PPBF: Stretchy and Beanie

Author/Illustrator: Judy Schachner
Publisher: Dial, 2021
Themes: cats, pets, stories in rhyme

Opening: When the McHandsome Clan met the McBrights, each kid got a cat, so it worked out just right.

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) An independent cat and his young owner learn to appreciate the independence and enthusiasm of the other.

I picked this book because: The rhyme is a delightful read-aloud and this is the kind of book I would have poured over as a kid, picking out my own favorite cat, or favorite cat expression, and looking to see which other McBright child seemed most like me. I would swear up and down that I would have been a better cat owner, but truth be told: I also stuck a kitty or two in a drawer too many! Just like Beanie and the other kids, I would have loved to have had a kitty of my very own. The illustrations are jam packed with wonderful little details (check out Beanie’s shoe choices!), cheerful colors and loads of humor and energy!

Resources/activities: check out Judy Schachner’s IG account and have a look at her handmade stretchy-accordion cats and make your own; read Stretchy McHandsome; learn about best practices with a new pet – cat or other!; make your own cat tail, or headband ears like Beanie’s.

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

PPBF: Magic Candies

Author/Illustrator: Heena Baek
Translated by: Sophie Bowman
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids, 2021
Themes: candy, magic, imagination

Opening: I play on my own.

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Tong Tong could never have imagined what everyone around him was thinking. But when he gets hold of some magic candies, suddenly there are voices everywhere. He can hear how his couch feels, what upsets his dog, that his demanding dad loves him. He even gets to catch up with his dead grandmother. It turns out, these voices in Tong Tongs life have A LOT to say! Is Tong Tong ready to hear it? At turns funny, weird, and heartfelt, this imaginative picture book from award-winning Korean author Heena Baek will take readers along on Tong Tongs journey as he goes from lonely to brave.

I picked this book because: The amazing illustration on the cover caught my eye, and the interior art does not disappoint! I love the concept of magic candy, where each candy takes the main character and how he even learns to manipulate the magic – and make the most of it! Very sweet and it left me wanting more, so I made the most of it and imagined what I might hear with a few such candies!

Resources/activities: Do what I did, and imagine what you might hear with magic candies. Draw what they might look like. Maybe investigate how to make your own candies or lollipops – and share with friends! Read another book from Korean illustrator Heena Baek: Moon Pops, Owl Kids, 2021

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

PPBF: Gemma and the Giant Girl

Author: Sara O’Leary
 Marie Lafrance
Publisher: Tundra, 2021
Themes: dolls, dollhouses, giants

Opening: Gemma lived in a very nice little house and had a very nice little life.

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Gemma lives a nice little life in a nice little house where things have been the same forever and ever. She wonders if she will ever grow up, or if she will always be her Momma and Poppa’s little girl. And then one day something happens that shakes up everything. Is Gemma’s little world about to get a whole lot bigger?

I picked this book because: because I will always pick up a book illustrated by Marie Lafrance! I find the most attractive quality of her art is that I always feel transported to another, very elegant world. BUT to the story: it feels simple, but it’s an adventure that unfolds with perspective, change, and adaptation. I love picture books whose ideas linger for a good while in my head, like sucking on a lemon drop. And now I wish I had my old dollhouse back!

Resources/activities: read other books that feature dollhouses, like This is My Dollhouse, by Giselle Potter; peruse Pinterest HERE for inspiration; make your own shoebox dollhouse.

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

PPBF: Raj’s Rule

Author: Lana Button
 Hatem Aly
Publisher: Owlkids, 2020
Themes: restrooms, fear, school

Opening: (see image above)

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Raj has one steadfast rule: NEVER USE THE BATHROOM AT SCHOOL! Of course, it can be challenging to follow this rule. After all, sometimes, a person’s gotta go! So Raj has come up with a series of how-to rules to help him “hold it” — avoid all liquids; stay very still at recess; squeeze your knees tight, stay away from funny friends who might make you laugh too hard, and at all costs, avoid sneezing. But, inevitably, Raj ends up accidentally breaking his own rule with a big “Ahh-choo!” Then has has to use the school bathroom, and he realizes that it’s not so bad after all. So he lets go of his old rules, and now he can drink from the fountain, enjoy his juice box, play at the water table, laugh at Kyle’s jokes, and even stay to play after school! Raj’s new rule: Just go when you need to! Ahhhhh.

I picked this book because: I liked the eye-catching cover, and I had a child who had the same rule! I wish we had had this book to open up a discussion and for my child to be able to identify and relate to even a fictional character to feel better about their own feelings. The illustrations and bright and engaging, and there is enough humor in the book to put reader’s at ease discussing what might be a difficult subject. And Raj is ADORABLE! Hope we see more of him!

Resources/activities: talk about similar rules kids might have had when they started school that have since changed – or not! Discuss such fears, why we might have them, is it okay to feel that way, are there other ways kids have overcome their fears, how might we be able to help friends with their fears?

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