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:

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.


PPBF: 1 Big Salad

bigsaladcoverAuthor/Illustrator: Juana Medina
Publisher: Viking, 2016
Age: 2-6
Themes: vegetables, salad, creativity
Opening: One Avocado Deer.
Summary: (from the publisher) Count from 1 avocado deer to 2 radish mice and all the way up to 10 clementine kitties, which all add up to one big, delicious salad!

bigsalad2Why I like this book: It’s as clean and fresh as a real one! The layout and design are crisp and inviting. The concept delicious! My kids may love a good salad now, but we started off counting how many ‘leaves’ one had to eat. The creativity in this book may have some reluctant eaters asking to make their own!

bigsalad3Resources/Activities: make your OWN salad! Dressing recipe included in the book.

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

PPBF: One Little Two Little Three Little Children

onelittlecoverAuthor: Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrator: Mary Lundquist
Publisher: Balzer & Bray, 2016
Age: 2-6
Themes: children, families, rhyming stories
Opening: One little, two little, three little children.
Summary: (from my library catalog) A rhyming celebration of the diversity and universality of children and their families.onelittleaWhy I like this book: The more I read to toddlers, the more I love solid rhythmic rhyming stories that embrace concepts without becoming pedagogic. This hits the mark in the best way, enhanced by beautiful soft illustrations where everyone can find a character with which to identify.onelittle3Resources/Activities: discuss what kinds of families there are and what matters, what makes a family a family.onelittle2For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.


PPBF: The Battle Of the Vegetables

battleofthevegetablescoverAuthor: Matthieu Sylvander
Illustrator: Perceval Barrier
Publisher: Clarion, 2016 (orig.: 3 contes cruels, l’écoles des loisirs, 2013)
Age: 5-8
Themes: gardens, vegetables, humorous stories
Opening: In the vegetable garden, the leeks generally lead a calm, monotonous – maybe even boring – life.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Three interconnected tales reveal the dangers, both from within and without, of life in a vegetable garden as leeks meet one of Santa’s reindeer, carrots plot an escape, and an unlikely romance leads to an inevitable conclusion.

BattleoftheVegetables2.jpgWhy I like this book: The humor in the text and illustrations is well cultivated for the early elementary set – and the kid in every gardener. Dig in!

BattleoftheVegetables3.jpgResources/Activities: come up with alternate titles for the stories; write sequels; what other characters would you like to see grow? Plant seeds – the season is nigh!


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


PPBF: You Belong Here

youbelongherecoverAuthor: M.H.Clark
Illustrator: Isabelle Arsenault
Publisher: Compendium, 2016
Age: 2-5
Themes: animals, poetry, stories in rhyme
Opening: The stars belong in the deep night sky and the moon belongs there too, and the winds belong in each place they blow by and I belong here with you.
Summary: (from the publisher) This classic bedtime story journeys around the world, observing plants and animals everywhere, and reminding children that they are right where they belong. Perfect for new babies, adoptive families, or for sharing with loved ones of any age. .

youbelonghere1Why I like this book: Lyrical rhyme that flows over the pages, softly, gently and so smoothly you feel like you’re floating along with the poem! Arsenault manages to keep her signature red discreetly yet powerfully. Ahhh…

YouBelongHere2.jpgResources/Activities: discuss other animals, plants or things that belong together and why.youbelonghereFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.


PPBF: Henry Wants More

henrywantsmorecoverAuthor: Linda Ashman
Illustrator: Brooke Boynton-Hughes
Publisher: Random House, 2016
Age: 2-5
Themes: toddlers, families, stories in rhyme
OpeningPapa’s lifting Henry high above his head. Henry’s face is joyful. Pap’s face is red.
Summary: (from my library catalog)Whether spending time with Papa, singing songs with Grandma, playing games with Lucy, or racing with Charlie, toddler Henry wears his family out until bedtime, when Mama is the one who wants more.

henrywantsmore2Why I like this book: Such a fun read aloud that every child can connect with – and will soon shout “more!” too! Brooke’s soft and adorable illustration style allows MORE to pop!

henrywantsmore3Resources/Activities: what favorite activities do you like to yell “more” for?

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

Almost Halloweensie

Boo hoo! This is NOT an acceptable entry  for Susanna Hill’s Halloweensie Contest (over by 4 words), but I thought I’d post my adaptation of a Storytime action-rhyme for teachers, parents, librarians – or another bookseller! – who might enjoy boo-hooing with toddlers too!

To read all the entries, click HERE


PPBF: Leave Me Alone

LeaveMeAloneCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Vera Brosgol
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2016
Age: 4-7
Themes: grandmothers, knitting, family
Summary: (from the publisher) An epic tale about one grandmother, a giant sack of yarn, and her ultimate quest to finish her knitting.

LeaveMeAlone1.pngWhy I like this book: An editor at Roaring Brook showed me this one back in February, and I have been sooo good at waiting sooo long to share it with you! I love finding picture books with an adult as the main protagonist, and I have totally fallen for this snarky Grandmother! Actually, I fell for the cover straight away! AND it’s a great read-aloud! The superb color palette and beautifully rendered compositions are icing on the cake!

LeaveMeAlone2Resources/Activities: learn how to knit at Imagination Soup: HERE

LeaveMeAlone3For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.


PPBF: Ada’s Ideas – Book Birthday

1AdasIdeasCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Fiona Robinson

Publisher: Abrahms, 2016
Age: 6-9
Themes: Ada Lovelace, women mathematicians, computer algorithms
Summary: (from the publisher)Ada Lovelace (1815–1852) was the daughter of Lord Byron, a poet, and Anna Isabella Milbanke, a mathematician. Her parents separated when she was young, and her mother insisted on a logic-focused education, rejecting Byron’s “mad” love of poetry. But Ada remained fascinated with her father and considered mathematics “poetical science.” Via her friendship with inventor Charles Babbage, she became involved in “programming” his Analytical Engine, a precursor to the computer, thus becoming the world’s first computer programmer. This picture book biography of Ada Lovelace is a compelling portrait of a woman who saw the potential for numbers to make art.

2AdasIdeasExOpening: Once there was a girl named Ada who dreamed of making a steam-powered flying horse.

3AdasIdeasWhy I like this book: It’s inspiring to young girls AND beautiful!! I had the great joy of sharing this the day it arrived with my FAC buds, and to see my creative computer geek friends gush over it! Knowing how much effort was put into this from Fiona herself makes it all the more special to me. Bravo, Fiona!

4AdasIdeasResources/Activities: great read for a discussion on applied math, inventors, or female role models; try your hand at paper-cutting – intructables instructions for beginners HERE; check out SCRATCH: computer programming for kids HERE

5AdasIdeasFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.



PPBF: Animals should definitely not wear clothing

AnimalsShouldDefinitelyNotcoverAuthor: Judi Barrett
Illustrator: Ron Barrett
Publisher: 2002, Weekly Reader (Originally published by Aladdin, S&S, 1970)
Age: 2-5
Themes: animals, clothing, concept book
OpeningAnimals should definitely not wear clothing….
Summary: (from my library catalog) Pictures of animals wearing clothes show why this would be a ridiculous custom for them to adopt. (I doubt this was the original pitch!)

AnimalsShouldDefinitelyNot1.jpgWhy I like this book: Simply silly! The concept is clear and easy for young and old to find hilarious. The illustrations have just the right amount of dry humor in them, and I love the design – even the cover is unconventional yet straightforward. A classic that has stood the test of time!

AnimalsShouldDefinitelyNot2Resources/Activities: what else can we think of that animals should better leave to humans? Why? What if we reversed the thought? Should humans chew grass? Grow fur?

AnimalsShouldDefinitelyNot3For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.