Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Barbara Cooney
Publisher: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1954
Themes: trees, growth, christmas story
Opening: A little fir tree stood by the edge of a forest, a little way off from the great green trees.
Summary: (from my library catalog) A lonely little fir tree, standing by itself at the edge of the forest, has its life transformed when a father takes it home to serve as a living Christmas tree for his bedridden son.
Why I like this book: I like this version of Margaret Wise Brown’s book out of sentimentality: my beloved school librarian, Mrs. Nurnberg, read this one to us in elementary school.
Resources/Activities: take a walk in the forest and identify trees by their species and their age; discuss illnesses and what an illness might prevent one from doing; share your favorite Christmas songs.
For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.
Author: Dashka Slater
Illustrator: Catia Chien
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, 2008
Themes: sea serpents, friendship, growth
Opening: On Tuesday, as I was about to climb into the bath, a sea serpent dropped out of the faucet and into the tub.
Summary: (from my library catalog) One day a small sea serpent falls from the faucet into the tub as a child is about to take a bath, and as the days go by and the serpent grows, they both realize that he needs to go back to the sea where he belongs.
I like this book because: the story reminds me of childhood dreams of just such an experience (who am I kidding – still hoping!), written simply and beautifully – “the clouds drifted over green jungles and silvery cities…” – yet the undertone is exciting with an anxious pull. The illustrations are flowing, loose yet captivating, as you can see – and believe it or not, I did not post the best spreads – you’ll have to check them out yourself!
Resources/activities: I will forever appreciate how a friend of the family, Risa, taught me to appreciate the smallest of creatures, not to be frightened when they take interest in my personal space, but to help them find a way to a more suitable environment – for us both! Discuss the natural habitats of creatures and why it is important to respect them; Create an inviting habitat: plant flowers and shrubbery for butterflies, bees, and other wildlife in your back yard, or school grounds; Take a field trip to the beach, the woods, or a stream – pick up plastic rings, bottles, and other trash that can kill birds, turtles, dolphins, and other animals.
Perfect Picture Book Friday is on hiatus for the summer, but there are still plenty of selections on a themed and alphabetized list, with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE
The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man. — Charles Darwin