PPBF: The Turnaround Wind

Author/Illustrator: Arnold Lobel
Publisher: Harper & Row, 1988
Age: 
4-8
Themes: wind, chaos, perspective

Opening: One afternoon in summer, the sky was clear and blue. The countryside was filled with happy beings.

Summary: (from my library catalog) The reader turns the book upside down to see what happens when a fierce wind blows through a country town one afternoon, affecting many different people and animals out enjoying the summer air.

I like this book because: I love novelty books that invite the reader to interact and see things from another perspective – sometimes literally! The strength and energy brought with the pencil illustrations refreshing now, maybe because we see less of it in contemporary picture books. Both the humor and the interaction is something kids would return for , and that’s all a creator wants – for kids to return!

Resources/activities: look at more books that either break the 4th wall (The Monster at the End of This Book), ask the reader to move the book (Shake the Tree!), or break the idea of what we assume picture books to be (Peter Newell Books).

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

PPBF: I Hate Everyone

Author: Naomi Danis
Illustrator:
 Cinta Arribas
Publisher: 
POW!, 2018
Age: 
3-7
Themes: emotions, parties, frustration
Opening: It’s my birthday, so boo! I hate all of you.

Summary: (from my library catalog) “I hate everyone.” In your worst mood, it’s a phrase you might want to shout out loud, even if, deep down, you don’t really mean it. Set at a birthday party, this disgruntled, first-person story portrays the confusing feelings that sometimes make it impossible to be nice, even or especially when everyone else is in a partying mode. A gorgeous, poetic contemplation, sure to elicit a reaction from readers.

I like this book because: That cover! And I do have a weakness for the magic artists can create with a limited palette. I get this character, we’ve all been in her shoes, and it’s so easy to identify with her situation, even if we don’t know what brought on the initial frustration. I also appreciate the close-up perspective in most of the spreads, which allow the reader to be right there as an ally.

Resources/activities: discuss what might frustrate us. Are these BIG deals or is it okay to be frustrated when they are not. Can we think of strategies to help us get through them, can we be kind to ourselves and be with our feelings even when it doesn’t please others? Draw yourself in a situation where you might feel frustrated.

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

PPBF: Willy and Hugh

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne
Publisher: Knopf, 1991
Age: 
3-8
Themes: bullies, friendship, fears

Opening: (sorry! I returned the book and forgot to write it down!)

Summary: (from my library catalog) Willy the chimpanzee is lonely until he meets Hugh Jape in the park, and the two become friends. BUT read this much better one to know why decent recommendations matter: (From goodreads) It’s not easy being a chimp in a world of oversized gorillas, and in WILLY AND HUGH, our scrawny hero is lonely for a pal. Hulking Hugh seems an unlikely candidate, but as Willy discovers, the oddest couples can make the best of friends.

I like this book because: the awe inspiring illustration and design (I melt over Browne’s artwork!), but I love unexpected friendships, don’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover surprises, and books that are easy to read visually. We often don’t talk about the levels of visual understanding for the youngest among us, but we should!

Resources/activities: Talk about what fears we have and reasons why we might have them, as well as strategies we can use to overcome as well as accept them. Yes, same tip from a few months ago with Don’t Worry, Little Crab/Chris Haughton – so read that book too!

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

PPBF: Hey, Little Ant

Author: Phillip and Hannah Hoose
Illustrator:
 Debbie Tilley
Publisher: 
Tricycle Press, 1998
Age: 
4-8
Themes: ants, children’s songs, empathy
OpeningKid: hey, little ant down in the crack, Can you hear me? Can you talk back? See my shoe, can you see that? Well, now it’s gonna squish you flat.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A song in which an ant pleads with the kid who is tempted to squish it.

I like this book because: because the text is a song it makes for a very nice read-aloud, and I was drawn to the illustration style as much now as when I had read this to my son. But as an illustrator I also appreciate the unique perspectives on every page, the adorable character design of the ant and the children. The spreads I didn’t show are even more fun!

Resources/activities: sing the song together – words and music are in the backmatter; learn the ukelele just for this song (haha!); great discussion starter around respect for the natural world; learn more about ants in the video at the bottom of this post.

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

COINCIDENCE? The night this post went up we experienced an invasion of baby ants, just not as bite as this one!

LOUIS ★starred review★!

A star from Kirkus! The review is in their August 15th issue – read the full review online now here.

This one in the August issue of SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL:

PreS-Gr 3–Louis is a teddy bear who has truly seen it all. And he’s a teddy bear who has had enough. He has been used and abused as a pillow, a hankie, and as lunch for a prehistoric beast. He’s been buried alive, thrown into a hurricane, hung out to dry, and has even been made an accessory to a nightmare-inducing crime! Lichtenheld lets readers know that Louis is ready to break free—but there is always a reason not to leave, and he’s going to need more cupcakes. Rowan-Zoch’s colorful and expressive illustrations complement Lichtenheld’s silly story and truly bring Louis the grumpy bear to life. Fans of the author’s Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site will delight in this enjoyable picture book. VERDICT Perfect for read-alouds or one-on-one sharing, this is a laugh-out-loud spin on a would-be runaway’s best-laid plans.–Elizabeth Blake, Fields Corner Lib., Dorchester, MA

To pre-order: links on my Books page HERE and at Soaring 20s HERE!

PPBF: Lauren McGill’s Pickle Museum

Author: Jerdine Nolen
Illustrator:
 Debbie Tilley
Publisher: 
Silver Whistle/Harcourt, 2003
Age: 
5-8
Themes: pickles, school field trips, identity
OpeningLauren McGill was like any other girl her age who had a favorite something.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A class field trip to the local pickle factory puts Lauren McGill’s love of pickles to the test, until she realizes her true calling is to create a museum dedicated to pickles.

I like this book because: …nope! I don’t love pickles. Beyond her own mother’s feelings, I despise them! But this main character shows such unabashed passion one cannot but admire her capacity. And when “an untimely pickle experiment” goes wrong and the consequences ultimately challenge her identity, her creativity and generosity ferments – pun intended!!

Resources/activities: make pickles – recipe for easy refrigerator-pickles HERE; check out how they are made in a small factory, below.

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

PPBF: Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life

Author: Jerdine Nolen
Illustrator:
 Kadir Nelson
Publisher: 
S&S, 2005
Age: 
4-8
Themes: height, family, expectations
OpeningHewitt Anderson lived with his parents in an enormous house at the edge of town. His parents believed big things were best! The boasted a grand and impressive residence overlooking the valley below.

Summary: (from Amazon) Descended from a long line of giants, the J. Carver Worthington Andersons take their height very seriously indeed. You see, without exception all of the many J. Carver Worthington Andersons have been giants until now. And poor Hewitt—hidden in the floorboards, trapped in the flour vat, lost in the bedsheets—has his struggles being tiny. Oh, his parents worry: How will their son manage to live in a world of big things? Leave it to Hewitt to prove the power of being small.

I like this book because: I really love the premise of a child meeting his families expectations in unexpected ways and how size and shape are not always a predictor of our success! The beautiful illustrations (from the current recipient of the Caldecott Medal!) allow us to feel what Hewitt felt being so…normal! Jerdine

Nolen’s writing makes for a thrilling and heartwarming read-aloud!

Resources/activities: make a list of things you can do “better” because of your height or size or skills; compare them with other skills from family members and friends, then ask, do my abilities depend on my size or shape and how these abilities compliment or complete our needs? How can problem solving help where size and shape do not? Do you recognize the references in this story to a familiar folk tale?

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

PPBF: Don’t Worry Little Crab

Author/Illustrator: Chris Haughton
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2020
Age: 
3-6
Themes: crabs, ocean, fear

Opening: see image below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Little Crab and Very Big Crab live in a tiny rock pool near the sea. Today they’re going for a dip in the big ocean. ‘This is going to be so great,’ says Little Crab, splish-splashing and squelch-squelching along, all the way to the very edge. Then comes a first glance down at the waves. WHOOSH! Maybe it’s better if they don’t go in?

I am a fan of all of Haughton’s books: the bright colors, their juxtaposition, the composition, and the understated humor!

Resources/activities: Talk about what fears we have and reasons why we might have them, as well as strategies we can use to overcome as well as accept them. Make colorful shadow puppets using harmonious colors (colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel) – like THESE

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

Mr.Bear Goes to Sea

Author: Chizuko Kuratomi
Illustrator:
 Kozo Kakimoto
Publisher: 
MacDonald, 1968
Age: 
3-6
Themes: Bears, rabbits, fear, Fish-out-of-water story
OpeningSee image below.

Summary: (from Amazon) Deciding it is time for a change, Mr. Bear leaves his mountain home to be a sailor.

I like this book because: I’ll admit it – my weakness is for great illustration and Kakimoto is a master of composition! I admire the loose strokes and bold shapes, how he leaves large spaces with little detail and fill small spaces with lots – and all the energy this generates on the page. Fresh today as ever! I also like the juxtaposition of a big brown bear and a fluffle of little rabbits!

Resources/activities: I hope someone still has an atlas around the house to share the joy of maps with children, to trace rivers and mountain ranges. Also talk about places that have felt so different from home and where else you might like to go!

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

WHM2020 – belated