Author: Peter Bently Illustrator: Mei Matsuoka Publisher: Andersen Press, 2009 Age: 0+ (according to publisher!) Themes: dogs, behavior, humorous stories Opening: The day had arrived for the Dog’s Summer Ball. All the dogs in the world were lined up at the hall, where a sign on the door said, Now please be so kind as to keep your coat on but remove your behind. Please hang up your bottom on one of the pegs and remember, no growling or cocking of legs.
Summary: (from my library catalog) The day has arrived for the Dogs’ Summer Ball. It’s so high class that each dog must remove their bottom before they are allowed inside the hall. But in the middle of all the frivolity something unexpected happens and the dogs have to make a hasty exit…with or without the correct bottom!
Why I like this book: It’s HILARIOUS! I have recently mentioned this book so many times it was evident I needed to feature it! The illustrations feature dogs in outfits and accessories that bring on the giggles all by themselves, but this story is just such a hoot, you MUST look for it at your library/bookstore!
Resources/Activities: Think how you might come up with a ‘legend’ for how some strange behavior came to be for other animals.
For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.
PPBF on Susanna Hill’s blog is taking a nap – a long summer slumber – but I can’t help myself – gotta share books I think are ‘pickcha poifect’! (I’m allowed to tawk like that – originally from LonGisland, NY).
Author: Margaret Mahy Illustrator: Selina Young Publisher: Viking/Penguin Group, 1998 Ages: 2-6 Themes: dogs, summer, stories in rhyme Opening: We take the dogs down the wiggly track,/The wiggly track, the wiggly track./One dog’s whoite and the other dog’s black/ On a summery Saturday morning. Summary: (from my library catalog) Nothing seems to go as planned on their Saturday morning, but the children enjoy themselves.
I like this book because: it’s a rollicking read-aloud with a funny storyline with cheerful watercolors that play up the fun. I really appreciate Margaret Mahy’s playful way with words.
Resources/activities: watch this New Zealand TV trailer for a Margaret Mahy documentary, even if we can’t get out hands on the film here in the US – it’s still fun!; take a walk on a summery morning and describe what you encounter – maybe in a rhyme?!
For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE
Authors: Laura Marchesani and Zenaides A. Medina Jr. Illustrator: Jarvis Publisher: Penguin Young Readers, 2015 Ages: level 2 progressing reader Themes: farm animals, friendhip, commonalities Opening:Pig lives on a farm. There are four cows. There are ten chickens. There are six sheep. But there is just one pig. Summary: (from my library catalog) Pig lives on a farm where he is the only animal without a friend until a new creature arrives, Pug, who is not a pig but has a curly tail, snorts, plays in the mud, and just might be a good friend for Pig.
I like this book because: despite my choice being a leveled reader, it’s narrative is fun to read aloud and the takeaway is endearing. The illustrations are delightful, simple (okay, a little more depth of color/contrast might be too much to expect in a leveled reader, but I’d suggest it for the series), and full of emotion.
Resources/activities: Compare animal traits; What do we feel would make a good friend and why?; Do we have friends with which we share a lot in common? How important is that? Draw the characters in the book – they are perfect for emulating.
For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE
Author/Illustrator: Jon Agee Publisher: Dial, 2015 Ages: 4 and up Themes: stories in rhyme, dogs, humorous stories Opening: The Wimbledons were sleeping. It was very, very late, when Wilma heard a spooky sound, which made her sit up straight. Summary: (from my library catalog) Very strange noises that keep awakening the Wimbledon family one night have an even stranger source.
Why I like this book: It’s JON AGEE. Yep, I am a total fan, and I was not disappointed with his latest! Check out my guest post on why he inspires me on Marcie Colleen’s series: Friendspiration Fridays – HERE
Resources/activities: learn about the intelligence of dogs – HERE; and their emotions – HERE; and some fun facts about dogs, (like a dog’s hearing is four times better than yours!) – HERE
Author: John Ciardi Illustrator: Jane Miller Publisher: J. B. Lippincott, 1960 Ages: 3-8yrs Themes: stories in rhyme, watchdogs, farmers Opening: This is the story of Scrappy the Pup, Who slept so hard he just couldn’t wake up. Summary: (from my library catalog) Here is a Poem about Scrappy the pup who was supposed to be a watchdog. What Scrappy really liked to do was eat and sleep, and once he was asleep nothing could arouse him-not thunder, rain, guns, nor anything else – until his owner, a farmer, broke Scrappy’s dinner plate.
I like this book because: the rhyme is sublime! I am a late bloomer when it comes to poetry, but I know a good ‘un when I read it! I saw the author mentioned in an interview with illustrator Moira Swiatkowski on Joanna Marple’s blog HERE.I put a bunch of his books on hold and am totally in love! As I told a friend, I feel like I’m being pushed on a swing while reading this. No need to take my word, read the three consecutive pages posted here. I enjoyed the simplistic and loose illustration style, and feel it works well with the rhythm of the story.
Resources/activities: read more of John Ciardi’s collections for children; read Renée LaTulippe’s Ciardi post with Lee Bennet Hopkins at No Water River HERE; write a poem!
For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE
…and character development. By sketching, doodling, drawing every day (thanks to SkADaMo challenges with Linda Silvestri and Alison Kipnis Hertz’s Doodle Day fb group) I have become aware that a lot of my creative process does not take place in my head, but though visual communication with my hand. Sound crazy to anyone? The shape of one curve often interests me enough to change the way I’m drawing a character from the visual I had in my head. Often ‘accidents’ happen that are more appealing than what I was attempting. I thought I’d share an example – how I came upon an alpaca while trying to draw a dog!
So here was one attempt at a dog, utilizing black so that I could concentrate more on the shape and how it was working for me. It wasn’t. Do I want this dog to have more anthropomorphic qualities? Should he be able to stand on two legs? Hold on to it, but create a new file.
Fun lines, but this did NOT look like a dog to me! Nope! Next…
Now I have really taken a departure form the canine world! but now I see something quite different, a different species altogether…’follow your nose, Julie’…another file!
Now I see, it’s an alpaca! But so stiff! I’ll play, and add color too…
No dog created, but I found this delightful creature! So I allow myself to write a crappy story draft, and draw crappy sketches – a workable piece could be in the next file!
Publisher: MacGraw-Hill, 1978, 1st ed. Ages: 5-8 Themes: humorous stories, dogs, true love Opening: Tiffky Doofky, the garbage collector, went his rounds in a jolly mood. It was first-rate weather. He planned to wind up work in time to get to the Annual Picnic of the Oil and Vinegar Club over in Moose Hollow. Summary: (from my library catalog) Tiffky Doofky, a kindly garbage collector, spends his day waiting for a fortune teller’s prophesy to come true.
I like this book because: it’s silly, slightly ridiculous, and even though it breaks some rules of storytelling, it still works for me. The pictures add so much humor and warmth – just look at Tiffky’s outfit! Oh, and I do have a weakness for fortune-telling!
Resources/activities: make an origami fortune-telling device – like these beauties HERE; read companion books: Fortune Cookie, by Albert Bitterman/Chris Raschka, and Amelia Tells All, by Marissa Moss
Today’s tidbit: “Steig would later admit to being a bad student more interested in recreational activities such as touch football than ever cracking a book. He excelled in at least one of those recreational endeavors – he was a member of the All-American water polo team during his time at City College.” Read the complete post covering many aspects of Steig’s life from The Comics Reporter – HERE
Author/Illustrator: Chris Haughton (interview) Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2012 Age Level: 2 and up Themes: dogs, temptation, humor
Opening: Harry is going out. “Will you be good, George?” asks Harry.
“Yes,” says George. “I’ll be very good.” Summary: (from Candlewick) Bold, hilarious artwork captures the innocent charm of affable George, a dog who is trying to be good – with disastrous results. Why I like this book: Bright, charming and irresistible! A lot of reviewers refer to the ‘retro’ illustrations, but I can’t agree: I find them fresh and exhilarating! One of the few PBs I’ve had to read over and over – in quick succession! So simple, yet so brilliant! All dog owners will take to this story, but also people like me, who sometimes just cannot resist indulging even when I know better. I just polished off a bowl of chips with onion dip. Every time I feel crummy afterwards, but every time I can’t seem to help myself! I hope George is not plagued by these feelings of guilt too! Resources/Activities: the making of – story behind the book; bake this raspberry and strawberry cake, inspired by Oh No, George!
Click HERE to check out other Perfect Picture Book picks, today and everyday, on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog
Author: Harriet Ziefert Illustrator:Barroux (click for HZ’s post on visiting Barroux) Publisher: Blue Apple, 2012 Themes: dogs, animal rescue Age Level: 4 and up Opening: Here is Lucy at the pound, where we found her. She needed to be rescued. Her time was almost up. Summary: (from the publisher) When Lucy is adopted from the local animal shelter, her new family thinks that they have chosen a perfect pet. And she is, right up to the minute she starts to howl, and howl, and howl some more. Treats, tricks, a soft red bed, lullabies, and even doggy therapy cannot stop her “Wah-ooo-ooo-roo!” It is the little girl who figures out that Lucy needs a comfy friend (her own stuffed animal) and Lucy who figures out that she needs as many as she can get her paws on. And then, all is well.
Why I like this book: I’ll admit, the cover grabbed me! And the end papers. And the seemingly simple yet heartwarming story. But the illustrator was able to show how an anxious puppy’s howling can fill a room. I have never owned a dog, but I live close to the local university. New college kids move in next door almost every year, getting a puppy and leaving it home a lot (sad to have to add this) so I know what puppy howling ‘looks’ like, and how heartbreaking it feels to hear it. Barroux must know this too! Resources/Activities: Volunteering at your local Humane Society isn’t something kids can easily do on their own, but here are some ways kids can help; offer to watch a neighbor’s puppy when they go out!
Welcome to Design of the Picture Book! I'm Carter Higgins, and I'm a writer and librarian for kids. I spent a spectacular stint as the Children's Book Editor at <a href="http://www.designmom.com/">Design Mom</a> which I loved! You can find my column <a href="http://www.designmom.com/category/childrens-lit/">here</a>.<br /> I'm a K-6 librarian, a former-ish graphic designer, an SCBWI member, and a huge fan of words and pictures.<br /> Represented by <a href="http://www.rpcontent.com/">Rubin Pfeffer of Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC</a>.