PPBF: Some Dinosaurs Are Small

Authors and Illustrator: Charlotte Voake
Publisher: Candlewick, 2020
Age: 
2-6
Themes: dinosaurs, size-perception

Opening: Some dinosaurs are small.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Presents the story of three big, fast, thieving dinosaurs hungrily encountering a slower dino who uses his smaller teeth to eat fruit and leaves.

I picked this book because: i’m still working on a dinosaur manuscript! It’s important to know what is new on the market as well as which ones have become classics. And this one is SO adorable! perfect read-aloud for toddlers and perfect if the adult reader is hoping for a hug at the end! The artwork is bright, with bold lines, humor and quite satisfying for a few details that take a little time to notice (my favorite kind!).

Resources/activities: read companion books that deal with size perception to open up discussions with slightly older toddlers, like Not Little, by Maya Myers and Hyewon Yum. For budding artists, place well-defined (large plastic) toy dinosaurs at the edge casting a strong shadow onto the paper to trace the shadow and color!

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

PPBF: How to Help a Pumpkin Grow

Author/Illustrator: Ashley Wolff
Publisher:
 Beach Lane, 2021
Themes
: pumpkins, animals, gardening

Age Level: 2-6
Opening: 
see image 2 below

Synopsis: (from my library catalog) Dog is planting a garden, doing all he can to help his pumpkins grow: protecting them from snow, weeding and watering their patch, and keeping them safe from barnyard creatures who might eat the sprouts! But are Crow, Rabbit, Duck, and Goat really out to destroy the garden? Or are they new friends hoping to pitch in and help the pumpkins thrive?

I picked this book because: of the vibrant artwork: the rich palette, the masterful lighting and use of contrast, and beautifully rendered characters and scenery. And because it’s almost Halloween and this would be an absolutely delightful read-aloud if only I were still doing storytime! Blast Covid!

Resource/Activity: it may be too late to plant seeds this season, but not too early to plan for the next! Map out together where the best spot might be, be sure to have it cleared for planting, but cover with leaves to provide nutrients and moisture (I live in semi-arid dessert territory!). Learn about the different kinds of seeds and order ahead! Also, read Halloween companion books: HERE is a great list in PW.

For more links to posts on Perfect Picture Books and resources, visit Susanna Hill’s blog every Friday.

PPBF: Regina is NOT a Little Dinosaur

Author/Illustrator: Andrea Zuill
Publisher:
 Schwartz & Wade, 2021
Themes
: dinosaurs, hunting, mother-child

Age Level: 3-7
Opening: 
see image 2 below

Synopsis: from my library’s catalog: Regina, a young dinosaur who is convinced she is ready to hunt for her own food, sneaks away from Mama, but soon finds she has much to learn about hunting.

Why I am recommending this book again: because Regina is so darn cute! Zuill does such a fine job with facial and body expression and as a parent, I’ve seen all of it! (I have at least one very expressive child!) What is also exciting as I’m working on a story with dinosaurs myself 😉 It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, and the characters are identifiable! PPB!

Resource/Activity: look into identifying the different kinds of dinos depicted in the story; did those dinosaurs all live in the same period? What do we know about each one’s habits? Which one’s bones may have been found nearest to your location? Museum trip possible? Have fun!

For more links to posts on Perfect Picture Books and resources, visit Susanna Hill’s blog every Friday.

PPBF: Elliot

Author: Julie Pearson
Illustrator:
 Manon Gauthier
Publisher: Pajama Press, 2016
Age: 
5-8
Themes: orphans, foster parents, rabbits

Opening: see image below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Elliot’s parents do not know how to take care of him. As Elliot moves from one foster home to another, his visits with his real parents leave him anxious and conflicted about where he wants to be. At last he finds stability with a new adoptive family.

I picked this book because: I liked the cover. That’s why I picked it up. I like it because it’s a story I was not expecting, an important story, gently told, of the experience of Elliot “a playful little boy who was full of life.” Afterward I looked for other reviews, and was astonished how Elliot was perceived by some reviewers, as possibly suffering from some behavioral disorder. Why? Because he cried when he was hungry, yelled when he was upset, and sometimes even misbehaved? I’ve never known a child to not show those natural forms of communication. In any case, I thought that was another reason to chose Elliot for PPBF, not just for it’s beautiful, seemingly simple, playful – and full of life! – illustrations!

Resources/activities! so much to talk about! Here is a website I found from a foster parent should you need assistance. And just like last week, draw or make collages to help deal with feeling that may arise in the discussions. Look for more titles beautifully illustrated by Manon Gauthier .

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

PPBF: Middle Bear

Author: Susanna Isern
Illustrator:
 Manon Gauthier
Publisher: Kids Can Press, 2015
Age: 
3-7
Themes: bears, siblings, middle child

Opening: see image below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A middle child discovers his own unique gifts. He was the second of three brothers. “He was not big, but he was not little, either. Neither strong nor weak, neither tall nor short, neither a lot nor a little … He was the middle one.” And when you’re always in the middle, sometimes it’s hard to feel special. Until one day, his parents needed an important task to be done. And suddenly, middle-sized was the perfect size to be. Kids will be reassured by this powerful message: No matter your age, you’re always the best at being you!

I picked this book because: I’m the middle child, of course! And this text handles the sensitivities so beautifully. The positives and negatives a child feels about their place in the family, their size, and the responsibilities and privileges attributed. The illustrations are highly engaging and invite young readers to try their own hand at creating collages too! In fact I will add that to the resources below! Find it, enjoy it, share it!

Resources/activities! especially due to the pandemic children need to find ways to express their feelings, and I think reading this together, discussing the pros and cons of one’s placement within a family and what we feel would be a great prompt for a personal collage assignment in which each child may depict a scene form their pandemic experience in relation to their family. Look for more titles illustrated by Manon Gauthier for more inspiration.

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

PPBF: Animal Masquerade

Author/Illustrator: Marianne Dubuc
Publisher:
Kids Can Press, 2012 (Originally under Au carnaval des animaux, 2011)
Themes
: animals, disguises, masquerade

Age Level: 3-7, but my teens loved this too!
Opening: 
see image below

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 am recommending this book again: I could not believe my eyes last week when I noticed this book is out of print! I have hand-sold numerous copies and truly enjoy it EVERY time I read it. I’m so incredibly sad about this! It’s so much fun and even the youngest hang in for all 120 pages! So if you find a copy (for sale, little thieves!) snap it up! And again: If anyone out there ever makes a costume of an animal ‘in costume’ send me a photo!

Resource/Activity: make your own costumeshttp://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.

PPBF: Not Little

Author: Maya Myers
Illustrator:
 Hyewon Yum
Publisher: Neal Porter/HH, 2021
Age: 
3-7
Themes: size, bullying, self-awareness

Opening: see image below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Dot proves she is not little by standing up to a school bully. (*might be one of the shortest summaries, but it packs the punch!)

I picked this book because: I admire all of Hyewon Yum’s work and will always pick up one of her books, BUT this story totally stole my heart. Maybe because I was little in elementary school too (spurt came late), maybe because I experienced a fair amount of bullying (“you have freckles, you can’t play with us!”), or maybe because the author just captured the feelings so well. Not just maybe! This will certainly remain a personal fave and I can’t wait to share it with “little” people again!

Resources/activities: If your space is safe, the book lends itself to a good discussion starter on the different forms of bullying, and might encourage kids to share their experiences; discuss strategies for addressing it as well as strategies for how to listen to and be an ally for our friends; read companion books like Stick and Stone by Ferry/Lichtenheld, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Lovell/Catrow, Chrysanthemum by Henkes; draw about our experiences.

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

PPBF: I Can Make a Train Noise

Authors and Illustrators: Michael Emberley and Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House, 2021
Age: 
3-7
Themes: railroad trains, imagination, read-aloud

Opening: see image below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A girl transforms a cafe into a train by making train noises with words.

I picked this book because: it’s absolutely perfect for storytime! I loved reading books with toddlers/pre-schoolers in the bookstore, but I have not been able to since the pandemic and wow, do I miss it! So this will be on the tippy-top of my list when we start up again! What a fantastic way to engage kids with crescendo/de-crescendo, beautiful visuals, and physical movement! Woohoo!!!

Resources/activities: Turn your classroom or living room into a train! Listen to all different kinds of trains on youtube, HERE; make train crafts like the one below – instructions/suggestions HERE

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

PPBF: My Winter City

Author: James Gladstone
Illustrator:
 Gary Clement
Publisher: Groundwoodl, 2019
Age: 
3-8
Themes: winter, city life, sledding

Opening: see spread below.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A young boy wakes up in the early light of a winter morning, pulls on his boots and mittens, and steps out into the snowy city with his dad. They trudge through the snow, their dog bounding along beside them, then a slushy, steamy bus ride takes them to the tobogganing hill for some winter fun. The boy describes all the sights and sounds of the day, from the frost in Dad’s beard and the snow “pillows” in the park, to the noisy clunking snow plows and the singing buskers they pass on their way home. That night, the boy lies awake under cozy covers, reflecting on the day, as snow blankets the world outside his window. This is winter in the city.

I picked this book because: it’s so hot here (again) I needed some snow! At this point I would welcome it in real life! And this title did not disappoint. Even on a hot day, it pays to slow down. Told from the point of view of a city child, the reader is invited to make connections with their own experiences (though I’d love to hear back from someone who hasn’t lived in an area with winter weather!) A walk through any city offers us a plethora of details if we pay attention, and the illustrations here are delightful and refreshing, yet warm the heart like a cup of cocoa.

Resources/activities! discuss what parts of the globe experience snow in winter, the differences in our experiences to snow in the country or suburbs, mountains or plains – even the seaside. I would pair it with a reading of Dylan Thomas’ A Child’s Christmas in Wales (so many beautifully illustrated editions and a delightful film!), even if you don’t celebrate Christmas.

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

PPBF: The Caiman

2″ wider than HARE! No wonder I was drawn to it!

Author: María Eugenia Manrique, transl. Amy Brill
Illustrator:
 Ramón Paris
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids, 2021; orig. Ediciones Ekaré, 2019
Age: 
3-8
Themes: alligators, pets, Venezuela,
Opening: see opening page below image of title page.

Summary: (from my library catalog) When Faoro the clockmaker adopts a baby caiman, he has no idea that someday their story will travel far and wide. But the town of San Fernando de Apure would never forget this kind young man and his adoring alligator, who played with the neighborhood children, took part in Faoro’s wedding, and, eventually, mourned his loss.

I like this book because: I was hooked by the cover (and format!). The bold colors and use of black and white, but also because of the author’s own real life experience with this story and her intriguing bio. The story did not disappoint. I love examples of human-animal connection, as I’m sure many others do, but also of cultures other than my own. There is sadness, but so much love in this beautiful tale – no pun intended!

Resources/activities: Look into the life-cycle of Caimans, their habitat, and how they might be different than other alligators. Are there other real-life stories of bringing an alligator into a home? What does a Caiman egg look like? Does it take as long to hatch as a chicken’s egg? All fun facts to discover together.

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