Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Great Thanksgiving Escape

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!!!

Even as you read this, I shall be driving to the Green Mountains, accompanied on my journey up my my trusty Audible version of A Storm Of Swords (Book 3 in A Song of Ice and Fire – you know, Game of Thrones :)), and accompanied on my journey back by child #5! 🙂  And by the time we get home, child #3 will be there too!  I love the holidays and having the kids home! I can’t wait!!! 🙂  I have baked Heath Bar brownies in preparation…which I sampled…and they are GOOD! 🙂

So although I shall be nowhere near my computer today, I will be with you in spirit for PPBF.  I hope you’ll enjoy this entertaining Thanksgiving offering!

Title: The Great Thanksgiving Escape
Written & Illustrated By: Mark Fearing
Candlewick, September 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: family, holidays (Thanksgiving), humor

Opening: “It was another Thanksgiving at Grandma’s.
“You can play in here with the rest of the kids,” Gavin’s mother told him.  “We’ll call you when the turkey’s ready.”
“Have fun!” Gavin’s dad called.  
But Gavin knew it was not going to be fun.  Not fun at all.

Brief Synopsis: While waiting for the Thanksgiving turkey, Gavin is supposed to play with his cousins.  But most of them are drooling, stinky babies.  No fun!  He and his cousin Rhonda plan their escape to the swing set in the back yard, but it’s not easy to navigate the perils of a family get-together!

Links To Resources: Turkey Songs, Poems, and Finger Plays; Turkey Coloring Pages; play Duck, Duck, Turkey 🙂

Why I Like This Book:  Anyone who has ever been to a family get-together knows about the football-watching uncles gathered around the TV, the cheek-pinching aunts just lying in wait, and the annoying little cousins who demand attention and entertainment 🙂  This story is drolly told from the point of view of the kids who realize that “sometimes you have to make your own fun.”

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

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a wonderful, happy weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Ragweed’s Farm Dog Handbook

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

You’ll all be thrilled to know that my stove has been successfully installed!

(I know you were waiting with bated breath to find out :))

I may have to bake some cookies to see whether the oven works… who can tell? 🙂

You will also be thrilled to know that in spite of days of heavy rain everyone on Blueberry Hill is still above the water level… albeit in our canoe 🙂

Today, for PPBF, I have SUCH a fun book to share with you.  It was love at first read for me.  This book surprised me and made me laugh out loud – a real winner! – and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do!

Title: Ragweed’s Farm Dog Handbook (Learn From The Best!)
Written & Illustrated By: Anne Vittur Kennedy
Candlewick, August 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: Humor, animals (farm)

Opening: “I’m Ragweed.  I’m a farm dog, and I’m really, really good at it.  Most dogs aren’t.  But don’t worry.  You’ll be great.  You have the handbook.

Brief Synopsis: Ragweed sets out to tell you everything you need to know about being a farm dog… mostly, everything that ISN’T your job 🙂

Links To Resources: individually or as a group (in classroom or homeschool) make up your own handbook/story about how to be/do something, for example, Bossie’s Milk Cow Handbook about how to be a milk cow, or Archie’s Wind Up Handbook about how to pitch in baseball.

Why I Like This Book:  It’s cute and funny!  Ragweed is so lovable, and so believable as a character.  He’s a dog, but his behavior is very reminiscent of a preschooler’s 🙂  His handbook focuses on all the things you should NOT do to be the farm dog, and only at the very end does he reveal what the farm dog’s job actually is.  But I’m not telling.  You’ll have to read it to find out 🙂  The illustrations are delightful and perfect for the story, bright and engaging.  Ragweed is so expressive!  I dare you not to love this one.  It made me laugh out loud!

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

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

And now, before you all toddle off to your weekends, I want to give you a heads up that I will be posting something interesting on Monday (even though I don’t post most Mondays these days) so be sure to check in… I don’t think you’ll want to miss it! 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Marilyn’s Monster

Woo hoo!  It’s Friday!!!

And you know what that means, boys and girls…

It’s time for Perfect Picture Books!

What with Halloween coming up and all, I thought a book about monsters would be very appropriate, even if it isn’t specifically Halloweenie. 🙂  I loved this book from the opening sentence.  I hope you will too!

Title: Marilyn’s Monster
Written By: Michelle Knudsen
Illustrated By: Matt Phelan
Candlewick, March 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: patience/waiting, monsters, doing what you know is right

Opening: “Some of the kids in Marilyn’s class had monsters.  It was the latest thing.  Marilyn didn’t have a monster.  Not yet.  You couldn’t just go out and get one.  Your monster had to find you.  That’s just the way it worked.”

Brief Synopsis:  Marilyn longs for her monster to find her.  She tries to be patient and be the kind of girl no monster can resist.  But the longer she waits, the harder it gets, until finally Marilyn takes matters into her own hands.  And it’s a good thing she does!

Links To Resources: Marilyn’s Monster Story Time Kit; Q&A with Michelle Knudsen and Matt Phelan

Why I Like This Book: Oh, gosh!  Where to begin?  The story is wonderfully original and entertaining, and relates to a theme all kids can understand – having to wait for things!  Marilyn is so believably child-like in her behaviors and emotions.  The art is delightful, full of wacky monsters that are tons of fun to look at, and Marilyn’s face and body language are so expressive.  Marilyn goes against expectation without being disobedient or breaking any rules, so it’s a nice way to model doing what you know is right, or being true to yourself.  And the resolution is surprisingly sweet.  Across the board, this one is a winner!

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

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can’t wait to see what shows up on this week’s list!

I will be at the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY this weekend, along with Iza Trapani and Nancy Shaw.  Please stop by and see us if you’re in the neighborhood!!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – How The Sun Got To Coco’s House

Hey there, picture book peeps!  Happy Friday! 🙂

I have such a lovely book to share with you today!  And guess what?  As promised, it doesn’t rhyme 🙂  I have noticed something else, though, which is that all three of the books I’ve chosen so far this Perfect Picture Book season have been authored and illustrated by the same person.  Interesting… don’t you think?  Given that all three are new titles, I wonder if this is a reflection of the state of the publishing industry… and if I should learn to draw! (Yeah, okay, stop laughing!) 🙂

Anyway, I hope you’ll enjoy this one!

Title: How The Sun Got To Coco’s House
Written & Illustrated By: Bob Graham
Candlewick, September 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-6

Themes/Topics: nature, writing (personification), language (poetic)

Opening: “It had to start somewhere.  While Coco slept far away, the sun crept up slowly behind a hill, paused for a moment, and seemed to think twice…
before it plunged down the other side and skidded giddily across the water.

Brief Synopsis: The sun comes up and takes a poetic journey across the world to Coco’s house.

Links To Resources: Warmth Of The Sun discussion and activity; Shadow Play classroom activity; measuring solar activity; info about the sun with 17 related links; sun coloring pages; Happy Sunshine Cookie recipeRenewable Solar (with many thanks to Jilanne for the link!)

Why I Like This Book:  How can you not love a book that contains phrases like “skidded giddily across the water”?  The whole story is a gentle, lovely, poetic description of how the sun comes up, travels across the world touching everything in its path with light and warmth, and finally arrives at Coco’s house to spend the day.  It’s a very quiet book, but one that can be enjoyed for the beauty of the language, the deceptive simplicity of the art (wait until you see the pinks and golds), and the feeling of comfort bestowed by the fact that, come what may, the sun rises each morning and makes a new day.

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

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can’t wait to see what treasures await us this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – My Side Of The Car

Happy 2nd-to-last Perfect Picture Book Friday before the summer hiatus, everyone!

Princess Blue Kitty and I have been spending A LOT of quality time together.

(You all remember Princess Blue, right?)
Sorry she has her back to you.  She’s a little camera shy 🙂


I can’t seem to get out of the car.

Every time I think, “Okay, maybe this week I’ll do a little less driving,” I turn out to be wrong!

Today, Princess Blue and I are heading north, and in honor of yet another 5+hours-in-the-car day (at least the third this week) I have chosen a book I love that has a car on the cover, in the title, and as the setting for the story… even though it’s not specifically Princess Blue Kitty… and actually not even blue 🙂

Ready?  Fasten your seat belts because here we go! 🙂

My Side Of The Car
Written By: Kate Feiffer
Illustrated By: Jules Feiffer
Candlewick, April 2011, Fiction
Suitable For: ages 4-8

Themes/Topics: patience, imagination, father-daughter love, optimism

Opening:  “My dad and I are going to the zoo.  We’ve tried to go to the zoo before.  But we never get there.  Something always happens.”

Brief Synopsis:  Sadie and her dad are going to the zoo.  Their plans have been thwarted three previous times, but this time they’re really going.  Except… on the way… it starts to rain.  They can’t go to the zoo in the rain.  But Sadie’s not about to let the fact that her dad sees rain deter her.  I look out my window, and the sun is shining on my side of the car. People are putting on their sunglasses and heading to zoos all over the world on my side of the car.” While her dad sees nothing but rain, Sadie sees people mowing their laws and eating ice cream.  Is it raining or not?  Will Sadie and her dad get to the zoo this time or will they have to wait for another day?

Links To Resources:  Fun Zoo-Related ActivitiesZoo Lessons And Activities, a page in the back of the book tells the true story of what happened (which is always fun :))

Why I Like This Book:  Anyone who has lived with kids knows that their perception of reality is not necessarily the same as yours… especially when they really want something! 🙂  What’s wonderful about this book is both Sadie’s determined optimism and her father’s patience and his loving understanding of how she needs to cope with her disappointment.  This book is also delightful because it’s written and illustrated by a father-daughter team about an incident that actually happened.  I’m not going to tell you whether they get to the zoo or not, though.  You’ll have to go read the book 🙂

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

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!

Have a super-fantastic weekend, everyone!!!  And feel free to share in the comments how much quality time you’ll be spending with YOUR cars 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – E-I-E-I-O How Old MacDonald Got His Farm [with a Little Help from a Hen]

Happy Friday, Folks!

While I was writing up this post, my ever-vigilant dogs suddenly roused themselves from a sound sleep to bark and snarl and hurl themselves at the french doors that look out on the back yard.  Assuming such behavior could only mean an invasion of some type, I went to investigate.  Was the bear up from his long winter’s nap?  Had a pack of hungry coyotes dared to breech The Perimeter?  Were we being attacked by giant meatball-headed spaghetti people from Mars?

Shockingly, no!

Here was the cause of the alarm:

One of last year’s babies, looking a little scruffy in between
winter and spring coats

My dogs take their duty as Protectresses of the Family Homestead a little too seriously sometimes 🙂

I did not let them out.  I figured this little miss could use some green grass after the long winter.  So she snacked and the Protectresses sulked and I went back to writing this post.

This is just a little sample of the kind of action-packed, emotionally-charged, wild and crazy life we live up here on Blueberry Hill 🙂

Although Tuesday night’s snow is still melting, I insist on believing it is spring and I have a fun, spring-appropriate title to share with you all today which is especially fitting in view of the wildlife on my lawn that makes this place feel like a farm (of sorts :))!  (And no jokes about the funny farm! :))

Title: E-I-E-I-O How old MacDonald Got His Farm [with a Little Help from a Hen]
Written By: Judy Sierra
Illustrated By: Matthew Myers
Candlewick, February 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: composting, gardening, perseverance, innovation

Opening: “Old MacDonald had a house E-I-E-I-O!  Around that house there was a yard MOW MOW MOW MOW MOW!  MacDonald said, “I love my yard, but mowing grass is mighty hard.”  So off he went to get a goat E-I-E-I-O!

Brief Synopsis: In case anyone was wondering how Old MacDonald got his farm, it all started with too much mowing.  Old MacDonald’s solution? Get a goat.  But the goat only ate the edges and then chewed a hole in MacDonald’s hedges.  Luckily, a smart little red hen came along and taught Old MacDonald a thing or two about sustainable farming 🙂

Links To Resources: Do The Rot Thing: A Teacher’s Guide To Compost Activities, all about Worms, Recycling and Composting, How To Plant Seeds With Kids

Why I Like This Book:  I always love new twists on familiar stories.  Judy Sierra has taken Old MacDonald to a whole new level.  The story is humorous (and so is the art – be sure to read the hen’s diplomas and all the picket signs :)) and young readers will learn about composting and growing a garden right along with Old MacDonald.  This is a great story for spring, and a wonderfully fun way to introduce kids to the concept of green farming.

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

PPBF peeps, please leave your post-specific links in the list below so we can all come see what fabulous books you’ve chosen this week!  And to all who celebrate, Happy Easter and a belated Happy Passover.

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! 🙂