PPBF: Bea & Mr. Jones

Author/Illustrator: Amy Schwartz
Publisher: Harcourt, 1982
Themes: parent-child relationships, school, work

Opening:  “I’ve had it with Kindergarten!” Bea Jones said to her father as he was sitting down to breakfast. “I’ve had it with bean bag games! I’ve had it with clothespin games! I’ve had it with sitting on that dumb green rug and playing that dumb colored lollipop game! I’m ready for a change.”

Summary: (from my library catalog) Tired of kindergarten, Bea Jones trades “jobs” with her father, who works in an office.

I like this book because: At first glance, I somehow thought I might not like this one. The perspective on the cover gave me the heebie-jeebies! But I opened it and the simple but effective endpapers hooked me in – thank goodness. There are so many wonderful details like hidden artwork (kitchen calendar, bosses office) in the pencil illustrations, so many fun pattern clashes (see the image directly below!) I spent a lot of time looking for more on each page! It’s basically a Freaky Friday story (published 10yrs earlier) with a cuter ending! Try to find it – worth the effort!

Resources/activities: draw boxes or shapes of black and white patterns directly next to each other; have a chat with a parent or guardian about what it would be like to switch places; dress each other up as if you would!

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

I’m also over at Beth Anderson’s blog today talking about how my forthcoming character-driven fictional picture book became “informational fiction” – with BACK MATTER!

PPBF: 13 Stories About Harris

Author/Illustrator: Amy Schwartz
Publisher: Holiday House, 2020
Themes: best friends, friendship, neighborhoods

Opening:  See image above

Summary: (from my library catalog) Thirteen vignettes reveal the everyday life of Harris, who makes butter with his mother, attends the birthday party of his best friend, Ayana.

I like this book because: It’s so everyday! It celebrates the normal things a child experiences with such gentle humor that the whole book just melts your heart in the sweetest way (also because I am sorely missing my neighbors that moved a few months ago!). I hope others read it – it’s a huggable!

Resources/activities: this book put me in the mood for chalk drawing, but I recently found out that colored chalk is really bad for our water system and has bad effects for aquatic organisms. So while I will be searching for eco-friendly alternatives, I might gather sticks and stones and create a scene on the sidewalk instead and invite your kid(s) to do the same! Check out the work of Andy Goldsworthy for inspiration:

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