PPBF: Louis and Valentine cards

Author/Illustrator: Julie Rowan-Zoch (ME!)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020
Age: 
3-7
Themes: teddy bears, frustration, friendship,

“Undies” Case
endpapers

Summary: (from my library catalog) Tired of the “dangerous adventures” with his human boy, a teddy bear decides to run away but reconsiders when bedtime arrives.

photo from a dear friend (great lighting!)

Why the shameless self promotion: yes, it might be a bit much BUT I wanted to maximize the sharing of the ♥️ Valentine cards to print and color which Tom and I created in time for World Read Aloud Day (2.3.21). That’s it! ♥️ Go to HMH and click on the links to the right under “Available Resources”.

Resources/activities: print out and color 🎁 LOUiS’ Valentine cards and share; make a 🧸teddy with a small towel (see below); have a ☕️🫖 tea party with 🧁cupcakes and invite your friends and stuffed-ones; 🔖tag your most beloved stuffies with contact info; print out LOUiS activity sheets at HMH (click on the links on the right under “Available Resources”.)

lots of how-to videos on youtube

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

AND while I’m at it, here’s another nice review my upcoming book!

PPBF: Raising Dragons

Author: Jerdine Nolen
Illustrator:
 Elise Primavera
Publisher: Harcourt, 1998
Age: 
4-8
Themes: dragons, farm life, friendship
Opening: Pa didn’t know a thing about raising dragons. He raised corn and peas and barley and whet. He raised sheep and cows and pigs and chickens. He raised just about everything we needed for life on our farm, but he didn’t know a thing about raising dragons.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A farmer’s young daughter shares numerous adventures with the dragon that she raises from infancy.

I like this book because: of the way Nolen tells a story. She has the reader believing everything without an ounce of doubt, and identifying with the main character and her firm confidence in her own abilities. Pure magic and an absolute joy to read aloud! Once upon a time I was a parent of young children, and I was reluctant to read long stories to my kids at the end of the day. I realize now I cheated myself from discovering some of the best writing. Don’t miss out. Don’t be a Lazy Julie!

Resources/activities: research all the creatures that are oviparous; compare the shape, color and sizes of eggs; talk about what to do if you should find one in the wild; read more books by Jerdine Nolen!

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

PPBF: 13 Stories About Harris

Author/Illustrator: Amy Schwartz
Publisher: Holiday House, 2020
Age: 
3-7
Themes: best friends, friendship, neighborhoods

Opening:  See image above

Summary: (from my library catalog) Thirteen vignettes reveal the everyday life of Harris, who makes butter with his mother, attends the birthday party of his best friend, Ayana.

I like this book because: It’s so everyday! It celebrates the normal things a child experiences with such gentle humor that the whole book just melts your heart in the sweetest way (also because I am sorely missing my neighbors that moved a few months ago!). I hope others read it – it’s a huggable!

Resources/activities: this book put me in the mood for chalk drawing, but I recently found out that colored chalk is really bad for our water system and has bad effects for aquatic organisms. So while I will be searching for eco-friendly alternatives, I might gather sticks and stones and create a scene on the sidewalk instead and invite your kid(s) to do the same! Check out the work of Andy Goldsworthy for inspiration:

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

PPBF: Look Up!

Author/Illustrator: Jung Jin-Ho, translated by My Hyun Kim
Publisher: Holiday House, 2016
Age: 4-8
Themes: kindness, friendship, perception

Summary: (from my library’s catalog) .

I like this book because: of it’s simplicity! The choice of rendering in black and white allows the eye to focus so much more on the details of a unique perspective and place the reader/viewer not only in the mind but also in the body of the protagonist, a child in a wheelchair. And it’s a sweet story of how easy it can be to make a new friend too!

Resources/Activities: look at things from different heights: a stoop, a tree, the top of the stairs, or take a visit to your local parking garage, or another building that is multiple stories high, to get a sense of what it is like to look down on a scene. Now look up instead!

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

PPBF: Super Manny Cleans Up!

EC9BDDF8-4ECB-4D25-A366-5356CBF6A0CFAuthor: Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrator:
Stephanie Graegin
Publisher:
Atheneum, 2018
Age: 4
-8
Themes: environment, friendship, apathy
Opening: Every weekend, Manny and Gertie put on their capes and saved the planet from danger.

A309CACC-2D14-4FCB-B643-14150E603FFDSummary: (from my library catalog) Manny and his friend Gertie join forces to clean up their local park–because every superhero needs a planet worth saving.

BA37D3A7-7694-4ABF-84E6-CA9FB060AD79I like this book because: it has such an important and urgent message for kids, that they too can be engaged and do something important or even just something they are passionate about, despite being ‘just’ a kid. The illustrations are warm and endearing, and are unique in the ability to distinguish between the real and imaginary world without skipping a beat.

F3AB9615-A300-4550-AE79-036D31F7DB4AResources/activities: Start a clean-up/trash pick-up action in your community, even just around the house or school; discuss responsibility towards others, the environment and what issues bother you right now. What can you do about them?

725649DD-A12A-415B-8650-7FCEDF27204BFor more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE.

6FF33247-C34F-4C15-83A5-13BE5445CD2B

PPBF: Beyond the Fence

AD8F2CE1-E5A7-44CC-B708-D7321C65E257Author/Illustrator: Maria Gulemetova
Publisher: Kane Miller, 2018
Age: Child’s Play Int’l., 3-8
Themes: pigs, friendship, freedom
Opening: Thomas talked a lot. And Piggy had to listen.

C89384BB-173F-4F4D-8CB1-F261D7F2C879Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Piggy and Thomas live in a large house. Thomas knows exactly what Piggy needs until a chance meeting with a wild pig changes everything: Piggy finds out what lies beyond the fence.

2CC3231D-5DFE-48EB-A345-C73647D171F6I like this book because: there are so many picturebooks about the importance and joy of friendship, but this book takes us beyond. What happens when friendship disappoints, saddens, and hurts us. It touched my heart profoundly, and I wanted to share it as close to valentine‘s day as possible, because not all relationships deserve to be celebrated.

A5CE1D35-A664-4F97-A743-00C4DACF5510Resources/Activities: discuss what is important in a friendship and what is not, do friendships take work and why? What makes a good friend? Look around and let your friends know you care and appreciate them.

D3996A8B-1214-47B0-8D21-1FECEB96C20BFor more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE

CD30ADEB-DB4B-4745-9F00-421924A00B46

PPBF: The Town of Turtle

46fcc74a-cd65-4974-9c28-338c50a7f71eAuthor: Michelle Cuevas
Illustrator: 
Catia Chien
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018
Age:
3-7
Themes: loneliness, home, community
Opening: Turtle lived in a part of the world as empty as a bird’s nest in December.

be92df2b-9ca3-41d9-884a-d0d609bed18fSummary: (from my library catalog) Lonely Turtle’s only friend is his shadow until he decides to build a deck, then a garden, then houses and other buildings until, while he naps, new friends arrive.

8378fcd6-ba06-4892-a7e0-b311cd788871I like this book because: when I think of the things that compel me to pick up a book usually one element suffices (Easy to please? Not really). This one offered three on the cover alone: the intriguing title, the name of an illustrator I already admire, and the cover design and rendering itself. And I was not disappointed by anything I found inside. A beautifully, poetically, and perfectly told story (that opening line!), artwork that makes me wish Catia Chien could render my dreams, and the whole of it is what makes this so stellar. And believe it or not, I have not even included the most mesmerizing spreads!

be647131-c9cb-463a-92ce-e469f193cf91Resources/Activities: design your own dream home including anything you want; discuss the importance of community and friendships in your neighborhood; think about neighbors who you have not yet met, who might need some help, or a new friend; have a neighborhood tea party!

05766cab-e1a6-4972-ad0e-44fdd759a664For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: Baabwaa and Wooliam

613D8E24-C27E-4BA4-B08B-20809849FD25Author: David Elliott
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Publisher: Candlewick, 2018
Age: 4-8
Themes: sheep, wolves, reading, knitting

593745FA-8F00-4D57-8EAA-DB9DCDB0EB72Opening: This is Wooliam. He is a sheep. You will note that Wooliam is reading. There are not many sheep who read. But Wooliam is one of them.

92119E42-52B6-47F4-B93C-70532F2BF02DSummary: (from the publisher): Baabwaa is a sheep who loves to knit. Wooliam is a sheep who loves to read. It sounds a bit boring, but they like it. Then, quite unexpectedly, a third sheep shows up. A funny-looking sheep who wears a tattered wool coat and has long, dreadfully decaying teeth. Wooliam, being well-read, recognizes their new acquaintance: the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing! The wolf is so flattered to discover his literary reputation precedes him that he stops trying to eat Baabwaa and Wooliam. And a discovery by the sheep turns the encounter into an unexpected friendship.

8936AC7D-D8DE-45FC-9161-63D2A61E358AI like this book because:The whimsical watercolor-collages are cheerful and satisfying, as I always note them to be in Melissa Sweet’s books, but this time I am especially enjoying the character designs. I want to camp out with these three! But the storytelling! Ahh! It’s the sort I might call cheeky if I new exactly how the British apply the word. In any case it takes me back to stories I’ve read to my children just before they started reading early chapter books on their own, where they had more patience and could soak up all the goodness of a well-layered sense of humor. Have I sold you yet?

8E1409D8-30B4-4EB3-8A4F-246D98B9FFBFResources/Activities: read a book, learn to knit a scarf (check out THIS video), then head out on an adventure – birdsong included. Pack a lunch to take along, unless you like eating grass; make a map of where you’ve been, like the one on page 8; read multiple wolf-themed books so you too can recognize one when you see it! Make a sheep craft, like the one below – more info HERE.

lamb-and-sheet-crafts-400x300

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

PPBF: The Five of Us

2210EB5B-FCD5-4352-9F60-EEF6375CF4E7Author/Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Publisher: Tate Publishing, 2014
Age: 4-8
Themes: abilities, friendship, road trip
Opening: Once, not very long ago, and not very far from here, there were fve friends. There names were Angie, Ollie, Simona, Mario and Eric. They were all fantastic.

65D4A18E-66C0-4D2B-A3B6-1B20BD28BCEESummary: (from the author’s website) THE FIVE OF US is a captivating tale of adventure, friendship and teamwork: Angie, Ollie, Simona, Mario and Eric are five fantastic friends, each of whom has an unusual ability. Disaster strikes on a day out to the countryside but, working together and combining their individual powers, the Fantastic Five save the day. Teeming with Quentin Blake’s characteristic sense of fun and his exuberant illustrations, THE FIVE OF US is also a powerful, though subtle, reminder that the world is a better place when we focus on what we can do, rather than on what we can’t.

5B00E4BC-FC82-4E38-AD6C-DFC459A799C4I like this book because: I was actually on the hunt for counting books when I came upon this Blake title I had not yet read (I believe I have read most of his authored books…but happy to find out I haven’t!). The story is so simple yet powerful, and as usual the drawings lively and loose – just the way I like ’em! But read this for the heart. It reminds us how much  we can accomplish with our own special quirks if we put them to good use!

7FF57797-7183-4556-9E54-C6F2FC4EB9F8Resources/Activities: For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

78A3F62D-3D7B-42C6-832E-A217D8DCF592

PPBF: Polo and the Dragon

Sorry I didn’t have this post ready bright and early, but I took the opportunity to help a friend today knowing you’d all be patient!

The winner of a signed copy of BAGEL IN LOVE is Gabi Snyder! I’ll be trying to contact you, Gabi, but if you see this first, send me your postal address via email (on my About Me page).

23AF420D-C4F2-406B-9010-723EA43DC087Author/Illustrator: Régis Faller
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2003
Age: 3-6
Themes: weather, animals, friendship.

446F90E2-C3C0-4F89-95F5-B6B619D4AAFDOpening: see photo below

0440F6AF-1542-4186-81F2-A391C7D2385E.jpegSummary: (from my library catalog) In this wordless picture book, Polo the dog becomes trapped in the ice and snow while out sailing one day, but a friendly dragon helps him escape..

33994AD9-B436-4E3F-BBC5-8B544E734E6D.jpegWhy I like this book: It’s so cute! I like the sweet simplicity of the renderings, the color palette, and format. It’s a little huggable, and I’d like more people to know about this series. Just last month my friend and critique partner, Ann Kelley introduced me to this Polo book on her blog HERE. Unfortunately I could not get hold of a different title, so I am posting about the same one, but here’s a LINK to find more in the series.

44EEF860-2DD8-479B-B92E-1A48532A648A.jpegResources/Activities: Imagine you’re stuck with the same problem as Polo: what would you do to solve it? Go to the author’s page for coloring sheets: HERE. Also, be sure to check out Ann’s suggestions HERE.

7CEE285B-BC85-4872-8E28-B18AABA05D1C.jpegFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.