PPBF: No Roses for Harry!

Author: Gene Zion
 Margaret Bloy Graham
Publisher: Harper & Row, 1958
Themes: dogs, gifts, sweaters
Opening: See images below

Summary: (from Amazon) Harry is the not-too-happy recipient of a handmade sweater, and what makes matters worse is that it’s a sweater with a pattern of roses. Harry does everything he can think of to get rid of that sweater. But when it seems like he’ll never lose the sweater, an unexpected visitor helps him solve his problem…

I like this book because: everyone loves Harry the Dog, but this particular edition from the series is printed on a luminescent yellow paper! (If anyone out there has a first edition or at least a much older copy, please let me know if it also used this paper.) It transforms the reading experience in an unexpected way which fascinates me! The limited color palette in the illustrations is common because of the old printing process at the time it was published, but this yellow paper amplifies the beauty of that simplicity, I cant stop looking, and these photos do not do it justice! That’s it! Please, if you’ve seen this, share your thoughts with me!

Resources/activities: draw with colored pencils or crayons on different colored papers and and compare how it affects the colors you’ve drawn with, or use collage to compare colors; read An Eye for Color, by Natasha Wing and Julia Breckenreid, and Squares & other shapes with Josef Albers (video link).

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

PPBF: The Plant Sitter


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.”


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!


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


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