PPBF: Raising Dragons

Author: Jerdine Nolen
Illustrator:
 Elise Primavera
Publisher: Harcourt, 1998
Age: 
4-8
Themes: dragons, farm life, friendship
Opening: Pa didn’t know a thing about raising dragons. He raised corn and peas and barley and whet. He raised sheep and cows and pigs and chickens. He raised just about everything we needed for life on our farm, but he didn’t know a thing about raising dragons.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A farmer’s young daughter shares numerous adventures with the dragon that she raises from infancy.

I like this book because: of the way Nolen tells a story. She has the reader believing everything without an ounce of doubt, and identifying with the main character and her firm confidence in her own abilities. Pure magic and an absolute joy to read aloud! Once upon a time I was a parent of young children, and I was reluctant to read long stories to my kids at the end of the day. I realize now I cheated myself from discovering some of the best writing. Don’t miss out. Don’t be a Lazy Julie!

Resources/activities: research all the creatures that are oviparous; compare the shape, color and sizes of eggs; talk about what to do if you should find one in the wild; read more books by Jerdine Nolen!

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

PPBF: Lauren McGill’s Pickle Museum

Author: Jerdine Nolen
Illustrator:
 Debbie Tilley
Publisher: 
Silver Whistle/Harcourt, 2003
Age: 
5-8
Themes: pickles, school field trips, identity
OpeningLauren McGill was like any other girl her age who had a favorite something.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A class field trip to the local pickle factory puts Lauren McGill’s love of pickles to the test, until she realizes her true calling is to create a museum dedicated to pickles.

I like this book because: …nope! I don’t love pickles. Beyond her own mother’s feelings, I despise them! But this main character shows such unabashed passion one cannot but admire her capacity. And when “an untimely pickle experiment” goes wrong and the consequences ultimately challenge her identity, her creativity and generosity ferments – pun intended!!

Resources/activities: make pickles – recipe for easy refrigerator-pickles HERE; check out how they are made in a small factory, below.

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

PPBF: Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life

Author: Jerdine Nolen
Illustrator:
 Kadir Nelson
Publisher: 
S&S, 2005
Age: 
4-8
Themes: height, family, expectations
OpeningHewitt Anderson lived with his parents in an enormous house at the edge of town. His parents believed big things were best! The boasted a grand and impressive residence overlooking the valley below.

Summary: (from Amazon) Descended from a long line of giants, the J. Carver Worthington Andersons take their height very seriously indeed. You see, without exception all of the many J. Carver Worthington Andersons have been giants until now. And poor Hewitt—hidden in the floorboards, trapped in the flour vat, lost in the bedsheets—has his struggles being tiny. Oh, his parents worry: How will their son manage to live in a world of big things? Leave it to Hewitt to prove the power of being small.

I like this book because: I really love the premise of a child meeting his families expectations in unexpected ways and how size and shape are not always a predictor of our success! The beautiful illustrations (from the current recipient of the Caldecott Medal!) allow us to feel what Hewitt felt being so…normal! Jerdine

Nolen’s writing makes for a thrilling and heartwarming read-aloud!

Resources/activities: make a list of things you can do “better” because of your height or size or skills; compare them with other skills from family members and friends, then ask, do my abilities depend on my size or shape and how these abilities compliment or complete our needs? How can problem solving help where size and shape do not? Do you recognize the references in this story to a familiar folk tale?

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