Author: a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson Illustrators: Alice and Martin Provensen Publisher: Golden Press, 1964 Age: 4-10 Themes: Crimean war, authority, books from poems
Opening:Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Summary: (from goodreads) A narrative poem about the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War (1854).
I picked this book because: I think it’s important to show the stupidity and destruction caused by war, to understand diplomacy is the only way to end a war, better yet to prevent it. I had heard of the book because of the illustrators but never took the time to find it until recently (thanks to Judy Schachner for showing off her book on the Provensen’s on social media). The illustrations are as exquisite as the poem itself and both are worthy of discussion.
Author: Ulf Stark Illustrator: Eva Eriksson Publisher: Floris, 2016; first publ. in Sweden by Rabén & Sjögren, 2015 Age: 4-8 Themes: rabbits, tomtes, midsummer
Opening:Grump the tomte sat on a stool outside the old dog kennel, which he had made his home, with a stove, a bed, rugs and everything he needed.
Summary: (from my library’s catalog) It’s summer in the big forest and the rabbit children are looking forward to their first Midsummer party. Owl, who knows everything, says Midsummer is a time for dancing, love and magic. What a fun time they will have! Then a terrible storm sweeps through the forest and the woodland animals must find shelter at Grump the tomte’s cottage. Will the magic of Midsummer help restore harmony to the forest in time for the party?
I picked this book because: I fell for the cover illustration, as I am already a big fan of Eva Eriksson, but my admiration for tomte stories goes back to library visits form my children’s early days in Germany. And this collection does not disappoint! Perfect for lazy summer days to read together, and it covers so many issues, like grumpiness, care for all living things, and how to deal with sadness and loneliness. Also lots to discuss with young American readers who might be unfamiliar with Scandinavian folk tales and stories.
Resources/activities: read more tomte stories and other Scandinavian books, like the Pippi series; have your own backyard or park celebration for midsummer/summer solstice – some great ideas HERE.
For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.