Author: Ruth Sawyer Illustrator: Robert McCloskey Publisher: The Viking Press, 1953 Ages: 3+ Themes: farm/farmers, animals, run-away food Opening: There were three of them: the old woman, Merry; the old man, Grumble: and Johnny, the bound-out boy. They lived in a log cabin, t’other side of Tip Top Mountain. Summary: (from my library catalogue) Johnny is leaving the farm because of hard times when his Journey Cake leads him on a merry chase that results in a farm yard full of animals and the family all together again. I like this book because: I adore the flavor of dialect in this classic’s rhythmic text from Ruth Sawyer, with words like ‘this-wise’, ‘nettlesome’, and ‘all of a tucker’. The very simple use of just two contrasting tones from master book maker Robert McCloskey, of Make Way for Ducklings fame, make the pictures pop, but I really appreciate the bold line strokes used to create texture and infuse energy in these traditional illustrations (pssst -I plan to post more McCloskey favorites this year). Resources/activities: Read about the history of America’s first pancakes, and make the recipe – HERE ; put on a play, like the kids from the Atlanta School – with music! – in the video below (17:30mins – play is over after 13 )
For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.