PPBF: Possum and the Summer Storm

4CC74825-D61C-447C-8692-690D6DAB3682Author/Illustrator: Anne Hunter
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018
Age: 3-7
Opening: Possum looked out one summer afternoon. “Time to come in!” He called to his baby possums. “It looks like we’re in for some weather!”
Summary: (from my library catalog) When Possum’s brush pile washes away in a storm, his neighbors all help build a new home based on their own abilities and preferences.

616B4D00-620A-48A0-91BA-6B02B9F4C6E3Themes: Storms, homes, hospitality

FEF11FC8-48CE-474D-A851-A695E31FD7C2I like this book because: Ever since I was very little I have enjoyed watching thunderstorms, especially in late spring when the slate gray sky can make green foliage sing! The illustrations and color choices bring just such a storm right into your reader’s lap! Note the perfect shade of thunderstorm-blue chosen for the endpapers – scrumptious! You’ll want to get out as soon as the rain clears to assess for damages and explore other creature’s habitats yourself.

517BA8C6-12D6-4484-B655-FF7284AE92ADResources: read other books about how animals build their dwellings; read MY favorite book about friendship in a storm HERE; find a safe spot to observe a thunderstorm, like a covered front porch – see the recent hail storm and flooding I observed below.

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1A00DB1B-B14B-4E30-B41B-A4228201DFA9And one I created myself!

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

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PPBF: This Beautiful Day

ThisBeautifulDayCoverAuthor: Richard Jackson
Illustrator: Suzy Lee
Publisher: Atheneum, 2017
Age: 3-7
Themes: internal rhyme, rain, play
OpeningThis beautiful day…has everyone dancing and spinning and swinging around, has all of us stamping and stomping our feet on the ground.

ThisBeautifulDayendpapers.jpgSummary: (from my library catalog) Undaunted by the rainy weather, three children take their happiness outside and seem to chase the clouds away as they jump, skip, and dance together.

ThisBeautifulDay2.jpgI like this book because: Especially living in an arid climate, in the semi-desert steppe of northern Colorado, I LOVE RAINY DAYS! I didn’t love them so much when I lived in a moist and often cloudy semi-valley (I just made that up!) in northern Germany! I love the multi-media use of pencil, acrylic, and digital in these energetic illustrations and lyrical, rhyming, read-aloud-timing text.

ThisBeautifulDay5Resources/Activities: come up with four fun things you can do on a rainy day – one for each season, and get whatever materials you need for your plans and put them in a box…for a rainy day! Decorate that Rainy Day Box now, or save that activity for…you guessed it!

 

ThisBeautifulDay6.jpgFor more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE. And right now she is hosting The 3rd Annual Valentiney Writing Contest – HERE

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PPBF: Bad Apple’s Perfect Day and a GIVEAWAY!

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BONUS! Interview with the author/illustrator below!

Author/Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014
Ages: 3-5yrs
Themes: apples, worms, friendship
Opening: The sun was rising. The crickets were chirping. And Mac and Will were getting ready for the perfect day.
Summary: (from the publisher) Mac the apple and Will the worm set out for a perfect day at the watering hole, and although little goes as they plan, friendship, imagination,and a sense of fun make everything turn out fine.

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I like this book because: these two charming buds are back with a sequel (Check out my recommendation HERE). I am crazy for the end papers in this one (above), and for the color palette – simply sumptuous! The story promotes all my favorite things: creativity, imagination, story-telling and looking on the bright side of a rainy day. Living in Colorado I actually miss rain (yep!) but this year has been the moistest in the 16yrs I’ve been here. Still, there is nothing like a slate colored sky against green leaves – and apples if you’re lucky!

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Resources/activities: read together with Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship; go apple picking at an orchard nearby (for help finding one, click HERE); have your own Perfect Day Picnic; watch the book trailer below

Edward was kind enough to answer a few questions too:

JRZ: I’m going to skip the proverbial ‘what comes first for you as an author-illustrator’ question (unless you’d really like to answer that!), but would you share a bit of how Bad Apple came to be?

EH: I tend to come up with simple ideas/ titles first, and with Bad Apple it was no different. I was trying to convince my friend Brian Floca to come out to an orchard with me and my friend Sara Varon. I told him, “It could be inspirational. You could write a book about the tractors on the orchard, Sara could write a book about the goats, and I could write a book about a…bad apple.” It just came to me like that, and then I said to myself, hey, that’s not a bad idea. Then I started to think about what a “bad apple” could be. I decided it didn’t have to be bad, just misunderstood, and the story flowed from there.

JRZ: Do you use critique partners for your manuscript drafts, illustrations or initial ideas?

EH: Yes. It’s important to have artists and readers in your life with a critical eye, who aren’t afraid to give you honest, constructive criticism. I also like to put work away and come back to it after a week or so and approach it fresh.

JRZ: As you like to paint in oils, how difficult is it if there is an editorial change?

EH: By the time I am working on painted finishes, there is often little room for editorial change, as my sketched finishes are always very detailed. But I have been known to bring a brush to the offices and touch up pages at the request of and in front of my art director…

JRZ: Would you share one piece of advice you have received on your journey that stands out?

EH: ALWAYS be working on your NEXT project. Thanks Maira Kalman for giving me that advice!

JRZ: Is there something else that you do, a hobby perhaps, that you feel influences your writing or illustrating?

EH: I love reading and going to films, what better way is there to hone one’s own storywriting skills than by appreciating others?

*Read an extensive interview with the author/illustrator on Seven Impossible Things – HERE

AND we’ve got THREE copies of Bad Apple’s Perfect Day(courtesy of G.P. Putnam’s Sons)  for a GIVEAWAY! Please comment below with your full name – by 12pmMST on Sept.18th – to enter. I’ll have a random couch potato teen – with earbuds – pick 3 names from a hat (rest assured, full attention will NOT be paid to the picking!) and reveal the winners next Friday, Sept.19th.

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Perfect Picture Book Friday is BACK! There are still plenty of selections on a themed and alphabetized list, each with teacher/parent resources, on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

Doodle-A-Day 7 (and a book review!)

Doodle-A-Day prompt for July 7th is…..STORM. Another ‘s’ word. S looks a lot like 5, and I am suggesting 5 days worth, so. . . No, not really a good excuse, is it? Too late!

If you’ve got a hankering to join the doodlers – go to Alison’s blog HERE.

And a HAPPY BIRTHDAY wish for my sister!

Taken right after a powerful one swept over last week.

Taken right after a powerful one swept over last week.

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Photo by Richard Ford, found at thephotoargus.com

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This picture book is just right for this prompt!

RAIN!

Author: Linda Ashman
Illustrator: 
Christian Robinson
Publisher: 
Houghton Mifflin, 2013
Age Level: 4-8
Themes: rain, friendship, grumpiness
Opening: “Rain!”
Summary: (From Amazon) One rainy day in the city, an eager little boy exclaims, “Rain!” Across town a grumpy man grumbles, “Rain.” In this endearing picture book, a rainy-day cityscape comes to life in vibrant, cut-paper-style artwork. The boy in his green frog hat splashes in puddles—“Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy!”—while the old man curses the “dang puddles.” Can the boy’s natural exuberance (and perhaps a cookie) cheer up the grouchy gentleman and turn the day around? Scroll down on the Amazon page under Editorial Reviews for cool info and pics, like alternative covers and preliminary sketches.

Why I like this book: Recently I went to talk to first graders about making picture books and I took this one along to help discuss how the pictures can tell or add much to the story, so that’s one reason! It’s chock-full of story-telling images. It is also just plain sweet! I am just discovering Robinson’s picture books and am in awe. (Click on his name above for more to look at too.) And I am strongly reminded of Gyo Fujikawa in these illustrations, whose work I also greatly admire. Visit this pinterest page to view some of Fujikawa’s work.

Click on this image for another review on storyteller John Weaver’s blog

For my fellow PB writers: Linda mentions this about the text on her site: “There are just 78 words in RAIN!, but the manuscript submitted to editors had more than 1,000 words. Feel free to take a look at the manuscript below. And check out my messy storyboard as well.” So head over by clicking on her name above!