PPBF: Another Brother

AnotherBrotherCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends, 2012
Age: 3-7
Themes: brothers, imitation, family life
Opening: For four glorious years, Davy had Mom and Dad all to himself.
Summary: (from my library’s catalog) Davy the sheep wishes he had time alone with his parents, as he did before his 12 brothers came along and started imitating his every move, but when his wish comes true Davy misses playing with the youngsters.

AnotherBrotherpage1.jpgWhy I like this book: I was won over immediately by the cover, but Davy’s headband sealed it! A great character and though the situation is one often portrayed in books, the uniqueness comes with the amplification: 12 brothers! There is so much to notice in what looks like sparse illustrations – and all of it is hysterical! LOVE this book!

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Resources/Activities: Lots of good questions for a discussion: How many siblings do you have? Are you the oldest, middle or youngest? Do you have step-siblings? What kinds of things do you enjoy doing together? What things would you rather do alone?

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

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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: Dinner at Alberta’s

DinnerAtAlberta'sCoverYup, The PPBF series on Susanna Hill’s blog is still on vacation, so I am giving myself permission to stretch the rules for this recommendation, listed under JuvF – not PB – at my library.

DinnerAtAlberta'sEndpapersAuthor: Russel Hoban
Illustrator: James Marshall
Publisher: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1975
Ages: 6-10 (from the publisher in ’75)
Themes: crocodiles, etiquette, first love
Opening: “Arthur,” said Mrs. Crocodile to her sone one evening at dinner, “you are eating like a regular little beast.”
Summary: (from my library catalog)Arthur Crocodile cannot seem to learn table manners until his sister brings her new girlfriend to visit.

DinnerAtAlberta's1I like this book because: it’s a gem! I am on a James Marshall kick (again!), and this is where I’d like to thank my favorite children’s librarian, Giny (miss you!), for asking me to take a second look at the Marshall books years ago. Hysterical yet understated, lots of beastly sibling snarkiness, and perfect for any child who has been admonished to sit up straight or chew with their mouths closed (you got that, Olivia?).

DinnerAtAlberta's2Resources/activities: write up a list of reasonable table manners, and another wacky list – just for fun (we had ‘no singing during meals’ for a while); discuss table manners that are different form yours – here is a list of 17 from other countries at The Savory, HERE.

DinnerAtAlberta's3For existing PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

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PPBF: Ungerer-vaganza

Today is Tomi Ungerer’s birthday and we need to celebrate!

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Publisher: Phaidon Press, 2013
Ages: 5-8yrs
Themes: children, fog, coastal/rural life
Opening: Finn and Cara were brother and sister. They lived by the sea in the back of beyond. (the opening sets the fairytale feel)
Summary: (from the publisher) No one has ever returned from the mysterious Fog Island, but when Finn and Cara get castaway on its murky shores, they discover things are not quite as they expect… Will anyone ever believe them?

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Why I like this book: though written in a rather adult voice, the child in the author is definitely inviting the child in the reader with lines like these: ‘Fog Island loomed like a jagged black tooth’, ‘But to be lonesome is not a reason to get bored’, or ‘It tasted awful but felt strangely heartening’. Living in a very dry, landlocked place I miss the ocean and fog – the art in the book present a cloudy, cool and moist feel so well I can smell the salt on the air. A perfect read for a grey day – don’t forget a cup of tea!

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Resources/activities – for kids: use this book when studying a weather unit, and make fog in a jar – HERE; check out this German Kindergarten, ‘Die Katze’ designed by Tomi Ungerer and architect Ayla-Suzan Yöndel; just for adults: Check out the wonderful documentary, Far Out Isn’t Far Enough (NOT for the little uns‘): HEREvisit the Tomi Ungerer Museum: International Center for Illustration in Strasbourg (voted one of the 10 best museums in Europe by the Council of Europe); for interested adults: watch the B-movie horror film (same title, not the same content!) from 1945 (poster image below); if ever in Nantucket visit the Fog Island Cafe;

Really want to know more, don’t you! Check out the timeline on his official website – HERE; The Free Library of Philadelphia has a collection of Tomi Ungerer papersTomi Ungerer is a candidate for the 2015 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) ‘The World’s Largest Children’s Literature Award’; Follow Tomi Ungerer on Facebook, or Twitter

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Here is a list (mostly) from Wikipedia of his children’s picture books (available in English), including two I have already recommended:

  • The Mellops Go Flying (1957)
  • Mellops Go Diving for Treasure (1957)
  • Crictor (1958)
  • The Mellops Strike Oil (1958)
  • Adelaide (1959)
  • Christmas Eve at the Mellops (1960)
  • Emile (1960)
  • Rufus (1961)
  • The Three Robbers (1961)
  • Snail, Where Are You? (1962)
  • Mellops Go Spelunking (1963)
  • Flat Stanley (1964) — art by Tomi Ungerer, written by Jeff Brown
  • One, Two, Where’s My Shoe? (1964)
  • Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls (1964) — art by Tomi Ungerer, poems collected by William Cole
  • Oh, What Nonsense! (1966) — art by Tomi Ungerer, edited by William Cole
  • Orlando, the Brave Vulture (1966)
  • Warwick’s Three Bottles (1966) – with André Hodeir
  • Cleopatra Goes Sledding (1967) – with André Hodeir
  • What’s Good for a 4-Year-Old? (1967) — art by Tomi Ungerer, text by William Cole
  • Moon Man (Der Mondmann) (Diogenes Verlag, 1966)
  • Zeralda’s Ogre (1967)
  • Ask Me a Question (1968)
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1969) — text by Barbara Hazen
  • Oh, How Silly! (1970) — art by Tomi Ungerer, edited by William Cole
  • The Hat (1970)
  • I Am Papa Snap and These Are My Favorite No Such Stories (1971)
  • The Beast of Monsieur Racine (1971)
  • The Hut (1972)
  • Oh, That’s Ridiculous! (1972) — art by Tomi Ungerer, edited by William Cole
  • No Kiss for Mother (1973)
  • Allumette; A Fable, with Due Respect to Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm Brothers, and the Honorable Ambrose Bierce (1974)
  • Tomi Ungerer’s Heidi: The Classic Novel (1997) — art by Tomi Ungerer, text by Johanna Spyri
  • Flix (1998)
  • Tortoni Tremelo the Cursed Musician (1998)
  • Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear (1999)
  • Snail, Where Are You? (2005)
  • Zloty (2009)
  • Fog Island (2013)

One more treat – the trailer to a film based on the book MOON MAN

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For more PPBF picks packed with resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

PPBF: Sam’s Sandwich

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Author/Illustrator: David Pelham
Publisher: Dutton, 1991 (first American edition)
Ages: 3-8yrs
Themes: siblings, sandwiches, stories in rhyme
Opening: Samantha liked to sit and dream of doughnuts filled with chocolate cream, giant burgers, heaps of fries, frosty shakes and cherry pies. Shortly after Sunday luncheon Samantha wanted more to munch on. “Oh, Sam,” she wailed, “what can I eat? I need a really special treat.”
Summary: (from Amazon) When Samantha needs a really special treat to munch on, her devious brother Sam knows just what to make: a sandwich with everything on it. A sandwich-shaped, foldout book, Sam?s Sandwich invites young readers to peel back the lettuce, tomato, and other ingredients to discover Sam?s rhyming, crawling surprises.

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I like this book because: Because it was delightful to read to my children hundreds of times, and over and over. And one more time? Sure! As you can see from the photos, the book has seen a lot of love: unfolding, folding, unfolding again, shouting out the end rhymes and giggling all the way.

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Resources/activities: Make a real sandwich with everything on it (just don’t take your eyes off it!); Create a paper sandwich, like this one HERE; discuss insects in the garden – which are pests and which are beneficial; Do other cultures eat any of these insects? Find out together.

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

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And a wee coloring sheet, for those equipped with crayons:

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PPBF: Trouble Gum

Author/Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends, 2009
Ages: 2-6
Themes: humorous stories, pigs,  boredom, bubble gum
Opening: “The trouble at the Figg’s house began one rainy day when Grammy was over for tea. Mom was knitting a blanket for Julius. Ruben stared out of the living room window. 
Summary: (from my library catalogue) Playing indoors with his little brother on a rainy day, a rambunctious young pig causes a ruckus and then breaks his mother’s three chewing gum rules.

Why I like this book: Whilst browsing for bug books a la Cronin, I plucked this ‘old’ Cordell favorite. When it first came out, I was ultra-jealous of this oh-so-clever title, and I wasn’t even writing yet! In the book I saw myself … and the broken mirror, the hole in the door, lice in my hair, the glue on the carpet (all details will resurface in my own books!) – just a few very relatable sore-spots. And the art is just right – clean, crisp and clever!

click the image to go to Simon Decker’s page

Resources/activities: if you are a visual teacher, you might feel inspired by this pinterest board; read about the invention of bubble gum – HERE; learn the scientific method using bubble gum – HERE

Thump

read the book if you want to find out what THUMP is all about

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

It’s a Wrap! – my holiday contest entry

Susanna Hill’s 3rd Annual Holiday Contest: Write a children’s story about a Holiday Mishap, mix-up, miscommunication, mistake, or potential disaster in 350 words or less. I managed 344.

Ah, Christmas! Finding a fitting tree, decking it out with ornaments we made ourselves, caroling in the freezing cold, stockings, stuffings, baking cookies – lots of cookies! Always a plate for Santa, his reindeer and this year, extra for my sister, Candy.

Candy loved wrapping presents. She was good at it. An artist! A master of folding and taping – any shape, any size. You name it, she could wrap it. We’ve always left it to her, and why not? It made her happy!

What she enjoyed most of all? Embellishment! Ribbons, bows, bells and gift tags galore! She made them herself, believe it or not, and you almost couldn’t tell, if it weren’t for the incident with my remote control car last year, but that’s another story.

The thing is, she got carried away. Literally. But I knew Candy didn’t want to wrap just our presents. And why let her talent go to waste? It wasn’t easy for my parents, but it made her happy! And they still had me. So we let her go. We didn’t try to save her as she flew up the chimney. Okay, I was the only one there.

But it wasn’t anyone’s fault. She was wrapping merrily away, maybe sitting a bit close to the tree, which was really close to the fireplace, and it takes a lot of ribbon to create a work of art, and who was I to ruin her fun? I got more ribbon when she asked. I was really helpful, she said. But there was a lot of ribbon! Candy could hardly see. And maybe Santa couldn’t see her.

And all that gum on Santa’s shoe? Who knows where he picked that up?

So, although I am looking forward to my presents this year, the ones from Santa addressed to me? Well, I might just leave them wrapped – a reminder of my dear sister, who probably wrapped them herself.  At least until I’m sure she’s settled. Settled down, that is. The extra cookies I’m sending with Santa should help.

Cookie anyone?

wrap_03-1Do go to Susanna’s blog to read the other entries – HERE

PPBF: Bear With Me

Author/Illustrator: Max Kornell
Publisher: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, 2011
Genre: fiction
Themes: friendship, bears, siblings
Age Level: 4-6
Opening: It started off just right. I had a mom and a dad and my own set of blocks. I had everything I needed.
Synopsis: from the publisher: Everything in Owen’s world is just peachy-till his parents bring home a bear named Gary-without even asking! Gary changes everything: he takes up way too much space and makes a mess of all of Owen’s toys. Gary means well, though, and eventually Owen starts to see that there are some good things about having a bear in the family.
Why I like this book: I am a sucker for great illustrations and Kornell captures the frustration of his main character impeccably, using vibrant watercolors and pencil lines, creatively arranged in collage with acrylics. The difficulty in adapting to change in a family is conveyed in a straightforward manner and balanced with gentle yet juicy humor.
Resource/Activity: This is the first time I have attached a book enrichment pdf, from Words Alive, so let me know if you have trouble downloading: ELIBookEnrichmentGuide_BearWithMe
The attached video was probably made as an intro piece, but it is fun and informative to see how his characters come to life digitally:
For more posts on Perfect Picture Books and resources visit Susanna Hill’s blog any day of the week!
PS – Playing around with a more graphic header, utilizing a font I created. Should I stick to pretty pics instead?