PPBF: Mom, There’s a Bear at the Door! + my 5th blogiversary!

To celebrate 5 years of blogging I’d like to send one lucky reader a gift: a picture book of their choice! Please leave the title of the book you’d like in the comment section by March 23, 2017/6amMDT, and if I can get a hold of a new copy I’d be honored to send it to you. Please understand that if the winner is from outside the US, the offer applies in softcover/paperback form. Looking forward to reading your wish titles in the comment section below! And happy St. Patrick’s Day to my fellow (lucky) Irish folks!

BearattheDoorcoverAuthor: Sabine Lipan
Illustrator: Manuela Olten
Publisher: Eerdmans, 2016; orig. in German: Mama, da steht ein Bär vor der Tür!
Age: 2-5
Themes: bears, mother-and-child, humorous stories
Opening: Mom, there’s a bear at the door! A Bear? A bear. But we live on the eleventh floor! That’s why he’s here.

BearattheDoor1Summary: (from my library catalog) I love the faith tenacity of this main character, and the expression-laden character designs. So much fun!!! Can’t wait to try this out on my storytime kids!

BearattheDoor2Why I like this bookA mother has several questions when her son tells her there’s a bear standing outside the front door of their eleventh-floor apartment.

BearattheDoor4Resources/Activities: this is a great ‘what if?’ prompt for young writers!

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

PPBF: Mummy Trouble and a Giveaway!

mummyintroublecoverAuthor/Illustrator: Judy Schachner
Publisher: Penguin, 2006
Age: 4-7
Themes: cats, imagination, mummies
Opening: Skippy John Jones did his very best thinking outside the box.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Skippyjon Jones, a Siamese kitten who thinks he’s a Chihuahua, dreams of traveling to ancient Egypt with his gang of Chihuahua amigos..mummyintrouble1

–ONE LUCKY COMMENTER CAN WIN THIS SIGNED PAPERBACK COPY!–

Why I like this book: I love El Skippito and I loved listening to Judy Schachner describe how he came into being at our recent regional SCBWI conference in Denver. If you love the drama of speaking in various accents, you’ll love to read it aloud – even to yourself! The illustrations are bold, imaginative and wonderfully winsome!

mummyintrouble5Resources/Activities: great book to read during a unit on ancient Egypt; download suggested lesson plans and activities HERE

mummyintrouble4For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: The Shopping Basket

ShoppingBasketCoverAuthor/Illustrator: John Burningham
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 1996 (originally published by Jonathon Cape, 1980)
Age: 3-5
Themes: shopping, city life, problem solving
Opening“Run down to the store for me, will you, Steven, and buy six eggs, Five bananas, four apples, three oranges for the baby, two doughnuts, and a bag of chips for your snack. And leave this note at Number 25.”
Summary: (from my library catalog) On his way home from a quick trip to the store, Steven encounters several marauding animals ready to relieve him of his goods.

ShoppingBasket1st.jpgWhy I like this book: this book embodies what I love so much about John Burningham’s work: he incorporates something to learn without hitting kids over the head, gives a child character’s imagination full credit, and in the illustrations he also packs in humor and emotion in just the right amounts. Brilliant!

ShoppingBasket2.jpgResources/Activities: go shopping with a list; think about who might approach you wanting any of the items on your list and why; make a note of different scenes you pass along the way; did you forget anything on the list?

ShoppingBasket3For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: Playground

PlaygroundCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Mies van Hout
Publisher: Lemniscaat, 2015
Age: 3-6
Themes: playgrounds, imagination, animals
Opening: Let’s go to the playground! Are you coming?
Summary: (from my library catalog) Two children find many adventures on their journey to the playground.

Playground2Why I like this book: For the exciting textures, colors and compositions, the cute characters and the silliness! Just look at these spreads!

Playground4.jpgResources/Activities: Explore watercolor wash-blending, and just go play!!!

Playground6For more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PlaygroundBack

PPBF: Vincent and the Night

VincentCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Adele Enersen
Publisher: Dial Books, 2015
Ages: 2-5
Themes: bedtime, night, imagination
Opening: One evening, Vincent decided he didn’t want to go to bed.

VincentendpapersSummary: (from my library catalog) Having decided he does not want to go to sleep, Vincent unravels the blanket of night and transforms it into a cat, a lullaby, and even an elephant before finally giving in and closing his eyes.

Vincent1I like this book because: It’s cute! I love babies, books mixing photographs and line, and good use of black and white. The writing itself may not stand out, but the illustrations carry it with ease.

Vincent2Resources/activities: Use pen or yarn with photos (or magazine snippets) to create your own mixed-media artwork.

Vincent3For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

Vincent4

(PPBF:) The Little Bear Book

LittleBearBookCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Anthony Browne
Publisher: Candlewick, 2014, reissue (originally by Hamish Hamilton Children’s Books, 1988)
Ages: 3-7yrs
Themes: bears, drawing, imagination
Opening: Bear went for a walk.
Summary: (from my library catalog) As Bear walks in the forest, with pencil in hand, he meets several grumpy forest dwellers and knows just what to do for them.

LittleBearBook1I like this book because: I know Anthony Browne’s work, I love Anthony Browne’s work. With a passion! But I had NO IDEA this was his artwork when I picked the book off the shelf and started reading it. NO idea until I got to the LAST page. Almost like deja vu! Possibly a nod to Harald and the Purple Crayon, but with a simplicity and a charm all it’s own!

LittleBearBook2Resources/activities: draw something you imagine would change the mood of persons or things you encounter on a walk, ride, or drive – maybe from your path to/from school.

LittelBearBook3For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

LittleBearBook4

PPBF: Bad Apple’s Perfect Day and a GIVEAWAY!

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BONUS! Interview with the author/illustrator below!

Author/Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014
Ages: 3-5yrs
Themes: apples, worms, friendship
Opening: The sun was rising. The crickets were chirping. And Mac and Will were getting ready for the perfect day.
Summary: (from the publisher) Mac the apple and Will the worm set out for a perfect day at the watering hole, and although little goes as they plan, friendship, imagination,and a sense of fun make everything turn out fine.

BAPDendpapers

I like this book because: these two charming buds are back with a sequel (Check out my recommendation HERE). I am crazy for the end papers in this one (above), and for the color palette – simply sumptuous! The story promotes all my favorite things: creativity, imagination, story-telling and looking on the bright side of a rainy day. Living in Colorado I actually miss rain (yep!) but this year has been the moistest in the 16yrs I’ve been here. Still, there is nothing like a slate colored sky against green leaves – and apples if you’re lucky!

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Resources/activities: read together with Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship; go apple picking at an orchard nearby (for help finding one, click HERE); have your own Perfect Day Picnic; watch the book trailer below

Edward was kind enough to answer a few questions too:

JRZ: I’m going to skip the proverbial ‘what comes first for you as an author-illustrator’ question (unless you’d really like to answer that!), but would you share a bit of how Bad Apple came to be?

EH: I tend to come up with simple ideas/ titles first, and with Bad Apple it was no different. I was trying to convince my friend Brian Floca to come out to an orchard with me and my friend Sara Varon. I told him, “It could be inspirational. You could write a book about the tractors on the orchard, Sara could write a book about the goats, and I could write a book about a…bad apple.” It just came to me like that, and then I said to myself, hey, that’s not a bad idea. Then I started to think about what a “bad apple” could be. I decided it didn’t have to be bad, just misunderstood, and the story flowed from there.

JRZ: Do you use critique partners for your manuscript drafts, illustrations or initial ideas?

EH: Yes. It’s important to have artists and readers in your life with a critical eye, who aren’t afraid to give you honest, constructive criticism. I also like to put work away and come back to it after a week or so and approach it fresh.

JRZ: As you like to paint in oils, how difficult is it if there is an editorial change?

EH: By the time I am working on painted finishes, there is often little room for editorial change, as my sketched finishes are always very detailed. But I have been known to bring a brush to the offices and touch up pages at the request of and in front of my art director…

JRZ: Would you share one piece of advice you have received on your journey that stands out?

EH: ALWAYS be working on your NEXT project. Thanks Maira Kalman for giving me that advice!

JRZ: Is there something else that you do, a hobby perhaps, that you feel influences your writing or illustrating?

EH: I love reading and going to films, what better way is there to hone one’s own storywriting skills than by appreciating others?

*Read an extensive interview with the author/illustrator on Seven Impossible Things – HERE

AND we’ve got THREE copies of Bad Apple’s Perfect Day(courtesy of G.P. Putnam’s Sons)  for a GIVEAWAY! Please comment below with your full name – by 12pmMST on Sept.18th – to enter. I’ll have a random couch potato teen – with earbuds – pick 3 names from a hat (rest assured, full attention will NOT be paid to the picking!) and reveal the winners next Friday, Sept.19th.

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Perfect Picture Book Friday is BACK! There are still plenty of selections on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

Not-So-Accidental-Blog-Tourist-Hop

FrogSleepwalkingWelcome to this wandering tour of blogs by artists – writers, musicians, painters, photographers, and more. Catherine Johnson invited me to hop-along.

CatherineJohnson

Catherine is a female Dickon (Secret Garden clue for kid-lit lovers), currently swinging a maple stick in a hockey tree –  with a worrisome weakness for fried Kiwi and chips, or was it fishlips? In any case she writes and paints funny stuff – check out her blog and books at catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com

Now to blog-hop questions, and the stuff I am currently working on: portfolio pieces in preparation for the regional SCBWI conference in September; a fish-out-of-water picture book dummy; a ms based on a folk song; a rhyming board book (yeah, me – a rhymer – go figure!), and a slew of others in need of further polish. Also excited about 3 board books I illustrated for Bailiwick Press, due out in October.

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How my work differs from others of its genre: With illustration, I try to harness the energy of an initial sketch; I scrap what isn’t working and start fresh numerous times. Maybe that is why my work is simpler, less detailed, but that doesn’t mean the process is any less complicated (that’s what I tell myself!). I spend a lot of time on the emotional connection in the face or posture of my characters. Humor and imagination are what I hope to convey and promote in both my illustrations and writing.

JJJSchmidt

Why do I write/create what I do? I am a picture book junkie. The way the words and pictures meld together with the imagination of the readers elevates my spirit. The desire to make them has not always been there, but I have always found creative outlets, and still cannot understand how anyone gets bored.

How does your writing/creating process work? A snippet of a word, a scent in the air, a memory released by the shape of a cloud  – anything, essentially, can spark the process of writing or illustrating. I trust my gut to take me on it’s own journey, then later apply skills to shape, restructure and refine. When I feel good about it I will send a manuscript draft to my AWESOME online and local critique partners (sometimes 27 times – sorry, pals). Doodling every day has improved my drawing skills tremendously – I am truly grateful for the Doodle Day facebook group for the support, encouragement and super silly fun.

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Passing the baton to fellow artist Dani Duck at Dani Duck: Artist ObscureMarried, toddlered and reluctant cat owner. Writes, Illustrates and Moms. Basically awesome. Seldom boring. Avid coffee drinker and chocolate fan …

photoCheck out Dani’s post on Monday, Aug.25th – HERE

PPBF: In Front of My House

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Author/Illustrator: Marianne Dubuc
Publisher: Kids Can Press, 2010 (originally published in France under Devant ma maison)
Ages: 3-7yrs
Themes: space perception, imagination, characters in literature
Opening: On a little hill, behind a brown fence, under a big oak tree, is…
Summary: (from my library’s catalog) A child explores the world around his home and fills it with characters from the stories and fables he knows. 

Dubuc1

I like this book because: each spread is a page turner, that is how the book/story is designed, which makes it a great read-aloud. I reviewed another of Dubuc’s books, Animal Parade, and though the design is similar I still think both stand on their own. I am REALLY looking forward to her new book coming out NEXT WEEK – The Lion and the Bird

Resources/activities: have children make a list from memory of things in front of their own dwellings; make a diorama from the list; discuss different living arrangements – among classmates and around the world – watch the videos form this wonderful series, Families of the World – HERE

Dubuc3

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

 

PPBF: For Just One Day

Author:Laura Leuck
Illustrator: 
Marc Boutavant
Publisher: 
Chronicle Books, 2009
Age Level: pre-school and up
Themes: imagination, animals, stories in rhyme
Opening: For just one day, I’d like to be a busy, buzzing bumble-   BEE! The flowers would belong to me, if I could be a bumble bee.
Summary: (Excerpt from Publisher’s Weekly) Schoolchildren imagine themselves as chimps, whales and butterflies in this fantasy. The layout builds suspense, with ellipses preceding each page turn.

ForJustOneDayEP

Totally fell for the endpapers, half pictured above. Not something I say often.

ForJustOneDay2

And these cute critters and kiddies make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But I like this book because of the sweet rhymes and repetition, with just enough page-turning suspense that I enjoyed every one!