PPBF: Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters

Author/Illustrator: K.G. Campbell
Publisher: Kids Can Press, 2012
Age Level: 5-9 yrs
Themes: guests, sweaters, school mishaps
Opening: Cousin Clara’s cottage was consumed by a crocodile. Luckily, Cousin Clara wasn’t in it.
Summary: (from Amazon) “…when Cousin Clara moves in and knits him truly dreadful sweaters as fast as he can surreptitiously dispose of them, Lester must think of a way to get rid of them for good — or be doomed to look like a clown forever.”

Snapshot 2013-01-14 08-57-45

What I thought: The cover got me…again! The illustrations are marvelous, soft yet edgy, the compositions striking, and her use of color to convey emotion, well, all these things are spot on. The writing is good, and I especially like the alliteration and use of ‘big words’, but the beginning lines promise another story. I wouldn’t mind if K.G. Campbell delivered it to us in another book, but they are out of place here. Still the silliness of the dreaded gifts, the complications and the solution, are strong enough to make this a very enjoyable read for a slightly older audience. One thing I was thrilled to see were a pair of scissors, in use – glad the publisher had the guts to keep that illo in – I won’t tell you too much, but it’s my favorite page!
Resources/Activities: teach a child to knit; Does the thought always count? Lead a discussion on appreciation, and how to react upon receiving gifts one might not like.
For more PPBF picks, go to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – HERE

PPBF: Animal Masquerade

Author/Illustrator: Marianne Dubuc
Publisher:Kids Can Press, 2012 (Originally under Au carnaval des animaux, 2011)
Genre: fiction
Themes: animals, disguises, masquerade
Age Level: 3-7, but my teens loved this too!
Opening: Come one, come all to the animal masquerade. Disguises are a must!
Synopsis: from Kids Can Press: The lion is going as an elephant, the elephant as a parrot, and the parrot as a turtle! Each costume gives way to another, yielding new surprises on every page, and revealing a menagerie of familiar and unusual animals. Young children will delight in the absurd and amusing images (who wouldn’t love a ladybug dressed as a hippopotamus?) and will also appreciate the gags (a fish costumed as a cat is dubbed a “catfish”) and other bits of silly sweetness. Recapping this reading adventure: a detailed panorama at book’s end, showing all the party guests in their fanciful finery.
Why I like this book: I don’t like this book, I LOVE IT! You can read it, over and over right away! If anyone out there ever makes a costume of an animal ‘in costume’ send me a photo!
Resource/Activity: make your own costumes: http://crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/halloween/costumes/ ; Blog: My Disguises great photos and ideas for kids of ALL ages
For more links to posts on Perfect Picture Books and resources, visit Susanna Hill’s blog every Friday.
PS: It is Day Four of the 15 Habits of Great Writers Challenge and we have been prompted to ‘practice’ publicly. Well, I did that last night when I read a MS to my shiny and new kid-lit crit-group. It was scary but fun and helpful, and I appreciate my fellow members soooo much!