Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Top Job

I love Perfect Picture Book Fridays!  The only hard part is choosing just one book to share each week when there are usually about 50 I’d like to add to the list! 🙂

Before we get to today’s choice though, I think we need to have a serious discussion about the Official Perfect Picture Book Snack.  Something Chocolate has already been taken for Would You Read It Wednesdays, so put on your thinking caps boys and girls, and let’s come up with something scrumptious! 🙂  Because I’m a mite peckish!  The comment section is open for suggestion….

But back to PPBF….  I love books that turn out to be something you didn’t expect.  I love getting to the end and thinking to myself, “Wow, that author was clever!”  I love books that I like better every time I read them.  And that is just the kind of book I’m sharing today!

The Top Job
Written By: Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Illustrated By: Robert Neubecker
Dutton Juvenile, July 2007, Fiction based on fact

Suitable For: ages 5-8

Theme/Topic: Careers, Standing up for yourself, Coping with rudeness and bragging.

Opening:  “On Career Day, Mrs. Feeny asked her students to stand up in class and talk about their parents’ jobs.  Emma Sweetpaw said her dad was a UFO hunter.  She said he used a two-ton telescope to search the sky for flying saucers and a giant satellite to receive alien transmissions.”

Brief Synopsis:  One by one, the students stand up and brag about what their parents do – a UFO hunter, a jeweler, a NASCAR driver.  When it’s the narrator’s turn, she says her dad changes light bulbs, which seems pretty tame compared to what everyone else does… until she reveals which lightbulbs!

Links To Resources:  Careers (grades K-5),  Careers (grades 6-8) (these are both link lists to info on all kinds of careers), Amazing Facts About The Empire State Building, Fun Facts About The Empire State Building

Why I Like This Book:  What kid wouldn’t love to have a parent with a really cool and unusual job?  This book is set up very cleverly.  The first few kids to introduce their parents careers all brag – their parents are UFO hunters, jewelers, and NASCAR drivers.  Pretty hard to top!  When it’s the narrator’s turn, she sets them up, saying her dad changes light bulbs.  Of course they make fun… until they find out where the light bulbs are.  The pacing is great, letting the reader discover a page at a time that all isn’t exactly as it seems.  I also love that the story is based on fact – someone really does have to change those light bulbs and it’s a pretty tricky job!  This book offers a great deal of information about a little-known job as well as a great opportunity to talk about all the different careers that are open to kids when they grow up.  It’s interesting, educational, clever, and fun!

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

In other news, I wanted to share the Reach Out And Read report with you but I don’t have the pictures yet, so I’m going to save that for next week.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Perfect Picture Books everyone else chooses today – it’s always so much fun!  And then we all have tons of great new choices for the weekend – to read to our kids, plan upcoming lessons, or to learn from as writers!  What could be more fun than that?  Please post your Perfect Picture Book link below and have a great weekend!

72 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Top Job

  1. Robyn Campbell says:

    The Top Job sounds awesome, Susanna. I love books that surprise too. I have never heard of this one. Adding it to my list, for sure.

    Oh and it would have to be popcorn with tons of butter and salt. But that is what we have always eaten here on the farm. 🙂

  2. Jkpick says:

    The Top Job sounds like a wonderful book to help children start a dialogue with their parents. Though I knew what my dad did for a living, I would've never thought to ask him to explain it to me. Since chocolate is out of the question, my next choice is Nilla Wafers. Our pediatrician always gave them out, so I nicknamed them “Doctor Cookies,” and they're also great with milk.

  3. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    Love this book, Susanna!! I grew up in NYC, so the Empire State Building has special meaning for me…and I enjoy presenting books to kids that are based on true happenings. Also, most kids don't really know what their parents “do”…this book might be a springboard for a kindergarten or higher grade level discussion on careers. What a great choice!

    Love Robyn's idea of popcorn…I have a BIG bowl EVERY night…air-popped, with a little olive oil, sea salt and a dash of sugar…kind of like Kettle Corn…but healthier than what you get ready-made in the bag or micro box. I'd say ice-cream…but that just gets consumed too quickly for the number of calories it has. 🙂

    I've been tweeting and posting on my FB page all of the PPBF posts, trying to get the word out about this unbelievable resource that you are providing! By the way, my Twitter account was messed with…had to change my password…and several of the PPBF group got tweets from the me that wasn't really me…sorry about that.:(

  4. Joanna Marple says:

    I wanted to suggest something savory, so I think popcorn is a great idea.

    What an excellent book, that is a resource in so many ways. I was always so embarrassed telling my father's profession at school. he was a scrap metal merchant, and half the parents in my class were dons at Cambridge University!!

    I think I would learn a lot from this book myself, and I like the way the author leads and teases into the facts.

  5. Loni Edwards says:

    I love books with surprise endings! This one sounds like a lot of fun. Especially opening the door for conversations about jobs and careers. Great review Susanna!

    Official snack? hmmmm I am a big fan of chocolate, but my second favorite treat? Cupcakes! 😀

  6. Beth Stilborn says:

    This book sounds great — love the way the unassuming job turns out to be truly impressive.

    Milk-and-cookies sounds like such a picturebookish snack, and with something like that, if a person really wanted to sneak some chocolate in, they could have chocolate chip cookies. (No one would want my usual snack of plain yogurt followed by a bowl of spoonsize shredded wheat…)

  7. Renee LaTulippe says:

    That's a pretty neat book, Susanna! I remember when I lived in NYC, there was a special on TV about the guy who changes the bulbs. I thought it was fascinating, and so cool to think about him up there all alone, surveying the city, changing bulbs so at night we saw pink or green or red, white, and blue. I am all for books that show that the possibilities for our lives are endless!

    I am making my lemon cake today, so I'll be having that. It is divine.

  8. Catherine Johnson says:

    What a fab book. It makes you wonder how the author was motivated to pick that topic 🙂 The cover looks so fresh too. Can't wait to see pictures from your reading event.

  9. Laura Marcella says:

    I really want to read this picture book now and find out!! I love it when authors write something completely different and new that kids can learn from. Looks like a great book!

    Have a wonderful weekend, Susanna!

  10. This Kid Reviews Bks says:

    Great PPB! It sounds like a lot like a picture book I'd like! It'd be cool to hear about all these different (and wacky) jobs!
    I think we should have Cheesecake! To be exact, my Aunt India's Cheesecake! Aunt India? Can you make a lot of Cheesecake on Thursdays and send them to Susanna Leonard Hill? Thanks! 😉

  11. Penny Klostermann says:

    This book does sound very clever. I am looking forward to reading it.

    Does it have to be a snack?? I'm thinking…since I start reading PPBF in the morning…it could be something I eat in the morning. Cereal doesn't sound too exciting. Granola bar doesn't sound too exciting. Bacon and eggs sounds a little better…But, if I had a dream breakfast…how about cinnamon brioche french toast with butter, maple syrup, blueberries, strawberries, and just a dollop of whip cream?

  12. Heather Newman says:

    Great choice this week! There are so many jobs out there keeping our society running that we don't hear about. I love thinking about how things get done and who does them.

    I vote for a fruit based snack – fruit tarts, fruit parfait, fruit on cheesecake, pear tarts, apple pie, peach cobbler. I may have to do some baking today!

  13. Tracy Bermeo says:

    First things first, and for me that almost always means food! I vote fruit for a shack. I think it would balance out Wednesday's chocolate. 🙂
    This looks like a great book Susanna. Kids do a lot of comparing and knowing how to deal with that is important. It also show that things we take for granted (like lightbulbs always being lit) perhaps shouldn't be. What if no one did that job? Excellent choice this week, as usual.

  14. Iza Trapani says:

    Sounds like a wonderful book, and reassuring for kids who may think their parents jobs are weird! As for snacks- well I'd be up for something savory too- like guacamole and chips. And then some of Renee's lemon cake after that 🙂

  15. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I think you would like it, Erik. It's really well done! As for cheesecake, I LOVE cheesecake! My brother makes awesome cheesecake, but only once a year at Christmas! Maybe we should have a battle of cheesecake and see whose is better – my brother's or your aunt's – we can be the judges 🙂

  16. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    The author actually saw a newspaper headline about this topic and that's what gave her the idea! Cool, isn't it? And I got a sample of the pictures in collage form – too small to post, so I'm waiting for next week – but the photographer did a GREAT job!

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Vivian, I grew up in NYC too! And maybe that's why I especially like this book 🙂 Your popcorn recipe sounds delish! Totally have to try that! Thank you so much for all you do spreading the PPB word – I really appreciate it!!! 🙂

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    You know, it's funny – my parents were lawyers, which I knew, but I never really knew exactly what they did except that it kept them busy long hours! I think any book that facilitates a discussion of possible career choices – what's out there and what's involved – is extremely valuable. As for Nilla Wafers, that would not be my choice (unless they were dipped in dark chocolate :)) but you can eat all you want 🙂

  19. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    This is really a good book – you'll like it I think. It's a good one to learn from as a writer, too, because it's really well done. I think I want to come live on your farm – I love animals and popcorn with butter and salt 🙂 Maybe I could meet Quacker 🙂

  20. Margaret Greanias says:

    OK, so where does he change light bulbs? I'm totally intrigued. I'm going to borrow this book from the library — I ask my daughter on a weekly basis what she wants to be when she grows up and she'd enjoy reading about what some parents do. We've also talked about bragging lately, so this book doubly applies! Thanks for the review and have a great weekend!

  21. tiltonph says:

    Am not familiar with this book, but it sounds so reassuring for kids who may be embarrassed about what a parent does. And, it exposes kids to all kids of jobs — all are impoprtant. Love books like this fod children.

  22. Ashley Chappell says:

    I've only just discovered your blog and I love the idea of PPBF! These are the kinds of books that I would love to add to a library for my children. I'm looking forward to reading more 🙂

  23. Jarm Del Boccio says:

    Sounds like a winner, Susanna!  I've visited the Empire State Building, and was afraid to look over the edge of the observation deck, let alone change a lightbulb.  But, someone has to do it.  What a fascinating look into the subject!  As for a PB Friday treat…I vote for a cinnamon scone.

  24. Amy Dixon says:


    just to be clear, my vote is for popcorn. 🙂

    This book sounds really great. I love finding picture books that are good for a little bit older child (three of mine are in the 5-9 age range). Thanks, Susanna!

  25. Clarike Bowman-Jahn says:

    OH! It makes me cringe with worry about when my boys had to tell others about my job as a nurse. You see, I never thought the gross jobs of nursing was gross until my boys told me to stop talking about them at dinner! lol

    Love this selection. I'm sure the lessons are as valid for the parents as well as the kids. 🙂

  26. Coleen Patrick says:

    Love the sound of that book!
    I am really hungry so I've already thought of a dozen snacks. The first to come to mind is a cinnamon roll with plenty of frosting. Although I'd need a nap if I ate one of those right now! 🙂

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