PPBF: The Great Stink

Author: Colleen Paeff
 Nancy Carpenter
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry, 2021
Themes: sewerage, Bazalgette, London

Opening: see full spread below.

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) This funny and informative picture book tells the story of Joseph Bazalgette, a 19th century engineer who designed London’s first comprehensive sewage system. In doing so, he saved thousands of lives from cholera outbreaks that regularly plagued the city. This STEM-focused story provides a window into the past and shows how one invention went on to affect generations to come-and teaches kids how they can prevent pollution in their own neighborhoods today.

I picked this book because: I was also thrilled to see what illustrator Nancy Carpenter had done with the cover, and could hardly wait to discover the magic I knew she would bring to my Soaring20s pal’s debut picture book. I was not disappointed, and sublimely surprised at what Colleen conjured with the text! Amazing how the two of them could bring so many gross AND fun facts to life with humor and enthusiasm! Definitely worth your while!

Resources/activities: I generally dislike suggesting more screen time, but these two videos are fascinating: 10mins on Bazalgette’s work HERE, and another 59min video that presents very interesting research on what’s going on with waste water development today.

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

PPBF: Poles Apart

Author: Jeanne Willis
Publisher: Nosy Crow, 2016
Themes: penguins, polar bears, getting lost

Opening: As everyone knows, penguins are found at the South Pole and never at the North Pole. At least not until the day…

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Everybody knows that penguins live at the South Pole and polar bears live at the North Pole—but what would happen if, one day, a family of picnicking penguins accidentally got lost? When the hapless Pilchard-Brown family find themselves at the wrong pole, they need Mr. White, a friendly polar bear, to guide them all the way home.

I picked this book because: I enjoy other books by Willis and by Jarvis so I was curious to see a collaboration between them – and I was not disappointed! It’s simple and sweet and a huggable sort of book with bright, lively, and loose drawings (something I am forever trying to achieve myself!). And be just right for the toddler/preschool crowd for story time with lots of alliteration and fun details that truly engage. Hope you enjoy it too!

Resources/activities: look into which animals are found on both poles, and which are not; make a diorama featuring the differences; create a play adding other locations with backdrop paintings; read more picture books featuring animals from the north and south poles, like Except Antarctica by Todd Sturgell.

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

PPBF: Little Red and the Cat Who Loved Cake

Author/Illustrator: Barbara Lehman
Publisher: HMH, 2021
Themes: wordless picture books, fairy tales, cats

Opening: see spread below

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Little Red has baked a cake with their father, and is on the way to Grandma’s house to make a delivery. But someone has been trailing them ever since they left home . . . someone who really loves cake. This playful retelling of a beloved classic is a visual delight, with references to other fairy tales hidden throughout Lehman’s inviting illustrations.

I picked this book because: the author-illustrator is one of my idols and I would read her shopping list given a chance!! BUT, this is yet another delightful wordless picture book illustrated in the deceptively simplest lines that it takes a few pages before you notice all the wonderful fairytale clues seamlessly woven into the frames. And so much humor! I have read it 4x and I’m still finding something new to make me smile!

Resources/activities: Lehman has included some wonderful search-and-find material in the back matter; I would suggest looking for versions of some of the tales included in the illustrations to read along with this title, and maybe even a Each Peach Pear Plum, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg too! This could also be a fun story to act out!

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

PPBF: Wildfire!

Author/Illustrator: Ashley Wolff
Publisher: Beach Lane, 2021
Themes: wildfire, firefighters, forest animals

Opening: Buck hears the rumble. Squirrel sees the flash. Jay spreads the news. ”FireFireFire in the forest!”

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Illustrations and easy-to-read text reveal the struggles of forest animals to survive when fire breaks out on Spruce Mountain, and the actions of the firefighters who work through the night to stop the blaze.

I picked this book because: The cover had such a strong visual impact I would have picked this to read anyway, but also because I live in a region that has been dealing with wildfires for a long time. My former neighbor was a hotshot firefighter too. I’ve read a few books that deal with fire and natural disaster, but this one is not only beautifully illustrated, but easy for kids to understand, whether they live in a region like mine or not. And highly informative. I am looking forward to sharing this when story time in the bookstore resumes and to read it while making local school visits. Thank you, Ashley Wolff, for creating such an important book!

Resources/activities: read the wonderful details included in the back matter; learn best behavior practices for forest hiking and camping; visit a local fire station.

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