PPBF: Mr. Bear and the Ghost

Author: Chizuko Kuratomi
 Kozo Kakimoto
Publisher: Macdonald, 1984(orig.,1983)
Themes: bears, ghosts, rabbits

Opening: Something was wrong in Rabbit Town.

Summary: (could not find a synopsis ANYWHERE online!) Mr. Bear is asked to stay the night at the Carrot Funfair because it appears to be haunted – and finds there is some truth to their fears!

I picked this book because: I am a fan of the Mr. Bear books and though the story is not particularly “peppy” by today’s standards, the illustrations are as fresh and marvelous as ever! All of their books are a delight and this one might be just the right kind of ghost story for little ones at this time of year! Just look at the atmosphere Kakimoto creates!

Resources/activities: read other Mr. Bear titles you might be able to find at your library: here is a sampling, but I believe there are 16 or 17 in all. Make a colorful windchime with old keys – see image below.

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

PPBF: The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle

Author: Rumer Godden
 Mairi Hedderwick
Publisher: Viking, 1970(Illustrations,1972)
Themes: simple living, folk tale, wishes

Opening: Once upon a time there was an old woman who lived in a vinegar bottle.* (read the book to find out what is meant by a “vinegar bottle”.)

Summary: (from my library catalog) In this British variant of a traditional tale, an ungrateful woman who complains constantly about her house is granted increasingly grandiose wishes by a fairy.

I picked this book because: As some of you know, it is not commonplace for me to choose a picture book with a lot of text! But I was soooo intrigued by the title! And I enjoyed sinking in to a wonderful writer’s voice and retelling of an old folk tale. As we head into colder months I think this might be just the ticket for sharing while waiting for something delicious to come out of the oven! Enjoy!

Resources/activities: read other titles for children from Rumer Godden; consider and discuss the kind of home you occupy, does it fit your needs, too big or too small? If you had a few wishes, what might you wish for? Do you know if someone you love has a wish you might fulfill? Draw the items you think you need to be content – how much space do you need?

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

PPBF: Some Dinosaurs Are Small

Authors and Illustrator: Charlotte Voake
Publisher: Candlewick, 2020
Themes: dinosaurs, size-perception

Opening: Some dinosaurs are small.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Presents the story of three big, fast, thieving dinosaurs hungrily encountering a slower dino who uses his smaller teeth to eat fruit and leaves.

I picked this book because: i’m still working on a dinosaur manuscript! It’s important to know what is new on the market as well as which ones have become classics. And this one is SO adorable! perfect read-aloud for toddlers and perfect if the adult reader is hoping for a hug at the end! The artwork is bright, with bold lines, humor and quite satisfying for a few details that take a little time to notice (my favorite kind!).

Resources/activities: read companion books that deal with size perception to open up discussions with slightly older toddlers, like Not Little, by Maya Myers and Hyewon Yum. For budding artists, place well-defined (large plastic) toy dinosaurs at the edge casting a strong shadow onto the paper to trace the shadow and color!

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

PPBF: How to Help a Pumpkin Grow

Author/Illustrator: Ashley Wolff
 Beach Lane, 2021
: pumpkins, animals, gardening

Age Level: 2-6
see image 2 below

Synopsis: (from my library catalog) Dog is planting a garden, doing all he can to help his pumpkins grow: protecting them from snow, weeding and watering their patch, and keeping them safe from barnyard creatures who might eat the sprouts! But are Crow, Rabbit, Duck, and Goat really out to destroy the garden? Or are they new friends hoping to pitch in and help the pumpkins thrive?

I picked this book because: of the vibrant artwork: the rich palette, the masterful lighting and use of contrast, and beautifully rendered characters and scenery. And because it’s almost Halloween and this would be an absolutely delightful read-aloud if only I were still doing storytime! Blast Covid!

Resource/Activity: it may be too late to plant seeds this season, but not too early to plan for the next! Map out together where the best spot might be, be sure to have it cleared for planting, but cover with leaves to provide nutrients and moisture (I live in semi-arid dessert territory!). Learn about the different kinds of seeds and order ahead! Also, read Halloween companion books: HERE is a great list in PW.

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

PPBF: Regina is NOT a Little Dinosaur

Author/Illustrator: Andrea Zuill
 Schwartz & Wade, 2021
: dinosaurs, hunting, mother-child

Age Level: 3-7
see image 2 below

Synopsis: from my library’s catalog: Regina, a young dinosaur who is convinced she is ready to hunt for her own food, sneaks away from Mama, but soon finds she has much to learn about hunting.

Why I am recommending this book again: because Regina is so darn cute! Zuill does such a fine job with facial and body expression and as a parent, I’ve seen all of it! (I have at least one very expressive child!) What is also exciting as I’m working on a story with dinosaurs myself 😉 It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, and the characters are identifiable! PPB!

Resource/Activity: look into identifying the different kinds of dinos depicted in the story; did those dinosaurs all live in the same period? What do we know about each one’s habits? Which one’s bones may have been found nearest to your location? Museum trip possible? Have fun!

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