PPBF: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Author/Illustrator: Charles Mackesy
Publisher: 
Harper One/Harper Collins, 2019
Age: 
all
Themes: animals, conduct of life, fables
Opening“I’m so small,” said the mole. “Yes,” said the boy. “But you make a huge difference.”

Summary: (from my library catalog – which they took from the publisher!) Charlie Mackesy offers inspiration and hope in uncertain times in this beautiful book based on his famous quartet of characters. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse explores their unlikely friendship and the poignant, universal lessons they learn together. Radiant with Mackesy’s warmth and gentle wit, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse blends hand-written narrative with dozens of drawings, including some of his best-loved illustrations (including “Help,” which has been shared over one million times) and new, never-before-seen material. A modern classic in the vein of The Tao of Pooh, The Alchemist, and The Giving Tree, this charmingly designed keepsake will be treasured for generations to come.

I like this book because: every little thing, every page is a treat! Each little ‘chapter’ will keep every reader thinking for days and days. I recommend it to anyone and everyone – a perfect gift for anyone you love, and especially for those that need to be loved (hint: all of us!) And I haven’t even mentioned the art! Ha! Superb! Go read it! Treasure it, and pass it on!

Resources/activities: create a play with stuffed animals or even home-made puppets or masks; take a walk in nature and sit down once in a while and read a ‘chapter’, think about that chapter until you find another resting spot and repeat with the other ‘chapters’; talk about each ‘chapter’ and what it means to listeners.; read more about the author/illustrator HERE

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

PPBF: Mice Twice

Author/Illustrator: Joseph Low
Publisher: Margaret K McElderry (Atheneum), 1980
Age: 
3-8
Themes: animals, etiquette, humorous stories
Opening: Cat was thinking about supper. He thought, “I could eat forty-seven grasshoppers. or I could eat 69 crickets. Or I could eat a fine, fat sparrow. But what I think I’d really like is a nice, tender mouse.

Summary: A round of uneasy hospitality results when Mouse and Dog arrive at Cat’s house for dinner.

I like this book because: first off, I’m not alone – this title is a 1981 Caldecott Honor book. I love the loose, energetic rendering and use of a simple yet bright palette, dominated by pinks and yellows. That’s what attracted me to this book I found at Brattle Bookshop in Boston this spring, but it’s the round robin tale of trickery and wit and the drama of it all that delighted me so very much! Hope you can find a copy.

Resources/activities: learn more about Low, his obituary here; look for other titles on the Caldecott list from 1981; perform this story as a play.

There is a summer break for new entries, but for more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE.

Around the corner from Brattle Bookshop, the Make Way for Ducklings sculptures in Boston Commons (dressed as RBGs!)

PPBF: Harold Snipperpot’s Best Disaster Ever

29E7344E-406B-4FDC-B643-40D76A24DE5AAuthor/Illustrator: Beatrice Alemagna
Publisher: Harper, 2019
Age: 4-8
Themes: birthdays, parties, animals
Opening: Some days feel like complete disasters. You feel turned upside down, and it seems impossible anything good can happen.

307EA56D-8553-4693-989B-D0EDFEDCCDCESummary: (from my library’s catalog) Lonely seven-year-old Harold Phillip Snipperpot is excited when his parents, not known for their affection, throw him a birthday party attended exclusively by animals, but things take a turn when his guests start destroying the house, forcing Harold to try and save his party from calamity with surprising results.

3307DA77-1AE4-4CFC-AA4A-282642D8369AI like this book because: I love the underlying theme: sometimes unimaginable disaster can spark positive change. Adults are far more frightened of change or the unknown than children are, and I love how this book bursts through to prove it! Oh, and by the way, the illustrations are exquisite.

0C816DEE-7765-4083-8D87-30F499BE2EEEResources/Activities: Watch this interview with Beatrice Alemagna; discuss experiences where one may have thought the worst had happen while going through it, yet some outcome or change might have had positive aspects – like missing a bus and therefore an important appointment, but bumping into an old friend because you missed the bus!; visit the zoo for a ‘safe’ encounter with animals spotted in this book; think about what kind of animals you would like to invite to your own birthday!

3A0B7762-EB15-4FA4-8552-D997C39760E3For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE

PPBF: Shake the Tree!

64DD3A62-9B73-4C6F-9D71-AA4C1515594FAuthors/Illustrator: Chiara Vignocchi, Paolo Chiarinotti, and Silvia Borando
Publisher: Candlewick, 2018; Orig. by minibombo, Italy, 2015; Engl. translation, Walker Books 2018
Age: 2-7
Themes: trees, animals, nuts
Opening: Mouse spots a nut. “Mmm,” she says. “I’m going to gobble that up!”

148CEFB8-89CE-4B15-829D-D472DBE8D702Summary: (from my library’s catalog) After shaking a tree to retrieve a tasty looking nut, mouse is suprised when something else falls out of the tree.

EDFB46B3-B75C-4B77-9A6C-3D4A560536B4I like this book because: I took a crazy chance and read it to my storytime gang without having read the whole book ahead of time. Why? I don’t know. You’d think I would have learned my lesson from a couple of derailing blunders! But I am so happy I did! There is a special level of excitement and energy to be had when you discover a good book together. The story is as simple as the illustrations, and so easy for each child to grasp: those not yet completing full sentences and those reading the words along with me. I won’t spoil the fun with too many images or any more details. Please find this and share it with a child you love!

DF6152C4-087B-42F5-B801-9A59D89E2BCCResources/Activities: play Topfschlagen, a game I learned at parties when we lived in Germany, where a blindfolded player must tap with a wooden spoon to find an upside-down pot with a reward (a nut!). The other children can help out by giving hot/cold clues for direction. I only asked the youngest to close their eyes, and of course they did not, but we had such fun anyway!

953AB8C1-3545-4E5E-B1CE-AD30028B4CF1For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: Babies Can Sleep Anywhere & A Winner!

55E3F43F-C5DF-42DD-944D-4DD440FFE8F1.jpegIn honor of Women’s History Month I am focussing on outstanding female authors and/or illustrators. AND in celebration of my 6th BLOGIVERSARY, I will reveal the winner of the GIVEAWAY from last week at the bottom of this post! The winner will receive a picturebook of their choice according to my guidelines.

B6558127-3D0C-4FE5-AE18-17AC45878000

43BB20A8-523C-400B-A87D-0C40C9B40797Author: Lisa Wheeler
Illustrator: Carolina Búzio
Publisher: Abrams, 2017
Age: 0-3
Themes: babies, sleep, animals
Opening: (image below)

91CA5B67-32B1-44E4-A23F-E7E8F67B474C.jpegSummary: (from Amazon) This gentle picture book introduces the sleeping habits of many animals—from puppies to whales—and compares them to the sometimes-unusual habits of human babies. In backpacks, on knees, in cradles or trees, sweet babies can sleep anywhere!

2476F70C-0985-4A93-88C2-DF8D3AEC7437I like this book because: I totally fell for the sweet simplicity of the text and renderings! My toddler-age storytime group delights in bright images that are easy to read visually, something they can connect to on a thematic level, solid and smooth read-alouds – especially in rhyme – and cute baby animals are like frosting on the cake!

4D49BD5C-D155-49F3-A12A-9AA640BD38EF.jpegResources/Activities: where do your readers like to sleep if not in their beds? Share stories of falling asleep in funny places, like a laundry basket!

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

The winner of the BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY is… JILANNE HOFFMANN! Please let me know which book you would like in the comments, and according to the following guidelines: the book has to be written by a woman, and illustrated by a woman (yes, it can be a female author/illustrator!). Congrats, Jilanne!

PPBF: The Rabbit Listened

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Book on display at Old Firehouse Books

In honor of Women’s History Month I will be focussing on outstanding books by female authors and illustrators. I reached out to the author/illustrator of today’s Perfect Picture Book pick, Cori Doerrfeld, and asked for the names of a few women she admires making their mark in children’s literature. Click to head to their websites! 

Jane Yolen

Kelly Barnhill

Raina Telgemeier

Thi Bui

Yasmeen Ismail

Jessica Gibson

B6558127-3D0C-4FE5-AE18-17AC45878000

Today’s pick is especially perfect: The Rabbit Listened

Author/Illustrator: Cori Doerrfeld
Publisher: Dial, 2018
Age: 3-6
Themes: listening, loss, rabbits

RabbitListenedendpapersOpeningOne day, Taylor decided to build something. Something new. Something special.

RabbitListened1Summary: (from my library catalog) When Taylor’s block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling.

RabbitListened2Why I like this book: The story is so simple, yet so powerful!! It’s an important lesson to learn for adults and children about what it means to truly listen when a friend is in need. I recently read an article by Swedish children’s book author Ingrid Olsson who wrote about comfort possibly being more important than love as a message in children’s books, and that books themselves can be a great comfort to readers. That certainly rang true for me, and this book is a whole heart example.

RabbitListened3Resources/Activities: learn about meditation and/or breathing exercises; talk about what listening really means; practice listening with role play, ex.: pretend to be Rapunzel, and have another person practice listening to what she would like to say.

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

 

PPBF: In the Forest

35ABB5D8-D436-4C64-8994-B2D90CF240ACAuthor/Illustrator: Marie Hall Ets
Publisher: originally by The Viking Press, 1944
Age: 2-5
Themes: linear stories, animals, imagination

89A7D0D1-A51C-4406-9211-41A590CF69E5Opening: I had a new horn and a paper hat and I went for a walk in the forest.

F01C3191-CAF8-4E6F-990D-2460B692AACF.jpegSummary: (from my library catalog) The animals join a young boy as he walks through the forest blowing his new horn.

8C4D3BA5-EA81-4438-BD15-7AAE90E93088Why I like this book: I love old gems, and especially ones that are so still absolutely perfect for reading to toddlers. It really is not that easy to find titles that can bridge the gap in ages (0-4) of the attendees to my storytime sessions in the bookstore where I work. I might be able to make a book work, but when I don’t have to subtract or embellish, beyond my own dramatic interpretation (!), well, that’s a sign of picture book genius! And I am not the only one who noticed, it is a Caldecott Honor Book too!

51C66848-FE71-406A-89E4-602F1993DC96.jpegResources/Activities: stage an “In the Forest” parade; play the games mentioned in the book: London Bridge is Falling Down, Drop-the-Handkerchief, and Hide-and-Seek; have a picnic, just like the book!

20F0F066-C443-4BAD-B7F7-7607488FE27F.jpegFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: Polo and the Dragon

Sorry I didn’t have this post ready bright and early, but I took the opportunity to help a friend today knowing you’d all be patient!

The winner of a signed copy of BAGEL IN LOVE is Gabi Snyder! I’ll be trying to contact you, Gabi, but if you see this first, send me your postal address via email (on my About Me page).

23AF420D-C4F2-406B-9010-723EA43DC087Author/Illustrator: Régis Faller
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2003
Age: 3-6
Themes: weather, animals, friendship.

446F90E2-C3C0-4F89-95F5-B6B619D4AAFDOpening: see photo below

0440F6AF-1542-4186-81F2-A391C7D2385E.jpegSummary: (from my library catalog) In this wordless picture book, Polo the dog becomes trapped in the ice and snow while out sailing one day, but a friendly dragon helps him escape..

33994AD9-B436-4E3F-BBC5-8B544E734E6D.jpegWhy I like this book: It’s so cute! I like the sweet simplicity of the renderings, the color palette, and format. It’s a little huggable, and I’d like more people to know about this series. Just last month my friend and critique partner, Ann Kelley introduced me to this Polo book on her blog HERE. Unfortunately I could not get hold of a different title, so I am posting about the same one, but here’s a LINK to find more in the series.

44EEF860-2DD8-479B-B92E-1A48532A648A.jpegResources/Activities: Imagine you’re stuck with the same problem as Polo: what would you do to solve it? Go to the author’s page for coloring sheets: HERE. Also, be sure to check out Ann’s suggestions HERE.

7CEE285B-BC85-4872-8E28-B18AABA05D1C.jpegFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

 

PPBF: Where‘s Halmoni?

F699B63E-8F64-4356-991E-EE17E568AE95.jpegAuthor/Illustrator: Julie Kim
Publisher: Little Bigfoot, 2017
Age: 4-8
Themes: siblings, animals, Korean folktale characters

 

1246E859-B42A-429D-8F06-B616576C1FBAOpening: Halmoni! We are here!

AA8E112C-15AE-4A24-BD76-02E467FCF831Summary: (from my library catalog) Searching for their missing grandmother, two Korean children follow tracks into a fantastic world filled with beings from folklore who speak in Korean. Includes translations and information about the folkloric characters.

427DF8C0-0530-4F49-8E2B-73C36C30BC13Why I like this book: It’s bright, culture- and adventure-packed! This is exactly the kind of book I would have poured over as a kid, looking for the unfamiliar and trying to make sense of it, be it language, gesture, or physical elements. There is a bit of mystery on every beautifully rendered and composed page!

56467CB1-98CE-44BA-B298-E2A8D419A8BE.jpegResources/Activities: read other Korean folktale picture books – HERE is a list; what folktale animals do you already know – how do they compare to those in this book; make a Korean meal, like the red bean soup (porridge) the kids smell when they walk into Halmoni’s home.

C273904C-F395-49F5-90E2-D14ED23E2154.jpegFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: Book! Book! Book!

Book!coverAuthor: Deborah Bruss
Illustrator: Tiphanie Beeke
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine, 2001
Age: 1-4
Themes: domestic animals, libraries, books
Opening: (see image below)

Book!1.jpgSummary: (from my library catalog) When the children go back to school, the animals on the farm are bored, so they go into the library in town trying to find something to do.

Book!2Why I like this book: My friend and ‘professional’ babysitter, Mila, recommended this to me years ago. Still packs a solid punch. I was recently lamenting about a beautiful new book with a very flat story and wonder why so many books get published that just don’t make the cut when read aloud, as I am sure EVRY writer, or wanna-be writer does. This is visually engaging AND it has perfect pacing and a solid story with a very funny ending – do look for it!!

Book!3.jpgResources/Activities: discuss what a librarian does; take a field-trip to the library, arrange (ahead) for the children’s librarian to give your child(ren) a ‘tour’; take home a new-to-you book! book! book!

Book!4.jpgFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.