PPBF: Worms

WormsCoverAuthor: Bernard Friot; translation: Yvette Ghione
Illustrator: Aurélie Guillerey
Publisher: Kids can Press, 2015; Originally published under Asticots, by Éditions Milan, 2010.
Age: 4-7
Themes: worms, manners, humorous stories
Opening: I was bored. SO bored! My father had invited the senior executives form the factory to dinner and made me join them.

Worms1Summary: (from the publisher) A hilarious picture book tale of a small boy’s mischief, with a sly take on what it wreaks in the world of the grown-ups.

Worms2Why I like this book: This hilarious depiction of a small narrative ‘incident’ is a perfect example of what an illustrator can do to amplify the story through deceptively simple gestures and details. Bravo! I’m sure the kids will laugh out loud with this one, but it may make a few more suspicious of their dinner salads!

worms3Resources/Activities: This book provides an interesting opportunity to discuss past and present practices of work associates and families: why would a boss invite his workers home for a dinner? Have workers invited their bosses? For what purpose? Together read, How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell.

Worms4.pngFor more Perfect Picture Book picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

 

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.

PPBF: Superworm

Author: Julie Donaldson
Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine, 2012.
Ages: 4-8yrs
Themes: stories in rhyme, worms, heroes
Opening: Superworm is super-long. Superworm is super-strong. Watch him wiggle! See him squirm! Hip, hip, hooray for SUPERWORM!
Summary: (from Amazon) Toad in trouble? Beetle in a jam? Never fear — Superworm is here! And he’s wiggling to the rescue! But when Superworm is captured by a wicked Wizard Lizard, will his friends find a way to help their favorite superhero escape?

I like this book because: I would have picked this up based on the author-illustrator team alone. Loved every one I have gotten my hands on yet. But a super-hero worm? Come on! How could I not? And this one does not disappoint! Perfect rhythm and rhyme makes you want to get up and sing for this new kind of hero and his gang of insect cohorts. The best is, all his super powers are his own super but natural qualities, stretched just a little for this adventure tale.

Resources/activities: This is all a teacher would need to get a first or second grade class excited about an insect unit; make your own Superworm with pipe cleaners, or from Dad’s knee socks – even grandma’s old stockings and a marker; go on an earthworm discovery tour in a garden – lift rocks, leaf piles or fallen branches; download a coloring page from Scholastic – HERE

 

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

PPBF: Bad Apple

Author/Illustrator: Edward Hemingway
Publisher: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, 2013
Genre: fiction
Themes: apples, worms, friendship
Age Level: 3 to 5yrs
Opening: Mac was a good apple.
Synopsis: (From the publisher) When Mac, an apple, meets Will, a worm, they become fast friends, teaching each other games and even finishing each other’s sentences. But apples aren’t supposed to like worms, and Mac gets called “rotten” and “bad apple.” At first, Mac doesn’t know what to do–it’s never easy standing up to bullies–but after a lonely day without Will, Mac decides he’d rather be a bad apple with Will than a sad apple without.
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Why I like it: I picked this off the hold’s shelf (yes, my second home), and sat under the perfect-shade-of-blue sky of a fall day in Colorado. If you can read this under the same conditions, do so. The pictures reflected my reality. And how could anyone resist the main character’s big seedy eyes! A cute fellow smack in the middle of an ideal setting with plenty of crisp wit to keep the pages turning! Read this outside and you might have the same luck: as I turned the last page, a very small patron walked by and said, “Hi. What’s your name?” His was James. And this little worm invited me home to watch movies. Next time I’ll take him up on the offer – of friendship!
Resource/Activity: Apple activities: picking, bobbing, peeling, cider making, baking – you name it! Have children discuss unlikely friendships, and what they might offer that could differ from ones they already know. Great for first graders learning about seeds, orchards and insects – beneficial and not. And in the art room: discuss complimentary colors and harmonies.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! If I don’t reply soon, it’s because I’ll be attending the RMC-SCBWI conference in Golden, CO this weekend!
For more PPBF picks and teacher/parent resources and activities, go to the list on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog – HERE