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.

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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.

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PPBF: Miss Twiggley’s Tree and a winner!

Congratulations ASHLEY WOLFF! You guessed right, yet there are 2 correct guesses: fox and chicken (I’m nice like that). This is YOUR prize – a copy of my favorite picture book!

MissTwiggley'sTreecoverAuthor/Illustrator: Dorothea Warren Fox
Publisher: Purple House Press, 1966
Ages: 4-7
Themes: friendship, animals, treehouses
Opening: Funny Miss Twiggley lived in a tree with a dog named Puss and a color TV. She did what she liked, and she liked what she did, but when company came Miss Twiggley hid.

MissTwiggley'sTree1Summary: (from Amazon) Why did Miss Twiggley live in a tree? Why did she send her dog, Puss, out to do the shopping? Why did she always run away and hide when people came to visit? And it was rumored that Miss Twiggley had even more peculiar habits…

Old Miss Twiggley
Was friendly with bears.
“They shed on the sofa,” she said,
“But who cares?”

And was it true, as the mayor’s wife had heard, that she actually slept in her hat? “Simply disgraceful!” they said. But when a hurricane hits the town and the water rises, everyone is grateful to Miss Twiggley and her tree. Even better, Miss Twiggley herself learns a very important lesson, with a warm and happy ending.

MissTwiggley'sTree2This is my personal favorite. Hard to believe I can chose one, but it speaks to my heart! I found Miss Twiggley late, but it was a meeting of kindred spirits (pssst – I grew up with a willow tree in our backyard). Even after the magic of reading bedtime stories had faded, I still read this one with my big kids – sure is nice that they humor me! For those of you who know me better it is transparent – I identify strongly with the main character. Please find and read this. Let me know if you share the admiration.

MissTwiggley'sTreehalfResources/activities: Read it. Read it again!; Build a treehouse (I’d like one!); look into fostering animals from your local Humane Society; make an disaster preparedness plan 

MissTwiggley'sTree4.jpgFor existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

MissTwiggley'sTreeauthor

PPBF: Max and Marla

Max&MarlaCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Alexandra Boiger
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015
Ages: 3-5
Themes: sledding, Olympics, friendship
Opening: Max and Marla are best friends.
Summary: (from Amazon) Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it’ll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories!

M&M2I like this book because: it reminds me of the sledding adventures I had as a child, how persistent we were, wet mittens and all, and how the kids in our neighborhood enjoyed playing ‘Olympics’, though gymnastics was my chosen sport because CARTWHEELS! (I always wanted to play Nadia Comaneci). I love the simple palette, an array of cool blues and spots of cinnamon. Both characters are endearing, but my heart melted with little Marla asleep on the couch, ‘helping’ with the wax – “True Olympians never give up”!

M&M4Resources/activities: learn about different Olympic sports for winter or summer (don’t forget badminton – my favorite to play!); discover the difference between sleds and sleighs, and what makes them go (and why Max uses wax on his)at wonderopolois.org – HERE; investigate: do different cultures use different kinds of sleds? (I have a German one, just like the sled in the book!). I’ve wanted one like the following since I first saw the Swedish tv series, Pippi Longstocking:

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For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

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PPBF: Pig and Pug

PigPugCoverAuthors: 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.

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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.

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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.

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For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

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PPBF: Farewell Floppy

FarewellFloppyCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Benjamin Chaud (Engl. translation: Taylor Norman)
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2015 (orig. published: Adieu Chausette, hélium/Actes Sud, 2010)
Ages: 4 and up
Themes: pets, friendship, responsibility
Opening: Floppy, that’s my rabbit. That’s his name because of his ears. They don’t stand up straight like other rabbits’. 
Summary: (from my library catalog) A boy feels that he is too old for his pet rabbit, so he tries to turn Floppy loose in the woods–but when he realizes that he really loves his pet, and returns for him, Floppy is nowhere to be found.

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Why I like this book: I picked it up because of the book’s vertical format (8 x 0.5 x 12.5 inches) and the illustrator’s work (another PPBF pick of mine HERE). But at first I was not taken with the text – WHHAAAAH? But, I read on – so something must have been working because I am a tosser (over the shoulder but with a soft landing). If I am not grabbed in the first 2 pages, 3 max, the book is airborne. The illustrations invited me to keep going. but the last line on page 2 got me:  “So I had to let him go.” Yikes! I had to follow the mc and find out how he planned to do this! When you’ve read it too let me know what you think. I fell, big time! A Kirkus review did not, and as with all books, it keeps me wondering about personal tastes and how we form opinions – too deep a topic for this recommendation though. Do give it a go!

FF5Resources/activities: discuss pet care and the connected responsibilities, and choosing the right pet; learn about lop-eared rabbits; contact your local Humane Society to arrange a visit; tell the story with puppets.FF4

For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

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PPBF – Cybils Awards Finalist: The Girl and the Bicycle

 

Girl1This 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: Mark Pett
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2014
Ages: 5-8yrs (feel it can easily be read with a younger child)
Themes: moneymaking projects, friendship, bicycles
Opening: wordless – girl walking past city shops notices a bicycle for sale in the window
Summary: (from my library catalog) A wordless picture book in which a girl sees a bicycle she wants to buy, works hard for a kindly neighbor to earn themoney for it, then gets a pleasant surprise.

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I like this book because: of its beautifully drawn and easy-to-read pictures, with plenty of negative space to help set the pace. A lovely message about the benefits of hard work, sharing and friendship.

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Resources/activities: classroom activities for learning about cost/benefit using this book

For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

SteigFEST 10: Amos & Boris

SteigFEST

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1992, c1971.
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: mice, whales, friendship
Opening: Amos, a mouse, lived by the ocean. He loved the ocean. He loved the smell of sea air. He loved to hear the surf sounds- the bursting breakers, the backwashes with rolling pebbles.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Befriended by a whale as he is drowning in the ocean, a mouse gets a chance to reciprocate years later in an equally unlikely situation.

A&B1

I like this book because: like many of Steig’s characters, Amos has some pretty deep thoughts about beauty and life and what may become of his soul after death. I like that in a mouse. Also because he named his boat the Rodent, and among all the useful things he packed a yo-yo, and that says a lot.

A&B2

Resources/activities: Common Core activity Pitner’s Potporri HERE ; draw another adventure for Amos and Boris; felt amn elephant or male a boat at moomah.com

A&B3

Today’s tidbit: more gorgeous homemade Amos and Boris characters at moomah.com – HERE

I’m a guest blogger on Laura Sassi Tales today – HERE

PPBF: Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau

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Author: Andrea Beaty
Illustrator: David Roberts
Publisher: Abrams, 2014
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: hats, birthdays, hatmakers
Opening: In a three story house with a shop down below lived the world’s finest hatmaker, Madame Chapeau.
Summary: (from my library catalog) When a crow flies off with her birthday bonnet as she walks to dinner, Madame Chapeau chases the thief through the streets of Paris while admirers offer her replacement hats, but none seem quite right until someone offers a special gift.

HBMCopeningpage

I like this book because: this has to be one of the perfectest perfect picks ever! The rhyme is so delicious, you have to read it again and again – aloud! The story is adorable, and the pictures – OH! I want to spend my next vacation IN this book!!! The illustrator includes an interesting note in the front, about his own influences and work as a milliner. The look of main character is based on the fashion editor, Isabella Blow. Get the book and read more for yourself!

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Resources/activities: make paper hats – instructions HERE; learn to knit -tutorial HERE; make a chocolate gateau, like the one below – click on the image for the recipe post.

Perfect Picture Book Friday has plenty of selections listed on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: Bad Apple’s Perfect Day and a GIVEAWAY!

BAPDCover

BONUS! Interview with the author/illustrator below!

Author/Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014
Ages: 3-5yrs
Themes: apples, worms, friendship
Opening: The sun was rising. The crickets were chirping. And Mac and Will were getting ready for the perfect day.
Summary: (from the publisher) Mac the apple and Will the worm set out for a perfect day at the watering hole, and although little goes as they plan, friendship, imagination,and a sense of fun make everything turn out fine.

BAPDendpapers

I like this book because: these two charming buds are back with a sequel (Check out my recommendation HERE). I am crazy for the end papers in this one (above), and for the color palette – simply sumptuous! The story promotes all my favorite things: creativity, imagination, story-telling and looking on the bright side of a rainy day. Living in Colorado I actually miss rain (yep!) but this year has been the moistest in the 16yrs I’ve been here. Still, there is nothing like a slate colored sky against green leaves – and apples if you’re lucky!

BAPD4

Resources/activities: read together with Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship; go apple picking at an orchard nearby (for help finding one, click HERE); have your own Perfect Day Picnic; watch the book trailer below

Edward was kind enough to answer a few questions too:

JRZ: I’m going to skip the proverbial ‘what comes first for you as an author-illustrator’ question (unless you’d really like to answer that!), but would you share a bit of how Bad Apple came to be?

EH: I tend to come up with simple ideas/ titles first, and with Bad Apple it was no different. I was trying to convince my friend Brian Floca to come out to an orchard with me and my friend Sara Varon. I told him, “It could be inspirational. You could write a book about the tractors on the orchard, Sara could write a book about the goats, and I could write a book about a…bad apple.” It just came to me like that, and then I said to myself, hey, that’s not a bad idea. Then I started to think about what a “bad apple” could be. I decided it didn’t have to be bad, just misunderstood, and the story flowed from there.

JRZ: Do you use critique partners for your manuscript drafts, illustrations or initial ideas?

EH: Yes. It’s important to have artists and readers in your life with a critical eye, who aren’t afraid to give you honest, constructive criticism. I also like to put work away and come back to it after a week or so and approach it fresh.

JRZ: As you like to paint in oils, how difficult is it if there is an editorial change?

EH: By the time I am working on painted finishes, there is often little room for editorial change, as my sketched finishes are always very detailed. But I have been known to bring a brush to the offices and touch up pages at the request of and in front of my art director…

JRZ: Would you share one piece of advice you have received on your journey that stands out?

EH: ALWAYS be working on your NEXT project. Thanks Maira Kalman for giving me that advice!

JRZ: Is there something else that you do, a hobby perhaps, that you feel influences your writing or illustrating?

EH: I love reading and going to films, what better way is there to hone one’s own storywriting skills than by appreciating others?

*Read an extensive interview with the author/illustrator on Seven Impossible Things – HERE

AND we’ve got THREE copies of Bad Apple’s Perfect Day(courtesy of G.P. Putnam’s Sons)  for a GIVEAWAY! Please comment below with your full name – by 12pmMST on Sept.18th – to enter. I’ll have a random couch potato teen – with earbuds – pick 3 names from a hat (rest assured, full attention will NOT be paid to the picking!) and reveal the winners next Friday, Sept.19th.

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Perfect Picture Book Friday is BACK! There are still plenty of selections on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: The Birds (and my 400th post!)

Birds7

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 blog for 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.