PPBF: Bea & Mr. Jones

Author/Illustrator: Amy Schwartz
Publisher: Harcourt, 1982
Age: 
4-8
Themes: parent-child relationships, school, work

Opening:  “I’ve had it with Kindergarten!” Bea Jones said to her father as he was sitting down to breakfast. “I’ve had it with bean bag games! I’ve had it with clothespin games! I’ve had it with sitting on that dumb green rug and playing that dumb colored lollipop game! I’m ready for a change.”

Summary: (from my library catalog) Tired of kindergarten, Bea Jones trades “jobs” with her father, who works in an office.

I like this book because: At first glance, I somehow thought I might not like this one. The perspective on the cover gave me the heebie-jeebies! But I opened it and the simple but effective endpapers hooked me in – thank goodness. There are so many wonderful details like hidden artwork (kitchen calendar, bosses office) in the pencil illustrations, so many fun pattern clashes (see the image directly below!) I spent a lot of time looking for more on each page! It’s basically a Freaky Friday story (published 10yrs earlier) with a cuter ending! Try to find it – worth the effort!

Resources/activities: draw boxes or shapes of black and white patterns directly next to each other; have a chat with a parent or guardian about what it would be like to switch places; dress each other up as if you would!

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

I’m also over at Beth Anderson’s blog today talking about how my forthcoming character-driven fictional picture book became “informational fiction” – with BACK MATTER!

PPBF: Mel Fell

Author/Illustrator: Corey R. Tabor
Publisher: Balzer+Bray, 2021
Age: 
3-7
Themes: fledglings, kingfishers, interactive-stories

Opening:  see below

Summary: (from my library catalog) …follow Mel on her journey from downward fall to triumphant flight in this tale of self-confidence and taking a leap of faith.

I like this book because: I don’t think you need to be a lover of birds (I am!) or a professional storytime coordinator (I am!) to fall for a book that both introduces a species and is perfect for read-alouds to fall for Mel Fell! I placed a hold on the book because I liked the cover, but knew nothing about it. And because the surprise is so delightful I want new readers to have that same experience, so that’s all you’re getting from me!

Resources/activities: read other books about fledglings, like: A Round of Robins/Hesterman and Ruzzier; My Brother the Duck/Miller and Wiseman; Flight School/Judge; read interactive books together, like: Shake the Tree/Vignocchi, Chiarinotti, and Borando; Get Out of My Bath/Teckentrup

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

PPBF: Louis and Valentine cards

Author/Illustrator: Julie Rowan-Zoch (ME!)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020
Age: 
3-7
Themes: teddy bears, frustration, friendship,

“Undies” Case
endpapers

Summary: (from my library catalog) Tired of the “dangerous adventures” with his human boy, a teddy bear decides to run away but reconsiders when bedtime arrives.

photo from a dear friend (great lighting!)

Why the shameless self promotion: yes, it might be a bit much BUT I wanted to maximize the sharing of the ♥️ Valentine cards to print and color which Tom and I created in time for World Read Aloud Day (2.3.21). That’s it! ♥️ Go to HMH and click on the links to the right under “Available Resources”.

Resources/activities: print out and color 🎁 LOUiS’ Valentine cards and share; make a 🧸teddy with a small towel (see below); have a ☕️🫖 tea party with 🧁cupcakes and invite your friends and stuffed-ones; 🔖tag your most beloved stuffies with contact info; print out LOUiS activity sheets at HMH (click on the links on the right under “Available Resources”.)

lots of how-to videos on youtube

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

AND while I’m at it, here’s another nice review my upcoming book!

PPBF: Raising Dragons

Author: Jerdine Nolen
Illustrator:
 Elise Primavera
Publisher: Harcourt, 1998
Age: 
4-8
Themes: dragons, farm life, friendship
Opening: Pa didn’t know a thing about raising dragons. He raised corn and peas and barley and whet. He raised sheep and cows and pigs and chickens. He raised just about everything we needed for life on our farm, but he didn’t know a thing about raising dragons.

Summary: (from my library catalog) A farmer’s young daughter shares numerous adventures with the dragon that she raises from infancy.

I like this book because: of the way Nolen tells a story. She has the reader believing everything without an ounce of doubt, and identifying with the main character and her firm confidence in her own abilities. Pure magic and an absolute joy to read aloud! Once upon a time I was a parent of young children, and I was reluctant to read long stories to my kids at the end of the day. I realize now I cheated myself from discovering some of the best writing. Don’t miss out. Don’t be a Lazy Julie!

Resources/activities: research all the creatures that are oviparous; compare the shape, color and sizes of eggs; talk about what to do if you should find one in the wild; read more books by Jerdine Nolen!

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

PPBF: Dear Mr.Blueberry

Author/Illustrator: Simon James
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks, 1996, c1991
Age: 
3-7
Themes: whales, letters, teachers

Opening:  see below

Summary: (from my library catalog) A young girl and her teacher correspond about the whale she has discovered in her pond.

I like this book because: it’s an oldie, a classic gem, and always reads fresh as a daisy!! Soft illustrations convey the mood and feelings Emily seems to experience, which also lend contrast to Mr. Blueberry’s tone of disbelief! poor Mr. Blueberry!

Resources/activities: read books and look up facts about blue whales; write a letter to one of your teachers, one of your classmates, or a relative or friend; draw something you would hope to find in a pool in your backyard or on the roof of your apartment building!

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

Also happy to share a nice review my upcoming book received from Project MUSE!

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: At Mary Blooms

Author/Illustrator: Aliki
Publisher: Greenwillow, 1976
Age: 
2-6
Themes: cause-and-effect stories, animals

Summary: (from my library catalog) When pet-collector Mary Bloom’s doorbell rings, bedlam is let loose. But her young neighbor has some big pet news of her own.

I like this book because: It’s such sweet and simple fun to read aloud. Sometimes this much repetition can be tedious, but this story is just right! I appreciate the very expressive drawings done with just a few lines and a limited palette. A real pity that this book is out of print – it’s really nice for beginning readers too.

Resources/activities: create your own cause-and-effect stories using imagined pets or people you know from your neighborhood; Read Overnight at Mary Bloom’s/Aliki, AND read more C-a-E picture books: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie/Numeroff, Stuck/Jeffers, No, David!/Shannon; read about the Mary Bloom who inspired the books: HERE

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

PPBF: 13 Stories About Harris

Author/Illustrator: Amy Schwartz
Publisher: Holiday House, 2020
Age: 
3-7
Themes: best friends, friendship, neighborhoods

Opening:  See image above

Summary: (from my library catalog) Thirteen vignettes reveal the everyday life of Harris, who makes butter with his mother, attends the birthday party of his best friend, Ayana.

I like this book because: It’s so everyday! It celebrates the normal things a child experiences with such gentle humor that the whole book just melts your heart in the sweetest way (also because I am sorely missing my neighbors that moved a few months ago!). I hope others read it – it’s a huggable!

Resources/activities: this book put me in the mood for chalk drawing, but I recently found out that colored chalk is really bad for our water system and has bad effects for aquatic organisms. So while I will be searching for eco-friendly alternatives, I might gather sticks and stones and create a scene on the sidewalk instead and invite your kid(s) to do the same! Check out the work of Andy Goldsworthy for inspiration:

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

PPBF: Shirley Chisholm is a Verb!

Author: Veronica Chambers
Illustrator:
Rachelle Baker
Publisher: Dial , 2020
Age: 
5-8
Themes: US Congress, African-American women, legislators
Opening: (see opening pages below).

Summary: (from my library catalog) A picture book biography celebrating the life and contributions of Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress, who sought the Democratic nomination to be the president of the United States.

I like this book because: I admire the way the author was able to combine a straightforward biography with such a strong layer focused on language and education, which ties back to who this courageous woman really was, and leaves the reader so inspired at the same time. I understand that a spread was included to show that others were standing on her shoulders in their efforts to get elected, but in my personal opinion I don’t believe some of those represented on the pages come remotely close in integrity and purpose, so I would rather have seen other voices more in line with Chisholm’s path. I certainly know kids feel inspired to learn more about her work after reading the book!

Resources/activities: explore the Kids in the House website HERE; more about Shirley Chisholm HERE; 10 ways kids too young to vote can get involved in elections HERE

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

PPBF: Flix

Author/Illustrator: Tomi Ungerer
Publisher: Tomi Ungerer/A Treasury of 8 Books, Phaidon, 2016
Age: 
4+
Themes: treasury, story collection, Tomi Ungerer

Opening:  Flix: Mr. Zeno Krall was a happy cat. He was well off, he loved his wife Cola, and they were healthy. He was even happier when she announced, “ Darjeeling, I am expecting!”

Summary: (from my library catalog) Flix, a dog born to cat parents, finds himself able to exist in two cultures, marries a cat, and campaigns for mutual respect between cats and dogs.

I like this book because: I appreciate this collection of 8 of Tomi Ungerer’s stories for all the extras: details about each one as to their origins, early sketches, process, and hidden tidbits! I’ve always admired his work and was happy to find this volume through my library. Flix is one of my favorites for the ability of the characters to adapt to absurdity as well as hardship, and above all getting along with people and family members, not just tolerating differences. But above all the humor in his illustrations!

Resources/activities: read all 8 stories and especially the “Behind the Scenes” details in conversation with Phaidon editor, Maya Gartner.

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