This selection is one of seven finalists for fiction picture books, and I am a participating judge for round 2. Which means I have to read them. Tough work, huh? For information on the Cybils Awards, click HERE
Author/Illustrator: Chris Haughton Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2014 Ages: 3-7yrs (according to Amazon, but I think the younger in the range would enjoy it more) Themes: trapping, birds, compassion, observation Opening:Look! a bird Summary: (from Amazon) Four friends creep through the woods, and what do they spot? An exquisite bird high in a tree! “Hello birdie,” waves one. “Shh! We have a plan,” hush the others. They stealthily make their advance, nets in the air. Ready one, ready two, ready three, and go! But as one comically foiled plan follows another, it soon becomes clear that their quiet, observant companion, hand outstretched, has a far better idea.
I like this book because: it is both humorous and deep. On reading it again I realized an extra layer, that beyond there being more ways to accomplish a task, there are more ways to interact with your environment. The illustrations, as you see, are bold and bright, which stand in glorious juxtaposition to the quiet message midst the humor and excitement. The illustrations have much more to surprise you with than I am willing to spoil by sharing! Check it out!
Resources/activities: great companion read when discussing problem-solving, opposing viewpoints or respect for nature; use in the art room when discussing use of warm and cold colors; make torn-paper pictures using complimentary colors.
For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE
Author/Illustrator:Antoinette Portis Publisher: Neal Porter/roaring Brook Press, 2014 Ages: 4-8yrs Themes: birds, birdsong, individuality Opening:All year long, the dogs went ‘Woof’. The cats went ‘Meow’. And the birds in the neighborhood went ‘Caw’, ‘Coo’, ‘Chip’, ‘Peep’,… Summary: (from my library catalog) In a normal neighborhood, on a typical day, the birds chirp, the dogs bark and the cats meow. When Little Brown Bird decides she doesn’t want to sing the same old song, out comes a new tune that shakes up the neighborhood and changes things forever in this funny, innovative book that kids will love to read outloud.
I like this book because: I like birds. Just askDebbie, orTeresa. And I really admire crows, like Whitney. And I even asked my library to purchase it before it was released! But they forgot to notify me when it came in. If I didn’t love ’em so much, well…! I love it’s beautiful graphic composition, and the spunky little sparrow/main character who entices her friends into creative disobedience! And my favorite new bird call? ‘Itsy boggen!’ Read it to see why!
Resources/activities: this book would be great in the art room, because kids should learn how to use simple shape changes to differentiate between animals of the same class. AND the story promotes creativity – booyah!; I’d even go as far as college with this, for logo development! Find a list of Portis’ awesome books – HERE; watch this full PBS documentary online: A Murder of Crows.
Perfect Picture Book Friday has lots of selections listed on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.
Author/Illustrator: James and Ruth McCrea (one of 4 books the couple collaborated on) Publisher: McClelland and Stewart, 1966 Ages: 3-7yrs Themes: humorous stories, birds, friendship Opening:Once there were two friends who were very fond of sailing. Every day, right after lunch, they went for a sail in their little boat. Summary: (from my library catalog) Mr. Woolsey and Mr. Tootle, two bird friends find their lovely umbrella missing from their boat. It is returned the next day, and gone again the following day. An investigation brings the two birds a new friend and the boat a new resident.
I like this book because: I saw an image from the book posted by Rowboat Watson on Antoinette Portis’ fb page (she posts a bird a day), and had to find out more about it. The artwork is striking in mustard yellow, magenta and black and white line-work. Simple, quirky, beautiful. The story is simple but told with just the right amount of silly humor for my taste – the fact that they use a flower pot for bailing says it all!
Resources/activities: Make paper cutouts of the characters and the elements needed to tell the story again – live action style: a boat, an umbrella, a flower pot, a tin box for cookies (or real cookies – yum!).
PPBF is taking a break until September, but you can still head over to Susanna’s blogfor a wonderful list of titles with resources. She keeps the back door unlocked!
The book was reissued by Houghton Mifflin with illustrations by Swiss cartoonist Jürg Furrer in 1977.