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: Rocket says Look Up!

Author: Nathan Bryon
Illustrator:
 Dapo Adeola
Publisher: Random House, 2019
Age: 
3-7
Themes: siblings, astronomy, meteors

Opening: Mom tells me that I never stop looking up and my head is always floating in the clouds.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Aspiring astronaut Rocket draws her community together to see a rare appearance of the Phoenix Meteor Showers, hoping especially that her big brother, Jamal, will look up from his phone.

I picked this book because: First let me say the description in the summary above is a bit misleading. Rocket wants her brother to engage with her and take interest in something she is passionate about. We all want to be seen, I don’t see this as an indictment about phones, but about family, siblings and wanting to share that which excites us! and Rocket is excited about space, so much so she shares her enthusiasm throughout with fun facts – and I know kids like her and the adults they have become! Also, the illustrations are adorable! (I do wish they had used white text on dark backgrounds though!) I hope Rocket will warm your heart too!

Resources/activities! Can you watch the Perseid meteor showers from where you are tonight? Otherwise look up when the best time is for your area!

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

PPBF: There Must Be More Than That!

Author/Illustrator: Shinsuke Yoshitake
Publisher: Chronicle, 2020
Age: 
4-8
Themes: future, imagination, family

Opening: see below

Summary: (from my library catalog) Troubled because her brother has told her that the future of Earth is bleak, a little girl goes to her grandmother who assures her that there are many possible futures and encourages her to use her imagination to explore some of the alternatives.

I like this book because: I have to say I fell in love with the grandmother here! We try to protect children from terrible things yet inevitably they will hear about them and I was glad to see the main character sought out advice from her grandmother, but reflected and made her own way in dealing with them. Heavy stuff tackled in such a creative way – plus I am a sucker for all his books, must say!

Resources/activities: reading this book together will open all the cans of worms and leading all readers to discuss everything – what an opportunity! Take it! Read other books by Yoshitake

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

PPBF: Owl Babies

Author: Martin Waddell
Illustrator:
 Patrick Benson
Publisher: Candlewick, 1992
Age: 
2-6
Themes: owls, siblings, separation anxiety
Opening: Once there were three baby owls: Sarah and Percy and Bill.

Summary: (from my library catalog) Three owl babies whose mother has gone out in the night try to stay calm while she is gone.

I like this book because: it’s a great story to study for picture book writers! Yes, it’s a classic favorite that warms the heart, and its simplicity has so much to offer. The opening line: the sole focus is on the babies, not the mother/family; the names are listed without a comma which shows the reader the mother’s love is equal and unconditional. And the name choices, the older sibs have two syllables, the littlest only one – and it’s a nickname a pun! Already I know Bill will be the one to steal my heart! (Please let me know what else you may see.)

Resources/activities: listen to their calls here: Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. If you are in a classroom setting – even a virtual one – this would be a nice piece to act out, with a chance to discuss how voice and intonation can contribute to the drama of a play.

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

PPBF: Bunny in the Middle

Author: Anika Denise
Illustrator:
 Christopher Denise
Publisher: 
Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt and Co, 2019
Age: 
3-7
Themes: Siblings, family life, rabbits
OpeningWhen you’re ihn the middle…you’re not the oldest and you’re not the youngest. You are right in between .

Summary: (from my library catalog) Illustrations and easy-to-read text celebrate the joys of being the middle child in a loving family of rabbits.

I like this book because: I’m a middlest child, and can identify with every whisker twist of this in between bunny. The illustrations themselves are lighting up all the adorable markers in my brain, but feeling noticed is what made me fall in love. I would have worn the pages onion-skin-thin had I had a book like this when I needed it.

Resources/activities: list the pros and cons of different positions in the family – maybe even include parents!; discuss within a class or larger group, reform new ‘family’ groups with oldest, middle, youngest, twin, members – we might find we are more able to listen to the woes of a friend over a sibling; talk about what positions our parents, grandparents, teachers, guardians had in their families and see if their feelings are the same today as they might have been in the past.

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

PPBF: Tell Me a Mitzi

One more book celebrating women in children’s literature for the Women’s History Month in 2019!

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Author: Lore Segel
Illustrator:
Harriet Pincus
Publisher:
Dover, 2017, orig. published by FSG in 1970
Age:
4-8
Themes: siblings, families, city life
Opening: “Tell me a story,” said Martha. Once upon a time (said her mother) There was a Mitzi.

58FC025C-CC40-43EF-BCC8-56C7DF5C3101Summary: (from my library catalog) Three household adventures in the life of Mitzi include an intended trip to grandmother’s, sharing a family cold, and reversing the President’s motorcade..

6477939B-0E91-41EC-A0C9-CB2E88E24CE8I like this book because: it transported me back to my own childhood, growing up just outside of New York City! And considering the pub date, it’s likely that the best librarian in the world, Mrs. Nienburg, read it to us in school. And she would have because it’s well written and funny! I love a book that pushes you to read pout loud from the get go, makes you want to ‘act’ it out in the telling, give it an amplifier. There are not very many of those that do it so well.

C4FF408B-E49D-478E-9FBA-06912E0067E7Resources/activities: kids love to hear family stories, things they can’t remember themselves, but are fully aware that they exist! Share them! Listen! Take the time and allow kids in a group to share theirs – because, as Simone Weil once said, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

E32B942C-CEE0-4A26-9A03-22EC6A4D39DEFor 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: I Do Not Like Books Anymore!

CD43691B-C78F-46F6-B61A-1B36280C5716Author/Illustrator: Daisy Horst
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2018
Age: 3-7
Themes: siblings, reading, books
Opening: Natalie and Alphonse really liked books and stories.

4621BE25-012C-4A13-A5DF-D09C60149840Summary: (from my library’s catalog/amazon) Natalie and Alphonse REALLY like books. So when it’s time for Natalie to learn to read, she thinks it will be exciting — she can have all the stories in the world now, and even read them to Alphonse. But when Natalie gets her first reading book, the letters look like squiggles and it isn’t even a good story; it’s just about a cat that can sit. “I do not like books anymore!” Natalie declares. But she still wants to make up stories. With Alphonse’s help, can she find a way to turn a love of telling stories into a love of reading stories?

07A3DCBC-3C89-446A-8657-C32B8C537884I like this book because: It’s an adorable take on the trials and tribulations of learning to read. For my daughter it was such a chore, and for my son the words danced on the page, so I can easily see how reader’s will identify with Natalie’s plight. The illustrations are cute yet not too sweet and very easy for picture readers!

FA1C9E18-8CF0-4809-8A7E-5EF2F950721BResources/Activities: make a story with pictures and have a reading writer help put down the words, just like the siblings did in this book; create your own stories using toys of your own; make a display for your favorite book, using props, drawings, even food!

8E563E15-FA86-418C-BD82-AA245FC51C5BFor more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE

PPBF: Danny McGee Drinks the Sea

DannyMcGeecover.jpgAuthor: Andy Stanton
Illustrator: 
Neal Layton
Publisher: 
Schwartz & Wade2016 (Orig publ. by Hodder Children’s Books, 2016)
Age: 
4-8
Themes: siblings, humorous stories, stories in rhyme
OpeningOne summer’s day, Danny and Frannie McGee hopped into a car and drove down to the sea.

DannyMcGee1Summary: (from my library catalog) When Danny’s sister doubts his boast that he can drink the entire sea, he not only proves he was right, he swallows everything else in sight.

DannyMcGee1bI like this book because: The humor and read-aloud-ability are the super-powers of this book. I really want to share it with my storytime crew, and though I wonder if the youngest might not catch some of the humor, it might just be worth trying! And summer is almost over – good time for us land-locked-lubbers! The illustrations are fun, bright and energetic, but in a few spots some interesting details are too close to the gutter – sorry I noticed at all, but hey, I notice stuff!

DannyMcGee2Resources/Activities: Read companion stories that have to do with eating, like I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie/Jackson and Schachner, The Runaway Dinner/ Ahlberg and Ingman, Stop That Pickle!/ Armour and Shachat;discuss your favorite foods and how much could be eaten in one sitting; have a mini watermelon eating contest (not as harmful as hotdogs!)

DannyMcGee3For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

DannyMcGeeback

PPFB: Karen’s Opposites

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One of my favorites in celebration of Alice Provensen, who passed away at age 99 just weeks ago, on April 23, 2018. 

Author/Illustrator: Alice and Martin Provensen
Publisher: Golden Press, 1963
Age: 2-5
Opening: (see spread below)
Summary: concept book of opposites.

KarensOpposites2Themes: opposites, siblings, children

KarensOpposites3.jpgI like this book because: It is a PERFECT concept book. Yup. Think I’m exaggerating? Go find a copy and we can talk.

KarensOpposites6Resources: Look for other opposites in your home, classroom. Read more about the Provensen. According to Alice, “we were a true collaboration. Martin and I really were one artist.” Read the NYT obituary here.

KarensOpposites7For 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: Where‘s Halmoni?

F699B63E-8F64-4356-991E-EE17E568AE95.jpegAuthor/Illustrator: Julie Kim
Publisher: Little Bigfoot, 2017
Age: 4-8
Themes: siblings, animals, Korean folktale characters

 

1246E859-B42A-429D-8F06-B616576C1FBAOpening: Halmoni! We are here!

AA8E112C-15AE-4A24-BD76-02E467FCF831Summary: (from my library catalog) Searching for their missing grandmother, two Korean children follow tracks into a fantastic world filled with beings from folklore who speak in Korean. Includes translations and information about the folkloric characters.

427DF8C0-0530-4F49-8E2B-73C36C30BC13Why I like this book: It’s bright, culture- and adventure-packed! This is exactly the kind of book I would have poured over as a kid, looking for the unfamiliar and trying to make sense of it, be it language, gesture, or physical elements. There is a bit of mystery on every beautifully rendered and composed page!

56467CB1-98CE-44BA-B298-E2A8D419A8BE.jpegResources/Activities: read other Korean folktale picture books – HERE is a list; what folktale animals do you already know – how do they compare to those in this book; make a Korean meal, like the red bean soup (porridge) the kids smell when they walk into Halmoni’s home.

C273904C-F395-49F5-90E2-D14ED23E2154.jpegFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.