PPBF: Tell Me a Mitzi

One more book celebrating women in children’s literature for the Women’s History Month in 2019!

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Author: Lore Segel
Illustrator:
Harriet Pincus
Publisher:
Dover, 2017, orig. published by FSG in 1970
Age:
4-8
Themes: siblings, families, city life
Opening: “Tell me a story,” said Martha. Once upon a time (said her mother) There was a Mitzi.

58FC025C-CC40-43EF-BCC8-56C7DF5C3101Summary: (from my library catalog) Three household adventures in the life of Mitzi include an intended trip to grandmother’s, sharing a family cold, and reversing the President’s motorcade..

6477939B-0E91-41EC-A0C9-CB2E88E24CE8I like this book because: it transported me back to my own childhood, growing up just outside of New York City! And considering the pub date, it’s likely that the best librarian in the world, Mrs. Nienburg, read it to us in school. And she would have because it’s well written and funny! I love a book that pushes you to read pout loud from the get go, makes you want to ‘act’ it out in the telling, give it an amplifier. There are not very many of those that do it so well.

C4FF408B-E49D-478E-9FBA-06912E0067E7Resources/activities: kids love to hear family stories, things they can’t remember themselves, but are fully aware that they exist! Share them! Listen! Take the time and allow kids in a group to share theirs – because, as Simone Weil once said, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

E32B942C-CEE0-4A26-9A03-22EC6A4D39DEFor more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE.

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PPBF: The Funeral

FDD2A161-1E3F-49CE-B0C0-B866419234B8Author/Illustrator: Matt James
Publisher: Groundwood Books, 2018
Age: 4+
Themes: death, funerals, family

861EA264-CC4F-4880-92CD-A69DEA37BEA6Opening“No school for Norma!” said Norma, putting on her mother’s shoe. A few days earlier, there had been a phone call. Her great-uncle Frank had died, and today was for saying goodbye.

BD54470E-82C3-4AB2-8B08-0403D7635093Summary: (from my library catalog) Although Norma does not understand all the rituals that happen when she attends a funeral with her family, she does enjoy playing with her cousin and feels the deceased would have liked the funeral.

E564F101-A965-49F2-A561-F2A80F7ADB2FWhy I like this book: it is my personal belief that we do not talk about death enough. It was a mysterious thing to me as a child, especially when I was not allowed to attend funerals as a small child. This book reminds me, in the best way, of my first experience. It was not as bad as the grown-ups made it out to be. Share it – it’s beautiful.

70601DA2-F596-43E0-A2D1-F2039EAEF55FResources/Activities: to help make death a part of life, share this book with friends and relatives, bring it to class to share; companion titles: The Scar/ Charlotte Moundlic, The Tenth Good Thing About Barney/Judith Viorst, My Father’s Arms Are a Boat/Stein Erik Lunde.

D1793EA6-2852-4E0F-A489-1A8185A8DA65For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: Meet the Parents

28064B5D-C96F-49CF-8E12-CC7DA68341DDAuthor: Peter Bently
Illustrator: Sara Ogilvie
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2014
Age: 4-8
Themes: parent-and-child, family, stories in rhyme
Opening: Sometimes you think that your mom and your dad are there just to nag you and boss you like mad.

D99449B3-0417-44FB-B7B8-24BC4E84124FSummary: (from my library catalog) Although it sometimes seems that parents are just there to boss their children around, they are also good for many other things, from mending toys, kneecaps, and clothing to telling bedtime stories.

BF19CD47-5251-40AF-8493-B67EA71F5966.jpegI like this book because: it’s a silky-smooth read aloud that will amuse the parents or caretakers as much as children. The illustrations are light and playful, yet Ogilvie has managed to pack so much emotion and tenderness into each and every face and posture!

931DF10D-F8E7-4D91-B18A-CD80F573FE18Resources/Activities: make Valentine cards of appreciation for your parents or caretakers, especially if any of the text should ring true to you!

CE5A75D5-58C3-410C-A026-854B904F0E15.jpegFor more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

 

PPBF: Still Stuck

StillStuckcoverAuthor/Illustrator: Shinsuke Yoshitake
Publisher: Abrams, 2017 (originally in Japan by Bronze Publishing, 2015)
Age: 2-6
Themes: getting dressed, families, bathtime
OpeningIt all started when Mom said it was time for a bath. She wanted to help me get ready, but I told her I could do it all by myself.

StillStuck1Summary: (from the interwebs) Getting dressed and undressed can be difficult, especially for little ones. While getting ready for a bath one evening, a little boy gets stuck in his clothes. He panics and starts to fear what life would be like if he never got unstuck. How will he play outside? How will he stop the cat from tickling his tummy? It’s good thing that Mom is around to help. But when it’s time to put on his pajamas, the boy finds himself with a whole new problem . . .

StillStuck2Why I like this book: I work in a bookstore. The library is my second home. I visit big box stores, maybe once a season – or less. But maybe I should more often. It’s where I found this book, sticking out like a sore thumb amidst the glittery, sparkly, too pink or too commercial covers (and some comfortable favorites too, but I just told you I am biased. You got that, right?). What a gem! I want you to discover it like I did though. Go!

StillStuck3.pngResources/Activities: discuss everyday difficulties and make a list of pros and cons – is the predicament good, or bad, and how can you tell? Take a bath! Ha!

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

PPBF: The One and Only Marigold

876E0AF0-14CE-4D0C-8C66-6A38A0E504BF.jpegAuthor: Florence Parry Heide
Illustrator: Jill McElmurry
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade, 2009
Age: 4-8
Themse: families, individuality, friendship
Opening: (from the title page) Marigold did not agree with her mother, or her father, or her friend Maxine. But she agreed with herself, and that was the important thing.

54BD7A24-A237-48CA-997D-CC4E4876A0A1Summary: (from my library catalog) Relates the misadventures of Marigold, a monkey, as she shops with her mother for a coat, makes a hobby of “bugging” her best friend, Maxine the hippo, and imaginatively copes with finding the right outfit for the first day of school.

FB6DD441-D8E8-424E-9CA7-6B44E0F8AEB1.jpegWhy I like this book: I chose this book today in honor and memory of a dear friend, the wonderful artist and illustrator, Jill McElmurry, whose work on The Little Blue Truck series you may be familiar with. Today would have been her 63rd birthday. If you manage to find a copy, share it with a child or read it yourself, and enjoy Jill‘s work paired with FHP‘s wonderful rich text. That‘s all for today.

2BFF14C4-8B7F-4E64-8D4C-C35CC03A8224.jpegResources/Activities: Hug someone you love today.

E7BAE5BC-14D7-4723-8648-E583B20A2D56For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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SteigFEST 12: The Toy Brother

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Publisher: Harper Collins, 1996, 1st ed.
Ages: 4 and up
Themes: humorous stories, siblings, alchemy
Opening: Magnus Bede, the famous alchemist, and his happy-go-lucky wife, Eutilda, thought they had a harmonious family. But their older son Yorick, considered little Charles a first-rate pain in the pants, always occupied with something silly.
Summary: (from my library catalog) An apprentice alchemist finds that his despised kid brother is the only one who can help him when he concocts a potion which makes him the size of a peanut.

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I like this book because: who hasn’t dreamed of altering ourselves only to realize it might not be an easy thing to live with? Or to transform one’s own siblings, or a school bully? That’s why it’s so fun to watch Charles enjoy this happening to Yorick from the safety of the sofa!

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Resources/activities: play a thinking game that Steig enjoyed with his family: What Would You Rather Be? (taken from the contribution of Maggie Steig in  THE ART OF WILLIAM STEIG. Get the book. Read it!) Ask questions like, What would you rather be, a tree or a flower and have students explain why (it lives longer; it’s prettier). And read the book: Which Would You Rather Be?, illustrated by Harry Bliss

ToyBdogspotToday’s tidbit: Steig’s older brother Irwin gave William his first painting lessons. His younger brother Arthur later founded an art-supply manufacturing firm whose products were widely used by artists and graphic designers, including William.

 

PPBF: The Plant Sitter

PlantSitter

A classic to celebrate SPRING and my 2nd Blogiversary!

Author: Gene Zion
Illustrator: Margaret Bloy Graham
Publisher: Harper & Brothers, 1959
Ages: 3 and up
Themes: plants, ingenuity, community
Opening: “I’m a plant sitter!” said Tommy. “That’s nice, dear,” said his mother. “Tell me about it later. I’m going shopping and I’ll be back soon.”

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Summary: (from my Kirkus reviews) Tommy’s remarkable skill with caring for plants virtually turns his orderly house into a jungle. Mother frowns, father is perturbed, but Tommy vehemently pursues his career of caring for the vacationing neighbors’ plants. A twist of the familiar baby-sitting situation, a dash of fantasy, and the bouquet of Margaret Graham’s illustrations blend here in one of the most beguiling books of the season.

PS-breakfastI like this book because: it’s a story that celebrates independence, ingenuity, imagination and problem solving. The writing seems simple with no-nonsense vocabulary and a low word-count, but anyone who has attempted to write a picture book knows how difficult that really is. The energy from the initial illustrations is well-preserved with simple wash effects using just three colors. A classic gem!

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Resources/activities: this would be a great book to introduce the spring curriculum and germinate plants in the classroom, or the home windowsill; In art class, the book can be used to discuss the blending of primary colors to produce secondaries; watch this is a clip from “RHYTHMS OF NATURE IN THE BARYCZ VALLEY” movie at the bottom of this post, or – HERE

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

PPBF: Too Noisy!

Author: Malachy Doyle
Illustrator: Ed Vere
Publisher: Candlewick, 2012
Ages: 3 and up
Themes: families, noise/quiet, tolerance
Opening: CRASH! JANGLE! Meet the Bungles – Whistle! Tweet! Toot!
Summary: (from my library catalogue) The Bungles sure are a large and noisy bunch! So noisy that Sam, the middle Bungle, has no room to think and is desperate to escape his booming, twooting, banging, clanging family. So off he wanders into the woods for some peace and quiet.

I like this book because: I love critters in picture books that I am not quite certain of  – are the Bungles raccoons? Could be, maybe. And how Vere used silhouettes for all the other critters, aside from the family pet and a butterfly. Doyle lyrical flair shines through – he really knows how to imbibe rhythm without the use of a formal rhyme, though the main character surprises himself with one!

Resources/activities: What a great way to start a discussion on noise in the classroom and respecting others! I imagine the class could make a poster(s) of self portraits and have the kids make speech bubbles just like the ones in the book, an include some of there likes and dislikes that may or may not have to do with classroom behavior. And if you’re really into picture book making, head over to Picture Book Den, an informative blog Doyle shares with other others. AND here is a great review on the same book with fabulous activity suggestions at This Picture Book Life – HERE

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

PPBF: All Kinds of Families and a New Course: The Lyrical Language Lab!!

INFO ON THE NEW COURSE BELOW – keep scrolling!!
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Author: Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrator: Marc Boutavant
Publisher: Little Brown, 2009
Age: 3 – 6 yrs
Themes: families, animals, stories in rhyme
Opening: Families, families, all kinds of families – Families are people and animals, too – But all sorts of other things fit into families – Look all around you and you’ll see what they do
Summary: (from Amazon) With irresistible, rollicking rhyme, beloved picture book author Mary Ann Hoberman shows readers that families, large and small, are all around us. From celery stalks to bottle caps, buttons, and rings, the objects we group together form families, just like the ones we are a part of. And, as we grow up, our families grow, too.

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I like this book because… I picked up this title out of the shelf in my library while engaging in one of my ‘hobbies’ – pulling my favorites and placing them on display! I had read a book (and reviewed it for PPBF) from this illustrator before, and with a touch of neon pink and orange on the cover, well, I was sold! Funny thing is, in writing this post I discovered he illustrates another graphic novel series I already love, but was unaware of the fact  – names, I tell ya! – called ARIOL. And I’m a goner – totally falling for this illustrator’s work! Cannot wait to see the other titles I’ve just put on hold, like his latest GHOSTS (Oops, was published in France in 2001!). Enough already about the illustration, because THE WRITING IS FANTASTIC! Yeah, super smooth swinging rhymes that do not let go! So guess what? I put a bunch of Hoberman’s titles on hold too!

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Resources/Activities: create animals or creatures or faces using letters, just like this one from the book! There are plenty more inside to jog the imagination; Make a family tree of your own.

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

AND NOW, if you haven’t already heard, I am happy to be able to tell you about Renee LaTulippe’s new course – THE LYRICAL LANGUAGE LAB and a GIVEAWAY – a scholarship for the course – on her post TODAY!

The course is designed for

–Rhyming PB writers who would like a stronger foundation in the mechanics of poetry
–Prose PB writers who would like to punch up the lyricism of their writing through poetic techniques
–Writers who would like to learn more about writing poetry for children

I happen to be one of the very lucky beta testers of the first five lessons of her course. Renee wanted at least one total newbie to give it a trial run. Someone who may have dabbled but really had no clue what they’re doing. ME! No joke, I GET it now, even what is meant by ‘don’t mess with the stress!’ Teresa Robeson wrote a much more descriptive post about her beta experience – HERE

I know, practice makes perfect. I’m an amateur not a fool, but look at some of my  homework: first, an iambic quatrain

I’d like to drink a cup of tea
in your adoring company
But if you don’t enjoy the tea
Ingest! Delight! Just bask in me!

Maybe not gonna bring the house down, but I got the beat (everybody get on your feet… No? Too 80’s for ya?)

Just one more – not quite there yet, but here is my first try at the anapest (and Wantagh is where I grew up) —

In the middle of winter in Wantagh
I caught cold from the breezy night air
Though my mother had taught me much better
I camped on a patio chair

She said, Child what on earth were you thinking
your whim could have caught you your death
for in Wantagh the devil is lurking
on the moisture that carries your breath

I did rock out an AWESOME double dachtyl, but I can’t share it yet because I’m being brave –  going to enter it in my library’s contest this month – Battle of the Bards!