PPBF: No Roses for Harry!

Author: Gene Zion
 Margaret Bloy Graham
Publisher: Harper & Row, 1958
Themes: dogs, gifts, sweaters
Opening: See images below

Summary: (from Amazon) Harry is the not-too-happy recipient of a handmade sweater, and what makes matters worse is that it’s a sweater with a pattern of roses. Harry does everything he can think of to get rid of that sweater. But when it seems like he’ll never lose the sweater, an unexpected visitor helps him solve his problem…

I like this book because: everyone loves Harry the Dog, but this particular edition from the series is printed on a luminescent yellow paper! (If anyone out there has a first edition or at least a much older copy, please let me know if it also used this paper.) It transforms the reading experience in an unexpected way which fascinates me! The limited color palette in the illustrations is common because of the old printing process at the time it was published, but this yellow paper amplifies the beauty of that simplicity, I cant stop looking, and these photos do not do it justice! That’s it! Please, if you’ve seen this, share your thoughts with me!

Resources/activities: draw with colored pencils or crayons on different colored papers and and compare how it affects the colors you’ve drawn with, or use collage to compare colors; read An Eye for Color, by Natasha Wing and Julia Breckenreid, and Squares & other shapes with Josef Albers (video link).

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

PPBF: Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters

Author/Illustrator: K.G. Campbell
Publisher: Kids Can Press, 2012
Age Level: 5-9 yrs
Themes: guests, sweaters, school mishaps
Opening: Cousin Clara’s cottage was consumed by a crocodile. Luckily, Cousin Clara wasn’t in it.
Summary: (from Amazon) “…when Cousin Clara moves in and knits him truly dreadful sweaters as fast as he can surreptitiously dispose of them, Lester must think of a way to get rid of them for good — or be doomed to look like a clown forever.”

Snapshot 2013-01-14 08-57-45

What I thought: The cover got me…again! The illustrations are marvelous, soft yet edgy, the compositions striking, and her use of color to convey emotion, well, all these things are spot on. The writing is good, and I especially like the alliteration and use of ‘big words’, but the beginning lines promise another story. I wouldn’t mind if K.G. Campbell delivered it to us in another book, but they are out of place here. Still the silliness of the dreaded gifts, the complications and the solution, are strong enough to make this a very enjoyable read for a slightly older audience. One thing I was thrilled to see were a pair of scissors, in use – glad the publisher had the guts to keep that illo in – I won’t tell you too much, but it’s my favorite page!
Resources/Activities: teach a child to knit; Does the thought always count? Lead a discussion on appreciation, and how to react upon receiving gifts one might not like.
For more PPBF picks, go to Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – HERE