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.


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.




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







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.


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:

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.