Perfect Picture Book Friday – Nugget And Darling

Well, you will all be glad to know that, after 2 days in which Central Hudson did not make any money off the folks on Blueberry Hill, the power came back on yesterday!  Woo-hoo!  We were thankful not to have to do a Little House In The Big Woods version of bathing night… 🙂

The pitch pick poll is coming along swimmingly, but if you haven’t had a chance to vote yet, please hop over if you’d like to!  You’ve got until midnight 🙂

In case anyone is interested, the last thing I did before we lost power on Tuesday was update the Would You Read It list so that it now includes all the working titles.  I think it’s ever so much nicer 🙂  (And yes, I know!  PPBF is next – a much bigger job!)

Clearly, I am suffering from power-outage-induced brain fog or something, because I have nothing else to ramble on about today!  Shocking, I know.  The mind reels.  But there’s nothing for it but to get right on to those Perfect Picture Books 🙂

Nugget & Darling
Written By:  Barbara M. Joosse
Illustrated By:  Sue Truesdell
Clarion Books, 1997, Fiction

Suitable For: ages 5-8

Themes/Topics: emotions (jealousy), learning to adjust, sibling rivalry, consideration of others

Opening:  “When Nell was cold, Nugget kept her feet warm.  When she was sad, Nugget pretended he was a jack-in-the-box.  Sometimes they did magic tricks.  Nell wore a swirly purple cape and waved a sparkly wand.  Nugget wore rabbit ears.”

Brief Synopsis:  Nell and her dog Nugget are best buddies – they play together and share secrets, Nugget cheers Nell when she’s sad and Nell scratches him behind his ears, the place he loves best – until one day Nugget finds a little wet kitten.  Nell takes the kitten home, and suddenly Nugget doesn’t feel like top dog any more.

Links To Resources:  I couldn’t find any online resources for this story – not even one!  But though the “child” characters in this book are a dog and a cat, the theme of sibling rivalry is strong, and this story makes an excellent springboard for discussing feelings of jealousy or displacement that might occur in a family with a new sibling, or any other similar situation that gives rise to these feelings.  The book is particularly helpful because it’s about animals, giving kids a little needed distance from a difficult and uncomfortable topic.  Read the story and ask your kids to tell how they think each of the characters – Nell, Nugget, and Darling – feel.  Ask them who they think has the hardest time.  Talk about differences in perspective.  Encourage them to role play the different characters’ parts – how could Nell or Darling have made things easier for Nugget?  How could Nugget have made things easier for himself?  Do they think one character did things “right” and another did them “wrong”?

Why I Like This Book:  This is a lovely story about remembering what’s important.  Nell and Nugget love each other, but after the kitten comes, Nugget feels displaced, which leads to jealousy and dejection.  Nugget has to learn to accept Darling, and also that Nell has room in her heart for both of them.  Nell has to learn that paying too much attention to the new kitten makes her old friend feel sad, and that it’s important to make sure they both feel loved.  This is a wonderful story for children with a new sibling, or for kids whose best friend may be spending a little too much time with somebody new.

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

So now, if all you delightful PPBF bloggers would kindly put your post-specific links into the list below, we’ll all come visit and stock up our reading list for the weekend!  I can’t wait to see what everyone has chosen this week!

Have a great weekend, everyone, and may the force (of fully functioning electricity and modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing and coffee makers) be with you 🙂

39 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – Nugget And Darling

  1. Stacy S. Jensen says:

    This sounds similar to the Perfect Present (which I believe was on here a couple weeks ago). I'll have to check this one out to see how they compare.

  2. Heather Newman says:

    We LOVE Nugget and Darling!! This is a perfect Perfect Picture Book! Ethan had us read this book so many times in the year that we travelled. It lived in the seat pocket of the truck and was pulled out any time we hit the road or even just ran errands. I'm so happy you picked this one!

  3. Angela Brown says:

    What a darling story. Learning how to adjust is a difficult thing and having a picture book to discuss this topic with a kiddo is very good. Nice pick for PPBF.

  4. Barbara Gruener says:

    Love, love, LOVE Nugget and Darling…. and Barbara Joosse. This summer I got to interview her on Blog Talk Radio on my Let's Talk Character show …. What a delight! I'm going to let her know you're featuring her treasure today! Happy Peace Day,


  5. Clarike Bowman-Jahn says:

    Even the Darling's name is a reminder of love taken away or displaced temporarily. Love your discussion starters, too. This is one book I'll have to find and read. It's on my library list. 🙂

    so glad you have the power back on. Did you at least get extra sleep? 🙂

  6. Jarmila V. Del Boccio says:

    I'm so excited to be a part of PPBF for the first time, Susanna…hope I reviewed the book correctly.
    So glad you are “out of the woods” and into civilization now. Although, I must say, I enjoy power outages. It gives me a cozy feeling, especially in winter, and, I like the challenge of cooking in that situation.
    Have a good weekend!

  7. Vivian Kirkfield says:

    If you don't have any obligations, losing power can actually be fun…but I know it wasn't fun for you, Susanna…glad all is back to 'normal'. You should get an award for 'keeping calm and carrying on'. Thanks for making sure The Tomato Turner pitch got posted!!! 🙂
    What a lovely story…just the kind of message kids need to hear…and parents as well, since sometimes I think they don't realize the depths of a young child's feelings. 😉

  8. Julie Rowan-Zoch says:

    WYRI: Definitely 'ever so much nicer'. Got me with the PPBF cover – look at that face! Enjoy the weird (wired!) circumstances – could inspire your next best PB!

  9. Patricia Nozell says:

    Happy to hear that the power is back (not that you didn't remain powerful without it, but electricity does make life easier). Love the dog theme you've got going here (and the Two Orange Pups give it a big paws up!). Last week Harry & now Nugget & Darling. Seem to recall reading Nugget & Darling when my lad was a wee one (he's now close to 6 ft).

  10. Kim MacPherson says:

    Sounds like a wonderful book, Susanna! Those power outages can really sour things– we've been getting a lot of those lately as well. Hope you keep the lights on!

  11. Amy Dixon says:

    LOL, Susanna…Your comment about bath night on the prairie cracked me up! There are some things that seem appealing about going back to a simpler life, but that is definitely NOT one of them.

    I already love your book pick because it has Nugget in the title. What a fun word to say…nugget!

  12. pennyklostermann says:

    Glad your power-full again! Nugget & Darling sounds darling! Definitely a “need to read” for me!
    I am opting out this week!! I haven't lost power, I just have been traveling and with family and I hate to not be visiting with them instead of on the computer around the clock!!! I WILL be back and I'm missing not posting this week!
    I can't wait to read about all the books. The list of titles is calling my name!

  13. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Yeah, I used to want to wear petticoats and a sunbonnet… what the heck was I thinking? 🙂 One of my daughters calls our dogs Nugget and Snuggles – or Nuggy and Snuggy as the case may be 🙂 – which, as you know, has nothing to do with their actual names 🙂 Glad you like the look of the book – it's one of our family faves 🙂

  14. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    You're so right, Patricia – two dog books in a row and I didn't even think of that until you mentioned it… I guess it's because dogs are people too 🙂 And yes, it's alarming how those wee ones are suddenly 6 ft and in college. (Well, no one in my house is 6 ft., but you know what I mean :))

  15. Patricia Tilton says:

    What a lovely cover on the book. It's very inviting. Love the message about jealously when a kitten appears and upsets the balance of attention. There are a number of books with similar themes today. Good read for kids. Great choice.

  16. Carrie Finison says:

    I loved your review, Susanna. I came across this book last spring when I was doing research for my own story with a theme of sibling rivalry. I thought it was great and you got it exactly right — by making it about the pets instead of real people, it adds a little distance for kids that can give them perspective.

  17. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    I'm so glad you're joining us, Jarm! I'm WAY behind visiting today… sometimes real life gets in the way of blogging and there's just nothing you can do about it! 🙂 Can't wait to see what you've got 🙂 I totally get what you're saying about the coziness – especially if you have a woodstove or cozy fire in winter 🙂 but my husband always worries (rightly) about the pipes freezing!

  18. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Glad you like the sound of the book, Clar! And sleep? What's that? 🙂 No, if anything I got less sleep because everyone was unsettled, and at one point the phones were beeping as the power tried (and failed) to come back on at 4 in the morning… But it's all a distant memory now and hopefully we can catch up 🙂

  19. Kirsten Larson says:

    What a wonderful way to talk about sibling rivalry! I just wanted to say again how much I appreciate this resource. I will be ordering some new books for Finley's preschool class, and I know I'll use the PPBF database to make sure I have books that fit the teachers' themes.

  20. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    Aw! So sweet! It's fun to hear what inspired people, isn't it?

    Barbara Gruener wrote, in response to Susanna Leonard Hill:

    She wrote me back that she loved your review and that Nugget is actually based on the “soulful dream dog” that found her once.

    User's website
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  21. Susanna Leonard Hill says:

    So glad you liked the review, Kirsten! And Barbara G. wrote to Barbara Joosse whom she had interviewed this summer to let her know about the review, and she said Nugget was based on a “soulful dream dog” who found her once. Isn't that nice to know? So glad if PPB is proving to be a helpful resource – that makes me happy! 🙂 Everyone works hard to make it what it is!

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