PPBF: Isabella’s Garden and a WINNER


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Author: Glenda Milllard
Rebecca Cool
Candlewick Press, 2009 (First US edition 2012)

  • Age: 3-7
  • Themes: gardening

Opening: This is the soil, all dark and deep, in Isabella’s garden. These are the seeds that sleep in the soil, all dark and deep, in Isabella’s garden.
Summary: (Provided by publisher) “In Isabella’s garden, amazing things come from the tiniest of seeds as they bloom and flourish and make way for a whole new season of growth.”


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Why I Like This Book: It’s bright, cheery illustrations have a fair-tale quality to them, enough to pick this off the shelf, but I was really attracted to the lyrical word play tip-toes on the tongue! Read this aloud: “But despite what the mantis begged of the moon, winter comes swiftly and silent and soon.” Note how the softness of the alliteration holds your hurry back and gently releases the words from your lips. Ahhhh!

Look at this fantastic resource/activity: coloring sheets from the artist! Or create a garden image collage from magazines or fabric scraps. What ever you do – read this ALOUD! I have been trying my hand at simulating another piece of book illustration recently, with a simple app on my tablet. I attempted a quick sketch from one of the pages in this book – sooo much harder than I though, but a lot of fun, especially with the colors.


And now for the WINNER of my FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY:

Each name was scribbled in graphite, with great care, on precisely folded and torn paper (I didn’t go to art school for nothing!), yet no trees came to harm as I selected prime quality used hold slips from my very own stash! And now . . . *enough with the drumroll, Erik, I can hear it all the way over here!*

A signed copy of Mr. Tiger Goes Wild goes to…


Thanks to all 40 participants! That was fun! I may just have to do it again – soon!

For more Perfect Picture Book Picks and teacher/parent resources, go to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – HERE 

PPBF: The Gigantic Turnip

Celebrating with themes of food, family, and friends this month:

Author: Aleksei Tolstoy
Illustrator: Niamh Sharkey
Publisher: Barefoot Books, 1998
Age Level: 3-7 yrs
Themes: folklore, Russia, gardening, animals, teamwork
Opening: Long ago, an old man and an old woman lived together in a crooked old cottage with a large, overgrown garden.
Summary: (from the publisher) A hilarious retelling of the famous Russian folktale of the turnip that grows and grows and grows.. Simple vocabulary, lots of repetition, and quirky illustrations add to its overall appeal.
Why I like this book: First of all. the opening line is what I think kids will be saying about my house in the future! It’s already 112 years old and the loosening bricks may give a crooked look to the place soon enough! But many of you may know this story already since so many versions have been published. Here is my favorite spread because I love silhouettes  –

Resources/Activities: plant turnips (and more veg/flowers) in the spring; create a lesson about root vegetables, which are not as commonly used anymore (pity!) – and make soup; check out Barefoot Turtle blog for a wonderful ‘chain’ craft idea; reenact the story as a play; read a Spanish/English version too.