PPBF: The Big Bad Wolf In My House

Author: Valérie Fontaine, transl. Shelley Tanaka
 Nathalie Dion
Publisher: Groundwood Books, 2021, org 2020 in French
Themes: family violence, domestic violence, wolves
Opening: see image below

Summary: (from the publisher) The young girl tells us that her mom’s new friend is just like the big bad wolf. At first the wolf is sweet and kind to her mom, though the girl notices the wolf’s cold eyes from the very beginning. When her mom arrives home late one day, the wolf suddenly hurls angry words and terrible names at her. From that day on her mother doesn’t smile anymore. The girl is careful to clean her room and brush her teeth and do everything to keep the peace, but the wolf is unpredictable, throwing plates on the floor, yelling at her mother and holding the girl’s arm so tightly she is left with bruises. Whenever the yelling begins, she hides under the covers in her room. How will she and her mom cope as the wolf becomes increasingly fierce? Valérie Fontaine and Nathalie Dion have created a powerful, moving story about violence in the home that ends on a note of hope.

I like this book because: it’s so important, and it’s been written and illustrated simply, clearly and with such thoughtfulness – for readers who can identify as well as readers who may not. Especially knowing the level of hidden domestic violence has risen due to the pandemic, I feel it’s more important than ever to address the topic. I also know from people I’ve met serving my neighbors experiencing homelessness that 50% of homeless women are domestic violence victims. I will definitely be donating a copy to a local school.

Resources/activities: easy – read the book!

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

PPBF: Mrs. Goose’s Baby

MrsGoosesBabyCover.jpgAuthor/Illustrator: Charlotte Voake
Publisher: Walker, 1989
Age: 3-103
Themes: insects, competition, wordless picture books
Opening: One day Mrs.Goose found an egg and made a nest to put it in.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Mrs. Goose finds an egg, sits on it to keep it safe and warm, and soon has a baby all her own. But Mrs. Goose’s baby isn’t just like her.

MrsGoosesBaby2Why I like this book: This book has a rare quality, quiet yet kind of quirky. The humor is so subtle it’s barely there. It forced me to slow down and really think about these characters; the plot is so simple you barely notice the arc. The reader knows all, yet is compelled to see how the main character will react when she finds out. This book deserves a hug!

MrsGoosesBaby3.jpgResources/Activities: This is a great book to lead a discussion on adoption, or making your own family, and how love can develop.

MrsGoosesBaby6.jpgFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.


PPBF: Sheila Rae, The Brave

SheilaRaeCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
Publisher: Greenwillow, 1987
Ages: 4-8
Themes: mice, courage, siblings
Opening: Sheila Rae wasn’t afraid of anything.

SheilaRae1Summary: (from my library catalog) When brave Sheila Rae, who usually looks out for her sister Louise, becomes lost and scared one day, Louise comes to the rescue.

SheilaRae2I like this book because: I read a lot of picture books, and as much as I get excited about new ones to love, I rejoice all the more when I find an older classic. Almost 30 years old yet fresh , snappy, and kids can relate just as easily today.

SheilaRae3Resources/activities: discuss individual fears, how to possibly overcome them, and how one person’s abilities differ from another’s.

SheilaRaeBackFor existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

PPBF: Some Things I’ve Lost

LostThingsCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Cybèle Young
Publisher: Groundwood Books, 2015
Ages: 4-8
Themes: lost articles, found objects, creation, paper work
Opening: You can’t find something, something you’ve lost.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Cybèle Young invites readers to consider the inevitability of change and the power of the imagination with a collection of misplaced objects, including a roller skate, a wristwatch, and a set of keys, are shown undergoing imaginative transformations through a series of paper sculptures.

LostThingsEndpapersI like this book because: as an artist, a creator, a human – this book speaks to me on the most basic level, the ground floor. Taking it all in made me cry – and I cry again as I write! What evolves in Young’s recreations need not be attractive to get the message across, but they are sublime! I love that I can say this, “Read it and weep!”

LostThings1Resources/activities: create something from a found object, perhaps something from a recycling bin. No need to look further for inspiration – Some Things I’ve Lost explodes your mind!

LostThings2For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

PPBF: Ear Muffs for Everyone

EarmuffscoverAuthor/Illustrator: Meghan McCarthy
Publisher: Paula Wisemann/S&S, 2015
Ages: 4-8
Themes: ear muffs, ear warmers, inventors, patents
Opening: The word “muff” has been around since the Middle Ages. Starting in the 1700’s, people wore muffs on their hands to keep them warm, like this: ‘This muff keeps my hands so very warm!’
Summary: (from my library catalog) This picture book biography of Chester Greenwood explores the invention of the earmuffs and the patenting process.

earmuffsendpapersI like this book because: it’s not all about who invented earmuffs, or as the title says, ‘How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs’, it goes into depth about the information we get and how we need to look deeper into the history of an invention – or patent – to really know how the object came about. It will help them to question things they hear and take for granted. The art is fabulous – McCarthy has such a wonderful way of bringing to our attention what could otherwise be seen dry information yet it’s all so much fun in her books – do check out her website: http://www.meghan-mccarthy.com/; or this article in School Library Journal.

earmuffs1Resources/activities: try and make your own earmuffs – video instructions here; if you are lucky, maybe there is a patent museum near you, like the Hagley Museum I visited in PA – HERE

earmuffs3For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HEREearmuffsback


PPBF: A Daisy is a Daisy is a Daisy (except when it’s a girl’s name)

DaisycoverAuthor/Illustrator: Linda Wolfsgruber
Publisher: Groundwood Books, 2011, originally published by Verlag Jungbrunnen, Wien, 2009
Ages: 4 and up
Themes: names, feminine names, flowers
Opening: Flora, Florica, Kukka, Lore, Hana and Zvetana mean flower. Flowers are born in the spring.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Presents an illustrated look at names for flowers in several languages that are used as personal names for girls.

DaisyendpapersI like this book because: of it’s simplistic, dainty yet powerful beauty, and I’ve always ghad a fascination for name origins. I once found one for mine that I really liked: thick-haired.

Daisy1Resources/activities: make paper flowers; ‘draw’ with thread – with or without a sewing machine; look up the origin of your own name; create a new name for yourself or a pet.

Daisy2For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE


PPBF: The Elephant and the Bad Baby

EBBcoverAuthor: Elfrida Vipont
Illustrator: Raymond Briggs
Publisher: Coward-MacCann, 1969
Ages: 3-5
Themes: elephants, babies, manners, cumulative stories
Opening: Once upon a time there was an elephant.
Summary: (from Waterstones)”The Elephant and the Bad Baby” is the classic story from Elfrida Vipont and Raymond Briggs. The Elephant takes the Bad Baby for a ride and they go ‘rumpeta, rumpeta, rumpeta down the road.’ They help themselves to ice creams, pies, buns, crisps, biscuits, lollipops and apples, and the shopkeepers follow them down the road shouting and waving. All ends well as the Bad Baby learns to say ‘Please’ and his mother makes pancakes for everyone.

EBB1I like this book because: this is a GREAT read-aloud, recommended by a friend (Hi, Kelly!) for it’s jauntiness as she recently searched for a copy to gift her grand-nephew. I am a fan of Raymond Brigg’s work, but had not known about this cumulative gem. And the simplicity of the opening line is just so refreshing!

EBB2Resources/activities: make a puppet show, a flannel board, or perform the book as a play; talk about appropriate manners, but do this first – then read this to lighten the mood!

EBB4For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE


PPBF: Max and Marla

Max&MarlaCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Alexandra Boiger
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015
Ages: 3-5
Themes: sledding, Olympics, friendship
Opening: Max and Marla are best friends.
Summary: (from Amazon) Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it’ll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories!

M&M2I like this book because: it reminds me of the sledding adventures I had as a child, how persistent we were, wet mittens and all, and how the kids in our neighborhood enjoyed playing ‘Olympics’, though gymnastics was my chosen sport because CARTWHEELS! (I always wanted to play Nadia Comaneci). I love the simple palette, an array of cool blues and spots of cinnamon. Both characters are endearing, but my heart melted with little Marla asleep on the couch, ‘helping’ with the wax – “True Olympians never give up”!

M&M4Resources/activities: learn about different Olympic sports for winter or summer (don’t forget badminton – my favorite to play!); discover the difference between sleds and sleighs, and what makes them go (and why Max uses wax on his)at wonderopolois.org – HERE; investigate: do different cultures use different kinds of sleds? (I have a German one, just like the sled in the book!). I’ve wanted one like the following since I first saw the Swedish tv series, Pippi Longstocking:


For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE



PPBF: Bookmaker’s Studio

TheBookmaker'sStudioCoverAuthor: Photography: Jake Green; Art Direction: Melanie Mues; Editor: James Cartwright
Publisher: The Bookmaker’s Studio, 2015; Printers: Hacksmith Press
Ages: all
Themes: children’s picture book illustrators, illustration, design
Opening/Introduction: Making books for kids is a humbling profession; months and years of character developing, story refining, composition adjusting, and dummy approving to which your audience will be forever indifferent.

TheBookmaker'sStudio2Summary: (from the kickstarter page) A glimpse inside the studios and minds of some of the world’s best living children’s picturebook makers. A limited edition photo book.

TheBookmaker'sStudioInhaltI supported this kickstarter project because: I am curious, nosy, interested and delighted to have a glimpse into the working spaces of other artists. TheBookmaker'sStudio3

TheBookmaker'sStudio4Resources/activities: Have children list all the things they recognize in the artist’s studios as tools they know or own themselves, then make a second list of things they are surprised to see in an artist’s studio; Discuss how picture books are made.

TheBookmaker'sStudio5For existing PPBF selections, including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE; for todays’ fresh picks, click HERE



PPBF: In the Canyon

ItCCoverAuthor: Liz Garton Scanlon
Illustrator: Ashley Wolff
Publisher: Beach Lane Books, 2015
Ages: 4-8
Themes: nature, hiking, Grand Canyon, stories in rhyme
Opening: Here’s a map, some boots, a pack, a walking stick, and sandy track.
Summary: (from my library catalog) Illustrations and simple rhyming text present a child who is hiking with a group into the Grand Canyon, enjoying the wonders of nature–whether a lizard, a picture on the stone, or a glimpse of the moon from the bottom..

ItC1I like this book because: it transports me! I haven’t hiked the Grand Canyon yet, but have hiked and camped not to far from there, and, as I said when I first saw some of the illustrations, I could feel the fine red sand building up in my shoes. And the gentle rhyming couplets give the sense of being right there with our young guide. Beautiful!

ItC2Resources/activities: plan a hike; list what will you need to take on a hike in your area; talk about the wildlife you might see on the hike and what clues could help to discover their presence; practice map reading.

ItC4For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

ItC6Check out Ashley Wolff’s store by clicking on the image (available for purchase) below: