PPBF: Moustache

moustachecoverAuthor: Gracia Iglesias
Illustrator: Guridi
Publisher: Lata de Sal, 2015
Age: 3-7
Themes: cats, whiskers, vanity
OpeningSer gato y ser curioso son dos cosas casi inseperables.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Here’s what they had in Spanish: Ser gato y ser curioso son dos cosas casi inseparables. Moustache era un gato elegante, refinado y guapo, un gato con buenos modales y muy coqueto. Pero un día sus preciados bigotes se quemaron con tanta curiosidad. ¡Horror! ¿Qué hará Moustache? Quizás unos bigotes postizos sean la solución… O quizás la solución esté en la mano de un niño igual de curioso.”– Provided by publisher. And with the help of Google translate, I will give you summary: Being an elegant and refined cat and at the same time a curious cat can be dangerous. After Moustache gets too close to a flame and loses his prized whiskers but he does not lose heart. He sets out to replace them and finds a thoughtful friend along the way.


moustache1Why I like this book: I don’t know enough Spanish to read a picture book like this, but, lured by the marvelous artwork of Guridi, I made an effort with Google translate to learn more and was not disappointed.



Resources/Activities: learn Spanish (that note is for me!); at the very least, check out the foreign language section at your local library for books, some of which that might not even look like what you are used to; try to surmise what is going on based on the artwork; ask a member of the community to come and read a favorite book from their language/heritage to read a picture book to your class and explain the text.

moustache2For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.


PPBF: Mummy Trouble and a Giveaway!

mummyintroublecoverAuthor/Illustrator: Judy Schachner
Publisher: Penguin, 2006
Age: 4-7
Themes: cats, imagination, mummies
Opening: Skippy John Jones did his very best thinking outside the box.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Skippyjon Jones, a Siamese kitten who thinks he’s a Chihuahua, dreams of traveling to ancient Egypt with his gang of Chihuahua amigos..mummyintrouble1


Why I like this book: I love El Skippito and I loved listening to Judy Schachner describe how he came into being at our recent regional SCBWI conference in Denver. If you love the drama of speaking in various accents, you’ll love to read it aloud – even to yourself! The illustrations are bold, imaginative and wonderfully winsome!

mummyintrouble5Resources/Activities: great book to read during a unit on ancient Egypt; download suggested lesson plans and activities HERE

mummyintrouble4For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: Widget

Author: Lyn Rossiter McFarland
Illustrator: Jim McFarland
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2001
Genre: fiction
Themes: dogs, cats, tolerance, acceptance, emergencies
Age Level: 3 to 6
Grade Range:
p to 1
Opening: Widget was a little stray dog. He had no home. He had no friends.
Synopsis: A small stray dog is accepted into a household full of cats learning to “fit in,” but when his mistress is hurt, he demonstrates that being a dog is not all bad.
Why I like this book: Widget weaselled his way into my heart by doing his darndest to fit in with 6 cats. I had no choice but to fall in love!
For more posts on Perfect Picture Books and resources visit Susanna Hill’s blog every Friday

WIX: The Dream of Cats Is All About Mice

cats, dogs, Arabic, idioms, Julie Rowan-ZochI thought the English translation might snag more interest over the original Arabic: hilm il-‘utaat kullu firaan.

In the pre-modern Middle East region cats maintained a high standing, higher than dogs anyway. At times dogs were hung or buried with the corpses of rebels and dissidents as an expression of contempt. No sharing living spaces with the religiously observant either. Bad dog! This prejudice has survived and owning one is still frowned upon.

Back to cats, though not yet to those dreaming of mice: in 13th century Cairo Mamluk sultan al-Zahir Baybars kept a garden for pampering purring pets. Even into the 1830’s the British orientalist E.W. Lane observed  that people still brought baskets of tasty treats for the cats in the garden of the High Court, fulfilling  obligations of the sultan’s endowment for his feline friends.

Muslim scholars wrote odes in honor of the protectors of their precious books from critters…such as mice. There are thousands of mystical Sufi stories including cats. They were famous in Islamic art; Muslim calligraphers used brushes made of the fur of long-haired cats – some bred just for this purpose.

Cats! Cats! Cats! But what does the idiom mean, you say, as I lead you astray? Exactly what I’ve been telling you: to have a one track mind!