PPBF: The Mediterranean

79225BCA-E2F4-4E87-918F-85444F57B380Author/Illustrator: Armin Greder
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, 2017, originally publ. in Italy
Age: 8+
Themes: refugees, shipwrecks, Mediterranean region
Opening: After he had finished drowning, his body sank slowly to the bottom, where the fish were waiting.

BE720432-243B-4E89-94B9-B68D37B4226ESummary: (from my library’s catalog) A lifeless body. One of many in the waters of the Mediterranean. Precarious boats navigate the waters of the sea, from south to north. And more often than not, it is not only hope that drowns. The author and illustrator uses his distinctive charcoal drawings to depict a dark world with a global dimension. The only words in the story are a single sentence indicating what is happening to the body in the water in the first picture. From there on the reader needs to examine the pictures to draw conclusions about how that body came to be in the sea. An afterword by Alessandro Leogrande, an Italian journalist who writes about social, political and environmental issues, fills in thebackground about the ‘food chain’ portrayed in this disturbing picture book which demands discussion.

F540E815-8E99-4787-A5C5-2786C5340836I like this book because: It is so powerful! Migration has always been an important issue, but especially now in it’s forced impact, and of our time on earth, and, I believe, one we will have to deal with on a myriad of levels and layers all over the world at least for the rest of my lifetime. And a wordless picture book may be the perfect vehicle for discussion. The execution makes the very best use of strong yet simple composition and contrast, limited palette, and loose rendering to deliver equally on an emotional and thought-provoking level. Pow!

6EEC960E-95FF-44A9-9726-4F170A97F644Resources/Activities: Make this a weekly discussion, where new ideas and thoughts may be brought up to ponder over and over.

3D934AD2-FE41-4445-A713-393EEA208A68For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: Dark Night

DarkNightcoverAuthor/Illustrator: Dorothée De Monfreid
Publisher: Random House, 2009
Age: 3-7
Opening: It was a dark night.
Summary: (via Amazon) Little Felix is all alone, walking home through the forest when he hears a spooky howling and spots a wolf approaching! His luck turns from bad to worse when a tiger scares away the wolf and a crocodile scares away the tiger! Can something as small as a rabbit help Felix scare away the wild things prowling the woods? This empowering picture book is perfect for any child who’s ever wanted to turn the tables on scary beasts lurking at night.

DarkNight1Themes: dark, fear, courage

DarkNight2I like this book because: Nothing like jumping right into a dark forest in the middle of the night to get a story started! I am a big fan of picture books with simple use of color and silhouette to keep the reader focussed on the bare essentials of a good story (if you haven’t already noticed!).

DarkNight3aResources: read other books about confronting fear of the dark, like The Dark, Handler and Klassen (see trailer below), or It Was a Dark and Stormy Night, by Janet and Allan Ahlberg – review here; check out more of Dorothée De Monfreid’s delightful work here and here.

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

DarkNight3

PPBF: Double Take!

D8988505-AE17-46BC-95EA-1D99DE13B388Author: Susan Hood
Illustrator: Jay Fleck
Publisher: Candlewick, 2017
Age: 2-5
Themes: opposites, elephants, friendship

CC4FED82-2BE4-4E1E-9294-F7D6150454E9Summary: (from my library catalog) Lively text and retro-style artwork combine in a lively picture book about opposites that invites children to learn new perspectives on spreads depicting a topsy-turvy funhouse journey.

I like this book because: it’s just right for the kids in my storytime group, ages 6mths-3. The rhyme will keep the attention of younger ears and the older children can help me find and compare the opposites in and out of the book. You might think this a simple reason, but it really is difficult to find one just right for everyone without being too ‘easy’. And it’s quite adorable!

FAFB8DD2-A22A-4B06-822F-0DB503BFF814.jpegResources/Activities: Look for opposites in your home, in your classroom, or while you stroll outside; this book is also excellent for identifying clear shapes – read a shape book along with this and finsd all the circles and squares on each page.

75F2A816-165A-41F7-83B3-ED763DC34FB8For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

Merry Christmas, one and all!

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PPBF: King of the Sky

KingOfTheSkycoverAuthor: Nicola Davies
Illustrator: Laura Carlin
Publisher:  Candlewick, 2017
Age: 4-8
Themes: immigrants, moving house, racing pigeons

KingOfTheSkyendpapersSummary: (from my library catalog) When a young boy moves from his home in Italy to Wales, the only thing that cheers him up are the racing pigeons that Mr. Evans keeps in a loft behind his house.

KingOfTheSky1Resources/Activities: find an atlas and plot out the journey for King of the Sky; research racing pigeons; read other migration oriented stories like, Migrant by Maxine Trottier.

KingOfTheSky3.jpgFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

 

PPBF: 2 Cinderella Tales

RoughfacedGirlcover.pngAuthor: Rafe Martin
Illustrator: David Shannon
Publisher: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, 1992
Age: 5-9
Themes: Algonquin Indians, Cinderella
Opening: Once, long ago, there was a village by the shores of Lake Ontario.

roughfacedgirl1.jpgSummary: (from my library catalog) In this Algonquin Indian version of the Cinderella story, the Rough-Face Girl and her two beautiful but heartless sisters compete for the affections of the Invisible Being.

RoughfacedGirl2.jpgWhy I like this book: After reading a collection of tales illustrated by Edmund Dulac, and being interested in the Cinderella illustration (see below), I sought out other versions, and wanted to share two of the most stunning I found.

Yeh-Shencover.jpgAuthor: Ai-Ling Louie
Illustrator: Ed Young
Publisher:  Philomel, 1982
Age: 5-9
Themes: Chinese tales, Cinderella, Stepchildren
Opening: Once, long ago, there was a village by the shores of Lake Ontario.

Yeh-Shen1.jpgSummary: (from my library catalog) This version of the Cinderella story, in which a young girl overcomes the wickedness of her stepsister and stepmother to become the bride of a prince, is based on ancient Chinese manuscripts written 1000 years before the earliest European version.

Yeh-Shen2.jpgResources/Activities: Find more versions, of this tale and others. Compare and contrast what you like, or don’t like, about each one.

P1210740

from Edmund Dulac’s picture-book for the French Red Cross

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

PPBF: The Shrinking of Treehorn

5FC2B3A0-D4A0-4B3F-B4DF-A0B396C626FC.jpegAuthor: Florence Parry Heide
Illustrator: Edward Gorey
Publisher: Holiday House, 1971
Age: 5+
Themes: families, magic, humorous stories
Opening: (see image below)

E0C4BEB8-3167-487D-8A1F-2AF666526E12Summary: (from my library catalog) A boy discovers he is shrinking but does not know the cause or cure.

593084B9-2D04-47F8-8456-834130934186.jpegWhy I like this book: The subtle wit and insight into the lives of only children and parents in the text AND illustration is sublime. I had recently watched a 12×12 webinar with Sergio Ruzzier where he talked about a couple of books he illustrated written by Florence Parry Heide, so as per my usual modus operandi I put a stack of her books on hold through my library. I remember reading this before, but what a pity that I did not have my own copy! I am already a Gordy fan, but 3 FPH books later, I am a fan of hers too (and happy to take any further recommendations!).

348840B8-9313-405F-9A23-FBE5DBF1C7FCResources/Activities: for older children, discuss all the patterns used to create the illustrations in the book and how they influence the story; for younger kids: talk about all the ways we notice growth in our lives.

35937D84-715B-4FCF-9AA6-AAF87E393532.jpegFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: A Squash and a Squeeze

SquashandaSqueezeCoverAuthor: Julia Donaldson
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine, 2017; first published by Methuen Books, 1993
Age: 3-6
Themes: dwellings, domestic animals, stories in rhyme, humorous stories
Opening: A little old lady lived all by herself with a table and chairs and a jug on the shelf.

SquashandaSqueezeTitlepageSummary: With the help of an old man and all of her animals, an old lady realizes that her house is not as small as she thought it was.

SquashandaSqueeze1Why I like this book: This rollicking rhyme spins an old Jewish folk tale said to be from Poland, is always fun, but made so much sweeter by the master of rhyme herself, Julia Donaldson. Scheffler is able to add so much emotion to the cozy illustrations (the goat’s face while pig raids the cupboard is priceless!), that you might want to move in with all the characters too!

SquashandaSqueezebackResources/Activities: Read about the illustrator HERE;  attempt read every single one of the author’s and illustrator’s collaborations – you won’t be sorry! Read a few more Jewish folktales, like Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, by Simms Tabak, or Such a Noise!, by Aliana Brodmann and Hans Poppel.

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

Crow-nological

a-crow-bat

acrowbat

Yikes! Already half the day has slipped away (at least I got rid of the forest of red orach because it finally rained and I could pull the roots up!) BUT no picture book ready to recommend for PPBF. So I thought I would just share some of the almost 100 crow-related pun-doodles I have been creating daily. If you’d like to see more of them, follow me on instagram: @jrzoch

Glazed crow-nut

glazed crownut

Miracle-CrowOld Crow-knees

Crowsplay

crowsplay

#AKR:crow

Mi-crow-burst

microwburst

Crow-head

PPBF: WE1: Duck, Death and the Tulip

IMG_0832This month my picks for Perfect Picture Book Friday will feature Wolf Erlbruch, illustrator and picture book author, and 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award laureate. (some more HERE). He will be presented with the award on May 29th in Stockholm.

DuckDeathTulipCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Wolf Erlbruch, ; translator: Catherine Chidgey
Publisher: Lerner, 2011; originally published in German as Ente, Tod und Tulpe by Verlag Antje Kunstmann; This translation first published in New Zealand and Australia in 2008 by Gecko Press.
Age: 4-6
Themes: death, ducks, tulips
Opening: For a while now, Duck had had a feeling. “Who are you? What are you up to, creeping along behind me?” “Good,” said Death, “you finally noticed me. I am Death.”
Summary: (from my library’s catalog) In a strangely heart-warming story, a duck strikes up an unlikely friendship with Death.

DuckDeathTulip1

DuckDeathTulip2Why I like this book: I like this book in particular for the gentle way in which the author approaches the subject, with very little explaining, lots of quiet moments, just enough humor and the strong emotions conveyed in the posturing of the characters. It amazes me how sparse and how rich a book can be at once.

DuckDeathTulip3Resources/Activities: read then discuss the book with your child(ren), but do not lead the conversation, just watch as it floats.

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

PPBF: Don’t Cross the Line

dontcrossthelinecoverAuthor: Isabel Minhós Martins
Illustrator: Bernardo P. Carvalho
Publisher: Gecko Press, 2016
Age: 4-8
Themes: dictators, soldiers, resistance
Opening: The story truly begins on the end papers (see further below) but especially on the following title page:

dontcrossthelinetitle
Summary: (from my library catalog) This slapstick postmodern tale is also a profound statement about dictatorship and peaceful revolution, from an award-winning author/illustrator team.

dontcrosstheline2Why I like this book: My friends here could say they could spot this ‘Julie pick’ a mile off, I’m sure! The strong, clean compositions, the loose, playful, colorful rendering style. This title reminds me strongly of one of my favorite classics, Drummer Hoff, from Ed Emberley (whose exhibit KAHBAHBLOOOM at the Worcester Art Museum goes through April 7, 2017)

DontCrosstheLine3.jpgResources/Activities: I find this is a perfect book to share consider the times we find ourselves in: kids WANT to discuss these topics – let them lead how far, and how deep they would like to go with it. We all belong to groups. Everyone is political.

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

dontcrossthelineback