PPBF: The Rabbit Listened

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Book on display at Old Firehouse Books

In honor of Women’s History Month I will be focussing on outstanding books by female authors and illustrators. I reached out to the author/illustrator of today’s Perfect Picture Book pick, Cori Doerrfeld, and asked for the names of a few women she admires making their mark in children’s literature. Click to head to their websites! 

Jane Yolen

Kelly Barnhill

Raina Telgemeier

Thi Bui

Yasmeen Ismail

Jessica Gibson

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Today’s pick is especially perfect: The Rabbit Listened

Author/Illustrator: Cori Doerrfeld
Publisher: Dial, 2018
Age: 3-6
Themes: listening, loss, rabbits

RabbitListenedendpapersOpeningOne day, Taylor decided to build something. Something new. Something special.

RabbitListened1Summary: (from my library catalog) When Taylor’s block castle is destroyed, all the animals think they know just what to do, but only the rabbit quietly listens to how Taylor is feeling.

RabbitListened2Why I like this book: The story is so simple, yet so powerful!! It’s an important lesson to learn for adults and children about what it means to truly listen when a friend is in need. I recently read an article by Swedish children’s book author Ingrid Olsson who wrote about comfort possibly being more important than love as a message in children’s books, and that books themselves can be a great comfort to readers. That certainly rang true for me, and this book is a whole heart example.

RabbitListened3Resources/Activities: learn about meditation and/or breathing exercises; talk about what listening really means; practice listening with role play, ex.: pretend to be Rapunzel, and have another person practice listening to what she would like to say.

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

 

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PPBF: Elsa and the Night

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Author/Illustrator: Jöns Mellgren (Translation from Swedish by Anita Shenoi)
Publisher: Little Gestalten, 2014
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: sleep, night, loss
Opening: Elsa is sitting by the kitchen table, sorting through her granola. “Number seventy-eight,” she mumbles, picking out another raisin. All the lamps are burning. It’s warm in the room.
Summary: (from my library catalog) One day, Elsa hears a creature moving underneath her sofa. When she lures it out, she discovers that it’s the Night. ‘You’re not allowed to be here,’ she says, and puts it in an old cake tin. Fourteen hours later, it’s still day outside.

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I like this book because: Publisher’s Weekly calls it an eccentric story and I have to agree. It might not appeal to everyone, but I beg readers to give it a chance beyond the beautifully composed spreads. I have read a number of reviews and see it hits readers differently. For me this is a story of loss, grief, denial and letting go, told in a tall tale. I hope you all find something special in it for yourselves.

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Resources/activities: a great resource for the art class, this book makes wonderful use of contrasting and harmonious colors, and perfect for teaching composition – students could cut out similarly colored shapes and create their own compositions for study; I believe this is a beautiful resource for discussion on loss, grief, and letting go.

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For more PPBF picks packed with resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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