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: 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!

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. 

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!)