PPBF: Mystery

Author/Illustrator: Arthur Geisert
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, 2003
Themes: pigs, art museums, mystery stories  
OpeningI packed the lunch – sandwiches with extra mayonnaise, apples, oranges, and twenty-four cookies. Everything my Grandpa liked.

Summary: (from my library catalog) During a visit to the art museum, a little piglet and her grandfather investigate the disappearance of several paintings. Clues in the illustrations give readers a chance to solve the mystery along with the heroine.

I like this book because: I confess, I like all of Geisert’s books, and this isn’t even my favorite, but it warms my artist heart with all the visual references to great paintings, architecture, sculpture, and even, in the last image below, to the publisher! Oh, and PIGS! I’ve added one of my own pigs to the bottom of this post (because…PIGS!)

Resources/activities: visit an art museum – one of my local favorites: The Kirkland; check out this site to find one near you – or near where you are headed: http://www.artcyclopedia.com/museums-us.html; check out how to become a police artist HERE

There is a summer break for new entries, but for more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE.

PPBF: Un loro en mi granja/A Parrot on My Farm

Author: Pep Bruno
Illustrator: Lucie Müllerová
Publisher: Edelvives, 2009
Age: 4 – 8 yrs
Themes: parrots, animals, farms
Opening: Esta es mi granja. En ella puedes encontrar cerdos, caballos, gallinas, ovejas, alguna vaca, algún pato, un perro que se llama Pánfilo… Lo habitual en una granja. English – or, funky translation from Google: This is my farm. Here you can find pigs, horses, chickens, sheep, a cow, a duck, a dog named Pánfilo … Typically on a farm.

Summary: Without knowing what the text says it was easy to see this story is about a parrot who lives on a farm, and his role amongst the other more typical members of the farm community. But spread by spread, the scenes pan out, inviting the reader to imagine more than just a farm.

I LOVE this book: I am not able to speak Spanish so I typed up the whole text and translated it with Google – so clearly I haven’t got it all straight, BUT this is truly a picture book romance for me! Perfect pick for Valentine’s Day! Superb ingredients: a bit of mystery, wonderful illustrations that expand with clues, and a parrot who might be a pirate, well…you’ll just have to get your library map and head over to the Spanish section to discover this treasure!

Resources/Activities: It could be great fun to draw your own farm characters, from this book or others, including a farm setting. Cut them out and and tell this story or make up a new one!; This book would be a great way to introduce a Spanish lesson using the words for everything you can find on a farm – let students come up with things they know can be found there.

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

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A Puddling Mystery – Contest Entry

A bit late to the CONTEST party – but I still feel bound to have fun with Susanna Leonard Hill’s 400-word or less Fourth Of July Secret Mystery Contest!

And the prizes, you ask?  KA-CHING! Check ’em out. And the other entries too.

If you’re looking for the doodle prompt for July 5th – click HERE



Gus was dragged from his home. His mother insisted he’d have fun. “You love fireworks. We can watch the whole show from the Wilson’s porch.”

It would not be fun. The Wilsons didn’t even have kids. “You’re right, Gus, but I bet there will be other families and plenty of kids.”

Ugh. Kids he didn’t know. It would be boring, boring, boring.

In the Wilson’s front yard some people were playing croquet. Adults. “See, I told you it would be fun, Gus.” No it wasn’t. Croquet was boring, boring, boring.

There were hamburgers, but no chips. At least he could have a soda. Not so bad. But when he and Mom walked out back with their plates he only saw grown-ups. Everywhere.

Gus went inside to wash ketchup off his hands and SHLOOSH he slipped on a puddle. There was water all over! Was that confetti on the floor? Peeking down the hall he saw more puddles. “Huh?” With nothing else to do, he followed them.

By the time he got to the kitchen the water drops had disappeared. But there were footprints, muddy and moist. Someone offered him an ice cream sandwich, his favorite, but now he really needed to see where the prints led.

He looked down the narrow cellar stairs: carpeted – no prints. And it was completely dark. Gus could have gone down there, but luckily there was another door off the kitchen to investigate first.

That door led directly out front, where the croquet set had been abandoned. He found more colored bits in the grass, and the grass was moist. But now there was no chance of tracing prints. Gus was about to give up when – WHACK! Water ran down his leg and colored bits of balloon were stuck to his skin!

“Yo, sorry! I was aiming for Billy!” said a girl he recognized from his bus stop. “You okay? Wannna help? Or were you busy looking for something?”

“Yeah. I mean, no. I mean, I think that mystery’s been solved.”

She said, “Good.” And offered him half of the balloons she was carrying in the sag of her skirt.

Just then Gus’ mom came out the kitchen door. “There you are. Hey, if you’re still bored, we could leave.”

“No! I mean, Mom, it’s a party! You’ll have fun!”

He turned to the girl. “Now, let’s get ’em!”