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

Quarantine Quick-Draws

Candy Monster

Some good folks, @AmeDyckman and @charlenedraws over on twitter started a fun activity for illustrators to answer quick-draw requests from kids through their parent’s accounts – and some kids are replying with their colored pages, own drawings and paintings – all while we are saving lives and staying home! Look for #WSID (What Should I Draw?). Here are more of my quarantine efforts so far:

*also celebrating my 8th blogiversary today!

dinosaur birthday cake, mashed request
Jedi-Cat fights Darth-Vader-Dog
sparkly roses laugh when princess picks them
dog and shark, mashed request
unicorn sliding down a rainbow
Karate Pigs
feline bouncer

Black History Month Portraits

Updated post: The following portraits were a daily exercise to help keep my work loose. The side effect has been unexpected and wonderful! I learned so much about each of these remarkable Americans as I searched for quotes, which have been added to each post on Instagram @jrzoch.

PPBF: Mr. Scruff

Author/Illustrator: Simon James
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2019
Age: 
3-6
Themes: Companionship, dogs, pet ownership

Opening: see 2 images below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Everyone knows that owners and their dogs belong together in a unique way. Polly belongs to Molly, Eric belongs to Derek, Berry belongs to Terry. But poor Mr. Scruff, alone in the rescue shelter, doesn’t belong to anyone. Then a boy named Jim walks in, and they seem to get along. Jim and Mr. Scruff don’t look anything alike, and their names certainly don’t rhyme, but they may end up belonging to each other just the same. From author-illustrator Simon James comes a warm, winning story about friendship and finding a home. A sweetly silly story of a little boy and a dog who make an unlikely (but perhaps perfect) pair.

Resources/activities: Talk about pets and why they might be a good fit for a child or their family, how the pet was chosen, or how otherwise ownership has come about; discuss what’s important about ownership, responsibilities, and care; discuss why a person or family might chose not to have a pet.

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

PPBF: Field Trip to the Moon

Author/Illustrator: John Hare
Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books, Holiday House, 2019
Age: 
3-7
Themes: school field trips, moon, stories without words

Summary: (from my library catalog) in this wordless picture book, a girl is accidentally left behind on a class trip to the moon.

I like this book because: the landscape Hare created is deceptive – it looks simple, but we are drawn back to each page, practically before turning, to look for what our quick brains have missed, and there is so much to be discovered! Enjoy!

Resources/activities: how would you invite someone to join you in an activity whose language you could not understand? Try it, as a game. think of an activity and try acting it out without words to see if your partner gets it – like charades, but no clues!

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

PPBF: Where’s Baby?…and my own cover reveal…WHAT?

Author/Illustrator: Anne Hunter
Publisher: 
Tundra PRH, 2020
Age: 
2-5
Themes: foxes, prepositions, hide-and-seek
OpeningHave you seen Baby, Mama Fox? Why, Baby must be somewhere, Papa Fox.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Papa Fox is looking for Baby Fox, who is just out of his sight … but not ours! An adorable, interactive read-aloud for fans of Are You My Mother. In this clever introduction to prepositions, a near-sighted Papa is looking for his baby. Is Baby up in the tree? Is Baby under the log? Is Baby around the corner? Where could Baby be? Readers will delight in spotting the little fox on every page as Papa wanders the forest, encountering other animals all along the way, but never quite able to spot his own baby. Anne Hunter’s delicate and lovely illustrations with their limited palette highlight the humor of this adorable hide-and-seek tale.

I like this book because: there are so many reasons! The illustrations (which MELT my heart!) were done in ballpoint pen and colored pencil; the text is handwritten; I love foxes – like, they are my favorite animal!; my storytime gang loved it so much we had to read it again, right away! Ticks all the boxes: simple, rich, funny, readaloudability, nice size (yeah, it’s a thing for me!) AND the case, but you’ll have to pick it up to find out for yourself!

Resources/activities: we played Topfschlagen, a German party game where a blindfolded child (we used an airline mask) taps around with a wooden spoon on the floor for the over-turned pot the others have ‘hidden’, and receives the ‘gift’ underneath. We used shiny little apples that were enjoyed by all; I also brought a glass jar filled with rice and a couple of very small toys hidden inside that the kids had to shake and roll around to find.

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

🎉Now to the cover reveal for my picture book illustration debut, to be released October 6th, 2020, called LOUIS, written by Tom Lichtenheld. Only I won’t be posting it here just yet – you’ll have to come over to the Soaring 20’s High-Flying Picture Book Debut website HERE. I will post links for pre-orders under Books very soon! (Mini-reveal “Story” at Instagram – HERE!)

PPBF: The Terrible Plop

Author: Ursula Dubosarsky
Illustrator:
 Andrew Joyner
Publisher: 
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2009
Age: 
3-7
Themes: rabbits, fear, stories in rhyme
OpeningSix little rabbits down by the lake munching on carrots and chocolate cake.

Summary: (from my library catalog) When a mysterious sound sends the whole forest running away in fear, only the littlest rabbit is courageous enough to discover what really happened.

I like this book because: my storytime gang liked it as much as I did! and nothing beats when we all have fun together. It’s an energetic read-aloud, in rhyme, with plenty of humor and surprise. I like to read in a rather dramatic fashion, and this was a perfect outlet for my talents! Ha!

Resources/activities: discuss which sounds may have spooked you; would you leave chocolate cake if you were scared? (Not me!); create a puppet show based on this story – everyone can chose to be whatever animal they want, but someone must be the bear!; serve carrots and chocolate cake at the cast party!

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