Author/Illustrator: John Agee
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers, 2013
Age Level: 3-5 (says Amazon – but I’d put that up to 8)
Themes: young Santa, North Pole
Opening: In the North Pole, in a little cabin, lived Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their seven children, Larry, Mary, Willy, Millie, Joey, Zoe, and Santa.
Summary: (From Amazon) Little Santa loves the North Pole. The rest of his family? Not so much. So, when they decide to move to Florida, Santa is miserable. Lucky for him, a blizzard foils their plans. The only way out of the house is up the chimney. Up goes Santa, to look for help, and along the way, he meets a reindeer and a large group of elves, who are more than eager to join in the rescue!
Why I like this book: Simplicity, both in the illustrations and in the storytelling. His frowning family helps the reader identify with this cold and snow loving character in a red suit all the more. I could easily imagine where the story was going, yet I was excited at every page turn! And I know my dear friend Penny Klosterman just reviewed this last week, but I wrote this up weeks ago and it IS THAT GOOD – so pooh! And since there is no PPBF today, it won’t harm anyone!
Resources/Activities: Christmas books are not found in too many classrooms anymore. Debatable, but I believe too much political correctness wipes us clean of culture. But this is one that should be shared for ideas alone, especially good for kids who begin to ask why – and don’t stop! This could be a great lead-in to help kids come up with story ideas: imagine how any cultural figure, mythical or otherwise, started out.
No new ones today, but for other Perfect Picture Book picks with activity resources, go to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – HERE
Day Ten Jeff Goins told us to share others’ work, and fellow 15 Habits of Great Writers participant Marcie Colleen invites us to do so with a blink: blog about a writer we admire, and to post the link on her’s. I have chosen to put a spotlight on the work of Jon Agee (pronounced ay-gee).
Listen to Jon Agee read from Terrific
He has been making picture books for 30 years now, but I only just ‘met’ him this past year. When I felt like I had read most of the picture books on the NEW! shelf (and thought it was about time to give the other kids a better chance at the suggested reading section) I decided to attack the library’s collection more efficiently and rummage through shelves for titles I haven’t read, starting with Section A. One per author was a good way to tackle it, and that’s when I found The Retired Kid (Hyperion,2008). How could I go wrong with a title like that!
Since then I have read all the other Agee titles my library district owns, and some from other connected libraries.
Now I’ll tell you why: it’s simple – they are funny. Lough-out-loud funny. Seriously funny. And his art is wonderful: simple, straightforward and delightful. Agee is a master of pure-form cartoon and composition. I hope you enjoy discovering these books as much as I still do.
Day Eleven: Goins reminds us to declutter, first our workspace, then our writing. “Eliminate weak, lazy words like “that” and “things” and anything you don’t absolutely need. Then say what you have to say and be done with it.” But this holds no dread for me as I love to put things in order, straighten and tidy (some friends might whisper OCD). I pick up on a hung picture askew like a dog notes eau de fox. A-hunting I will go!
And provoke: here I will link you to an interview with Laura Smith on the patientdreamer.com which captures the essence of Goins’ advice on why we need art.