PPBF: While Grandpa Naps

Needed to show off all the pollen on my porch!

Author: Naomi Danis
 Junghwa Park
Publisher: POW!, 2019
Themes: family, multigenerational life, responsibility
Opening: Grandpa comes to visit on Sunday. He brings salami, rye bread, mustard, and pickles for the whole family.

Summary: (from the publisher) Gilbert spends a sunny summer afternoon obediently keeping watch over his napping grandpa to shoo the pesky flies away. Unsure of exactly how long he’s really supposed to sit there, watching for non-existent bugs, he passes time contemplating his ever-changing family: His grandma Sarah recently died, a new baby is on the way, his siblings and cousins race in and out. While the temptations to abandon his post beckon, Gilbert’s loyalty to his grandpa stays true, and his quiet dedication finds a sweet reward.

I read this book because: someone recommended it, so I also looked for a Kirkus review that lead with a strange remark: “Typographically overdesigned …”. I have to admit that was hook enough for me (reformed graphic designer) to search it out! But first off, the illustrations are so charming, I would have read it anyway! And while the text positioning may seem unconventional, I thought it in no way detracted from the story, in fact it was easier to read than so many others that add multiple blocks of text across a spread. And I enjoyed the font choice too! Aside from all that the story charmed my socks off! The more I read the closer I felt to the main character, despite never having had a similar experience. Now I long for a snooze in a hammock – and salami on rye with mustard!

Resources/activities: make a list of things kids know about their grandparents, including all the senses! (I cannot think of my father’s father without smelling his pipe!); have a garden picnic. Watermelon is a must – and at least try a version of Grandpa’s sandwich: salami on rye with mustard and pickles!

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

PPBF: I Hate Everyone

Author: Naomi Danis
 Cinta Arribas
POW!, 2018
Themes: emotions, parties, frustration
Opening: It’s my birthday, so boo! I hate all of you.

Summary: (from my library catalog) “I hate everyone.” In your worst mood, it’s a phrase you might want to shout out loud, even if, deep down, you don’t really mean it. Set at a birthday party, this disgruntled, first-person story portrays the confusing feelings that sometimes make it impossible to be nice, even or especially when everyone else is in a partying mode. A gorgeous, poetic contemplation, sure to elicit a reaction from readers.

I like this book because: That cover! And I do have a weakness for the magic artists can create with a limited palette. I get this character, we’ve all been in her shoes, and it’s so easy to identify with her situation, even if we don’t know what brought on the initial frustration. I also appreciate the close-up perspective in most of the spreads, which allow the reader to be right there as an ally.

Resources/activities: discuss what might frustrate us. Are these BIG deals or is it okay to be frustrated when they are not. Can we think of strategies to help us get through them, can we be kind to ourselves and be with our feelings even when it doesn’t please others? Draw yourself in a situation where you might feel frustrated.

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