Perfect Picture Book Friday – Brown Is Warm, Black Is Bright

Just a smidge behind with the post this morning (oops! 😊) but woohoo! It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a book I thought was gorgeous on this level. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I highly recommend finding a copy because it is not to be missed!

Let’s have a look, shall we?

Title: Brown Is Warm, Black Is Bright

Written By: Sarah L. Thomson

Illustrated By: Keith Mallett

Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers, August 30, 2022, lyrical fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Brown, Black, natural world, dreams

text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown

Opening: “Brown is crisp. . .
crunch and crackle,
catch me as I fall.
Black is splash. . .
Spray! Splatter!
to send a puddle flying.”

text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “Have you ever paused to savor the power and beauty of brown and black? Brown is strong as a tree and sweet as honey in tea; black is the hopeful promise of a seed and the grace of a bird in flight… and the quiet space where dreams begin.”

text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown

Links To Resources: what do Black and Brown (or other colors) mean to you? How do they make you feel? Draw a picture of it, or write a haiku or a poem about it. What do you think of when you think of Black or Brown (or other colors)? Recipes to make? Make them! Flowers or vegetables to plant? Plant them! What is one dream you have? Is it something you’d like to share? Or something to hold in your heart just for you?

text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown

Why I Like This Book: This book is a perfect example of what picture books should be – a beautiful marriage of text and art. It is a celebration of Black and Brown, but also of love and hope and wonder, strength and dreams and play, warmth and safety, and the beauty of the natural world. The words are lyrical and evocative, and the art is warm and lush and gorgeous. It makes you feel the text. And Keith Mallett’s skill with facial expression is remarkable. A lovely read that will create a feeling of calm and safety and encourage children to explore all that the world has to offer outside, and all the dreams they may have inside.

text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown
text copyright Sarah L. Thomson 2022, illustration copyright Keith Mallett 2022, Little Brown

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Little Bear

Hi, Everyone!

Are you ready for this week’s list of Perfect Picture Books? I am! And I have such a sweet one to start you off with!

Title: The Little Bear

Written & Illustrated By: Nicola Killen

Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, June 28, 2022, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: first day of school, apprehension

Opening: “It was the night before school started and Ollie was feeling nervous.
She filled her little bear backpack, ready for the morning, and had one last practice lesson on the way to bed.”

text and illustration copyright Nicola Killen 2022, Paula Wiseman Books

Brief Synopsis: [From the publisher] “The end of summer can be a bittersweet time, and Ollie isn’t sure if she’s ready to go back to school. But the night before her first day back, Ollie dreams about a magical schoolhouse in the woods full of friendly little animals who make learning an adventure. When Ollie wakes up, she can’t wait to go to school!”

text and illustration copyright Nicola Killen 2022, Paula Wiseman Books

Links To Resources: 15 Fabulous Icebreaker Games for Preschoolers; 20 Creative Friendship Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers; if you were going to write a recipe for friendship, what would it be? A teaspoon or kindness? a sprinkle of fun? two heaping cups of great ideas? What do you think are the essential ingredients of friendship?

text and illustration copyright Nicola Killen 2022, Paula Wiseman Books

Why I Like This Book: I am such a fan of Nicola Killen’s books. They are all lovely, sweet, friendly, and comforting, and this one is no exception. Ollie is excited about school, but a little nervous. The night before school begins, she dreams that she follows an owl on a magical journey into the woods, where she finds a little school house filled with friendly animals. A little bear is standing outside looking nervous. Knowing exactly how he feels, Ollie suggests they go in together. One fun activity follows another and everyone has a wonderful day. When Ollie awakens in the morning, she is excited and ready for her first day! The story makes school look so fun and friendly that any young reader who is feeling anxious about school will feel encouraged to give it a try with a positive attitude. The art is charming – so appealing! – with a little cut-out like a magical door at the beginning and end of the journey, and highlights of shiny foil here and there to add sparkle. A sweet, quiet read that will reassure anyone who is apprehensive about their first day of school.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – I Cannot Draw A Horse PLUS Giveaway Winner!

Hi Everyone!

It’s Friday, so you know what that means!

A fabulous list of Perfect Picture Books just in time for the weekend!

But FIRST! I’m happy to announce the randomly selected winner of last week’s giveaway, Rosanne Kurstedt’s beautiful AND I THINK ABOUT YOU!

ANDREA MACK, come on down! YOU are the lucky winner! Congratulations!!! Please email me (you can use the handy contact form in the menu above if you don’t have my email) and let me know your snail mail address so I can send you the book!

Lovely!

Onward!

Today I have a very entertaining book to share called I CANNOT DRAW A HORSE.

Now, I don’t want to brag, but I actually CAN draw a horse.

Look:

I drew that myself – a Susanna Hill original – no artistic training whatsoever!

I know. It’s a gift.

But for those of you who might need a little instruction, (not to mention a fun story) check out this book!

Title: I Cannot Draw A Horse

Written & Illustrated By: Charise Mericle Harper

Publisher: Union Square Kids, October 11, 2022, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: creativity, imagination, self-belief, art

text and illustration copyright Charise Mericle Harper 2022, Union Square Kids

Opening: “This is my shape.
Hello, shape!
“What am I?” asked the shape.
I am a nothing shape.
You are not a nothing shape.
Look!
I can draw a cat.
I want a horse.

text and illustration copyright Charise Mericle Harper 2022, Union Square Kids

Brief Synopsis: The book has a shape. It can make the shape a cat. The cat wants a horse. The book cannot draw a horse, but it can draw lots of other things to give the cat fun and excitement. But the cat still wants a horse. Can the book find a way to supply one?

Links To Resources: the book itself is a fun art resource. The pages are like graph paper, and all of the images are made from simple, easy-to-copy shapes and lines that kids can have fun trying their hands at. Start by trying the ones from the book, then see what you can make on your own! Topic for discussion: how important is it to believe you can do something? Does believing you can do something make you able to do it? Does believing you can’t make it impossible?

text and illustration copyright Charise Mericle Harper 2022, Union Square Kids

Why I Like This Book: For starters, this book is a clever departure from standard story telling. The book itself plays an important role by creating all the images that appear. It begins with a shape that looks like a gumdrop. When the shape complains it is nothing, the book makes it into a cat. The cat demands a horse, which the book says it cannot draw, but it willingly supplies other friends – a squirrel, a beaver, a bunny, and a dog. It provides fun in the form of a pool for splashing and a skateboard for going fast. The cat, however, will not be happy until it gets a horse. So at last the book grudgingly makes an attempt. I will not give away the ending – you must read it for yourself or it will be spoiled – but it made me laugh out loud! This picture book, which is like an introduction to graphic novels, is sure to have kids giggling, and experimenting with shapes to see what they can draw!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊 Practice your horse drawing 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – And I Think About You PLUS A Giveaway!

Howdy, Pardners!

Now that the summer hiatus is over, we’re back to Perfect Picture Book Fridays! And not a moment too soon! I have about 47 books I wanted to share today 😊 Luckily, other PPBF participants are likely to share some of them.

Which reminds me, if you’re one of the dedicated folks who consistently posted Perfect Picture Books all summer, please feel free to add them all to today’s list. That will be wonderful for everyone!

I have a lovely book to share today, one that seems especially appropriate with school just starting. In the story, the mother is at work thinking of her child, and the child is at school thinking of their mom.

AND, as if a glimpse of this beautiful book weren’t enough, we have a giveaway! One lucky person is going to win a copy of AND I THINK ABOUT YOU! All you have to do is leave a comment in the comment section below between now and Wednesday September 14 at 9PM Eastern and you’ll be in the running to be randomly selected. I will announce the winner next Friday.

Title: And I Think About You

Written By: Rosanne L. Kurstedt

Illustrated By: Ya-Ling Huang

Publisher: Kids Can Press, September 20, 2022, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-6

Themes/Topics: family love (mother/child), being apart, reassurance

Opening: “Together we eat breakfast.
I drink my coffee.
You scoop your milk-soaked cereal.”

Brief Synopsis: A mother bear goes through her work day describing what she’s doing while always thinking about her little one, only to come home and discover that her child has been thinking about her too.

Links To Resources:

Special treat! A craft supplied by the author! Thank you, Rosanne!

Why I Like This Book: This book lovingly shows how a mom at work does her job and simultaneously has her child in mind all day long. Though they may be apart, she is always thinking of her little one. The story flows seamlessly between what the mother is doing and thinking and what the child is doing, showing their parallel activities. As the mom reads her emails, she thinks about reading with her child, and on the page turn, her child is in school reading a story. As the mother eats lunch with a friend, she thinks about eating with her child, and on the page turn the child is eating lunch with school friends. This sweet story will reassure any child that whether mom and dad go out to work or work from home, any time they’re separated during the day they are always in their parents minds and hearts. The soft watercolor art captures the tender mood of the story perfectly. A wonderful choice for any bookshelf!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

Author Rosanne Kurstedt

Rosanne L. Kurstedt, Ph.D., has been an educator for over 20 years, supporting learners of all ages. She is the author of several books for teachers, including Teaching Writing with Picture Books as Models and a series entitled 100+ Growth Mindset Comments. Rosanne loves picture books and anything kid-lit so she volunteers as the Assistant Regional Advisor for the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. Her first book Karate Kid (Running Press Kids) was released in 2019 and her second book And I Think About You (Kids Can Press) was released in 2022.

She loves sharing her books and expertise with readers of all ages at various author events (e.g., school visits, festivals, teacher professional development, mom’s groups, etc.)

Rosanne is the founder of The Author Experience (www.TheAuthorExperience.org), a 501(c)(3) organization committed to the transformative power of sharing stories. In collaboration with students, families, and educators, TAE provides sustainable literacy-based experiences that build a culture of literacy—one that elevates connections and delivers lasting impact.

Rosanne lives in New Jersey with her family.

Rosanne’s Social Media:

Web: https://www.rlkurstedt.com/
Twitter: @rlkurstedt
Instagram: @rlkurstedt
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/RLKurstedtAuthor

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – How You Came To Be

So… I’m a little behind today… Let’s just pretend it’s Friday morning, shall we? 😊

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday (where it is not 8:33 PM 😊)!

First off, I am thrilled and excited to announce the winner of the Starry Forest giveaway last week!

Congratulations to Andi Chitty! You get to have a 20 minute Zoom meeting with Robert Agis, the president of the publishing company, to ask anything you want about publishing and even have a chance to share some of your own pitches! Thank you so much to Starry Forest Books, Robert Agis, and Amy Dixon for visiting us last week and offering such a wonderful opportunity!

And now, I have such a beautiful book to show you!

Title: How You Came To Be

Written By: Carole Gerber

Illustrated By: Sawsan Chalabi

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop, an imprint of Penguin Random House, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-4 years

Themes/Topics: prenatal development, nonfiction

Opening: “Before you were born,
a wiggly little cell from another
joined with a little round cell from me.
That’s how you came to be.

Together, these two tiny cells formed
one brand-new cell
that would become YOU.”

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “A mother lovingly describes the sizes and stages of her baby’s month-by-month development inside the womb, and the amazement of experiencing it from the outside.”

text copyright Carole Gerber, 2022, illustration copyright Sawsan Chalabi, 2022, Rise x Penguin Workshop

Links To Resources: there is some very nice back matter in the book with “Helpful Words To Know”, “What Unborn Babies Do”, and “How Babies Are Born”, as well as a Selected Bibliography. The book itself is a wonderful resource.

text copyright Carole Gerber, 2022, illustration copyright Sawsan Chalabi, 2022, Rise x Penguin Workshop

Why I Like This Book: I love this book. It is so beautifully and lovingly written, in a way that is so perfectly accessible to young readers. Instead of focusing on any of the mechanics of conception, which I think would be pretty hard to make appropriate for very young readers, it shows children, in concrete images they can easily envision, how big they were at 1 month, 2 months, etc. By personalizing growth and development, almost in the form of a love letter to the child, it feels immediate and relatable.
Every day you doubled in size.
Soon, you were as big as a pea.
Your heart began to develop
and to beat very quickly.

Children will be captivated by imagining themselves that small, and if they have a sibling on the way, it may help them to feel their soon-to-be-brother-or-sister is more real. If you’re looking for a book that will answer questions about babies without going into the kinds of details you’d like to hold off on until your children are a little older, or if you just want a lovely book that explains a lot about babies in simple, highly appropriate, easy-to-understand words and pictures, this is the perfect choice!

text copyright Carole Gerber, 2022, illustration copyright Sawsan Chalabi, 2022, Rise x Penguin Workshop

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday Special! – Starry Forest Books – A Perfect Picture Book Publisher PLUS A Fantastic Opportunity Giveaway!!!

Break out the fancy coffee mugs and some celebratory chocolate cake for breakfast, my friends! We have a very special edition of Perfect Picture Books today!

In lieu of a book, I have an interview with a publisher who is actively looking to acquire picture books. This is a unique opportunity to get an inside look at a publisher you might not have known about, along with insight into what they’re looking for. In addition, one lucky winner will get to have a 20-minute Zoom call with Robert Agis, President of Starry Forest Books, where you can talk to him about anything in publishing! This is an amazing opportunity to get some insider info on all the things you’ve been wondering about in the publishing world. And don’t forget to practice your pitches, because he’ll definitely ask to hear about what you write and what you’re working on! This giveaway starts today and runs through Wednesday, June 15th! (Details and entry info at the bottom of this post!)

(Also, the Perfect Picture Book List for this week will be down at the bottom as usual, too. I may not be sharing an actual book today, but everyone else is!)

I want to thank Amy Dixon, Editor at Starry Forest books, for taking the time to join us today and give us this wonderful glimpse into an up-and-coming publisher! Thank you, Amy! In addition, she was able to get some responses from the other two acquiring editors, so you get to hear from all three!

First, some general info about Starry Forest Books!

Tell us a little bit about Starry Forest Books and how it came to be.

In 2016, Robert Agis, then an editor at Union Square & Co., collaborated with Barnes & Noble buyers to develop new series and title ideas. Starry Forest Books was a boutique publisher commissioned with actualizing these ideas for Sterling and Barnes & Noble. With creative direction from Robert Agis, Starry Forest developed several series including Baby’s Big World and Classic Stories which immediately proved successful. 

Inspired by Starry Forest’s potential, and with the vision to create distinctive children’s books and media, Robert took over Starry Forest in 2019. He negotiated worldwide distribution through Ingram, started a foreign rights business that includes growing sales in China, Russia, Spain, and elsewhere, and expanded the Starry Forest creative team and support roles to a team of ten. From three modest series sold through one retailer in 2019, the company has expanded to worldwide sales with more than 120 titles published or in development. 

Looking at your website, we can see you’ve done a lot of board book series and classics in the past. What does the trajectory of Starry Forest look like moving forward?

Our vision statement is “Make Something Beautiful” and we plan to continue pursuing that vision with the 20-30 titles we’ll publish each year. This includes the development and growth of our existing brands, like our Baby’s Classics and Gamer Baby series, as well as stand-alone picture books. We will also be expanding into categories such as chapter books and eventually, middle grade fiction! We’re thrilled that our first two stand-alone picture books will be entering the world in August, and we’ll be sharing more about them below!

For the next few questions, we asked the Starry Forest Editorial Team to chime in and give some inside scoop! They are Allison Hunter Hill, Anna Lazowski, and Amy Dixon—ALL both published authors and acquiring editors at Starry Forest Books.

You are here on Perfect Picture Book Friday! We’d love to hear what you look for when evaluating a picture book manuscript.

Anna Lazowski:

A fresh concept, or unique take on something familiar will always make a manuscript stand out. So many manuscripts start out strong but falter partway through. I love it when I get pulled in by the opening lines and the author is able to hold me there as the narrative unfolds. I also look for authors who know how to use emotion to connect with the reader, and understand that half of their story will, ultimately, be told by illustrations. 

Can you tell us about a Perfect Picture Book on your list? What drew you to this story?

Allison Hunter-Hill:

Being an editor is a little like being a parent– I can’t pick a favorite book-child! But I can tell you what I look for in picture books and what drew me to this one. Perfect Picture Books have a “spark” in them that sets them apart. It could be dialogue that makes you giggle and begs to be read out loud like “Not A Book About Bunnies” by Amanda Henke (coming in 2023!). Or a clever text that turns your world upside-down like “The End” by John Bray. Or maybe it’s an old tale that suddenly feels new again, like Valerie Tripp’s lushly re-imagined Greek myths, “Goddesses and Gardens.”

What drew me to Judy Roth’s “Cadence and Kittenfish” was the character of Cadence, herself– a bright, spunky little mermaid who does dance class with dolphins, Tai Chi with the lighthouse keeper, and wants a kitten SO BADLY that she can’t see what’s right under her adorable nose. Judy writes with such a unique, lyrical understanding. Her words are always fresh, surprising, and just begging to be read out loud! As a former librarian, I’m always on the lookout for a great storytime pick!

Illustrations play such a big role in creating a Perfect Picture Book, and there is so much talent to choose from! What did you love about this illustrator, and what made her right for this project?

Allison Hunter-Hill:

Jaclyn Sinquett is such a dream! I had three big requirements in mind when I started looking through illustrator portfolios: enchanting underwater scenes (no flat blues, please!), charming, lifelike girl characters, and the most absolutely irresistible kittens.

I knew Jaclyn was perfect for Cadence when I saw her art for “Sincerely, Emerson” by Emerson Webber. I could just tell that Jaclyn remembered what it was like to be an 8 or 9-year-old little girl– wistful, optimistic, and real. Top that off with her warm, painterly style and delicate detail work, and I was confident she would knock it out of the park. And she did!

The word that comes to mind when I think of Jaclyn is “generous.” Whatever you give her, she multiplies and gives back in abundance. I asked for a rough idea on a color scheme and she pitched a palette based on seaside blown glass and salt-water taffy. I sent her a boring copyright page and she draped it in delicate doodles of sea fronds. I mentioned it would be neat to see Cadence’s room, and what came back was something out of an enchanted mermaid dream: driftwood and coral bunkbeds with sea sponge pillows, a found-anchor nightstand, a delicate seashell tea set, and a literal Saltwater Guitar. 

Follow Jaclyn Sinquett @jsinquett on Instagram for close-ups, art process videos and more!

To me, a Perfect Picture Book illustrator is one who loves the story just as much as you do. Remember being a kid and finding a friend who would 1000% commit to pretending that the floor was molten lava? Or that your lego castle was under seige by giant Barbies? Or that you were both majestic horses with elaborate names like “Moonfire” or “Chestnut Lighting” or “Princess Starhorn”? (Someone please say yes. I’m begging you.) Finding a perfect illustrator is like finding that friend. They aren’t just willing to immerse themselves in a new world with you… they really want to play, too!

What kind of experience can an author or illustrator expect to have with Starry Forest Books?

Amy Dixon:

As a creator myself, I can say that I’ve been quite impressed by the sincere desire that the Starry Forest Team has to connect authentically with creators. Often, when there is interest in a manuscript, we have a Zoom call with creators, agents, editors, and our president, to meet and chat about the story. These have been some of the most enjoyable conversations, because they are about so much more than just a sale. We get to learn about the creators; where they are from, and what inspired them to write this story. We get to hear about what other projects they are working on. We become invested in the creator’s journey and get to explore the potential for us to be part of their growth, both with the existing project, and their overall craft.  And we get to see if there’s chemistry—we have a positive culture at Starry Forest and want that positivity to extend to the creators, and then pour out from our books to the consumer too. The hope is that everyone who crosses paths with Starry Forest Books is better for it. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that a creator that chooses to work with Starry Forest will feel seen, heard, and valued. The passion that our company has to “Make Something Beautiful” is not just about producing a gorgeous book, but also about creating a beautiful experience for the writers and artists we work with.  

Do you have a wish list you can share with us? What types of stories are you looking to publish next? 

Amy Dixon: 

Right now, I am EAGERLY reading submissions! Hint, hint, it’s a great time to submit to me! My team will tell you that I am really loving creative non-fiction right now—teach me something without making me feel like you’re teaching me something! I adore stories about real events that inspire me to be a better human, especially ones featuring kick-ass women. I also would love to see more manuscripts that make me laugh, and where the illustrations tell a whole part of the story that isn’t in the text.  You can see more about the things I love and our submission guidelines on my manuscript wish list.

Anna Lazowski:

I absolutely love reading submissions, because when you find a gem in your inbox, it’s a truly incredible feeling. I’m always looking for a diversity of voices and experiences, and stories that help us understand each other. I love things that are a bit quirky, am a big fan of a well-placed surprise, and have a soft spot for creative use of language. You can find out more about what I’m looking for and check out our submission guidelines on my manuscript wish list

Where can we find you online? 

Website: www.starryforestbooks.com

Twitter: @starryforestbks

Instagram: @starryforestbks

Giveaway! 

We are giving away a 20-minute Zoom call with Robert Agis, President of Starry Forest Books, where you can talk to him about anything in publishing! This is an amazing opportunity to get some insider info on all the things you’ve been wondering about in the publishing world. And don’t forget to practice your pitches, because he’ll definitely ask to hear about what you write and what you’re working on! This giveaway starts today and runs through Wednesday, June 15th!

Enter the Starry Forest Books Giveaway Here!
Use the link to follow @starryforestbks on Twitter and Instagram, retweet the “Giveaway Time” tweet, and tag a fellow Picture Book Enthusiast by commenting on the “Giveaway Time” Instagram post. (You can find links to these posts at linktr.ee/starryforestbks)

Thank you again, Amy, for all this wonderful information and for taking the time to visit with us today! We all so appreciate it!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming. . . 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Butterfly Inn

Welcome to today’s edition of Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I have the most gorgeous book to share!

I love butterflies, and although I’m not nearly as informed and well-organized as the wildlife biologist author of this book or the people in it, I do plant several of the flowers butterflies like, and I am careful never to cut down milkweed!

This book is wonderful both for its showcasing of beautiful butterflies and flowers and for its modeling of what kids can do to encourage butterflies to frequent their yards or windowsills and take care of butterflies so they’ll be around for future generations.

(And I apologize in advance for the picture quality of the interior shots – they look better in real life!😊)

Title: Butterfly Inn

Written & Illustrated By: Nancy Derey Riley

Publisher: Rolling Prairie Publishing, LLC, May 25, 2022

Suitable For Ages: 4-8, though there is a lot of informational back matter that older children will find interesting!

Themes/Topics: butterflies, nature, species protection

Opening: “We hop off the bus, then
we file through the door,
and enter the world
that we’ve come to explore.”

text and illustration copyright Nancy Derey Riley, 2022

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: “When the class discovers that butterflies need help, they build a butterfly garden at their school. As the butterflies come to the BUTTERFLY INN, the children watch the life cycle of the butterfly from hungry caterpillars through metamorphosis into adults.”

Links To Resources: the book itself is a tremendous resource. The back matter includes a glossary, the sheet music for a song made up of all the text in the book, “Butterfly Basics”, “Butterfly or Moth?”, “Caterpillar Chow”, “Nectar Needs”, “What Makes A Home”, “Do I Stay Or Do I Go?”, “Threats”, “What Can You Do?”, and a selected bibliography and additional resources. If sheet music isn’t your strong suit and you’d like to learn the tune to the song, Nancy has a clip of the first verse on her website HERE!

text and illustration copyright Nancy Derey Riley, 2022

Why I Like This Book: A class field trip to a butterfly pavilion is the impetus behind the class planning and planting their own butterfly garden to help the sustain the butterflies in their part of the world. Extensive back matter gives a wealth of further information for kids who are interested in learning and doing more. The story does a lovely job of introducing young readers to many kinds of butterflies and the plants they need to flourish, the life cycle of the butterfly, and ways to help these beautiful, important creatures who are threatened by pesticides and habitat loss. Written in enjoyable rhyme which is fun to read aloud (and sing to the supplied music!), the text is both informational and entertaining. Much of it is also lovely, for example: “A shimmer of gold/and a glimmer of blue,/a splatter of spots/in a silvery hue.” The art is friendly and beautiful, and the class is nicely diverse. A great choice for home, classroom, and library!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Spellbound

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I know I should probably have a Memorial Day book to share today in recognition of this weekend, but as many of you know, I am living in New Baby Land, so I have a magical new sibling story instead 😊

Title: Spellbound

Written By: Jess Townes

Illustrated By: Jennifer Harney

Publisher: Union Square Kids, June 21, 2022, fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: new sibling

text copyright Jess Townes 2022, illustration copyright Jennifer Harney 2022, Union Square Kids

Opening: “Willow loved magic.
And in her home, magic was all around.
It resided in the roots. It lingered in the leaves.
It blossomed on the branches.
And when it was ready, the magic wandered
on warm breezes in search of an apprentice.
Because magic, after all, is meant to be shared.”

Brief Synopsis: (From the publisher): “Willow’s world is perfectly magical, until Rowan is born. When her new baby brother seems to enchant everyone he meets, Willow becomes convinced he is an actual, real-life wizard. Can Willow put a stop to his hocus pocus, or is Rowan’s magic too powerful to resist?”

text copyright Jess Townes 2022, illustration copyright Jennifer Harney 2022, Union Square Kids

Links To Resources: Peek-a-boo, finger play rhymes like Itsy Bitsy Spider and Patty Cake, playing with rattles or musical instruments, singing songs, making funny faces or using silly voices to get baby to laugh – these are all things that children can do with new siblings to engage with them and help build a bond, making the older sibling feel valued, important, and included.

text copyright Jess Townes 2022, illustration copyright Jennifer Harney 2022, Union Square Kids

Why I Like This Book: Willow’s world is full of magic and she is the center of it. She mesmerizes her mom, dazzles her dad, and charms her bunny. But along comes Rowan and suddenly everyone is mesmerized, dazzled, and charmed by him! What kind of magic is this?! Every child who has gotten a new sibling knows the worry of being displaced, the jealousy when parents pay attention to the baby, the fear that maybe now that the newcomer is here, they don’t matter any more. Willow is determined that even if everyone else falls under Rowan’s spell, she won’t! But though she casts a spell on her ears so she won’t hear his laughter, and a charm over her eyes so she won’t see how cute he is, even she can’t resist him when he calls his big sister by her name. A lovely, lively, magical twist on a new sibling story with beautiful art that feels magical, too. A great choice for new big brothers and sisters, and a fun story for anyone 😊

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Happy Memorial Day, with gratitude to all who serve and have served! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Some Daddies

I’m not quite sure how this week flew by so fast (oh, wait… maybe it was partly because I posted so late last week 😊) but here we are at Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

With Father’s Day just a month away, I have a wonderful, brand new book about Dads of every kind to share with you this week! I think it’s a great book for anytime, but it’s especially appropriate at this time of year.

Title: Some Daddies

Written By: Carol Gordon Ekster

Illustrated By: Javiera Maclean Alvarez

Publisher: Beaming Books, May 17, 2022

Suitable For Ages: 4-7

Themes/Topics: fathers/families

Opening: “Every daddy is different.
Some daddies wake up whistling.
Others need time before they talk.
Some joke around and tell stories.
Others like to listen.”

text copyright Carol Gordon Ekster 2022, illustration copyright Javiera Maclean Alvarez 2022, Beaming Books

Brief Synopsis: a celebration of the incredible diversity of modern fathers with an inclusive cast of characters and a wide array of fathers that will allow readers to catch glimpses of, and feel new appreciation for, their own fathers and father-figures and how they shine in their own unique ways.

Links To Resources: Father’s Day Activities For Kids; Father’s Day Crafts, Activities, Games and Printables

text copyright Carol Gordon Ekster 2022, illustration copyright Javiera Maclean Alvarez 2022, Beaming Books

Why I Like This Book: I love that such a broad view of fatherhood is taken in this book. Fathers of many races, cultures, occupations, and interests, as well as a two-dad family, a single dad, and a stay-at-home dad are pictured so that every child will likely find some representation of their own father or father-figure. I think it’s wonderful for young readers to be introduced to the many kinds of things fathers can do, be like, and participate in so they can understand that not everyone’s father/father-figure is exactly like their own, and get a sense of the possibilities that exist for them someday. This is a lovely book to read around Father’s Day, or any time 😊

text copyright Carol Gordon Ekster 2022, illustration copyright Javiera Maclean Alvarez 2022, Beaming Books

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Pigeon & Cat

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I have such a beautiful book about friendship, community, and learning to open your heart and trust the world around you. It was written and illustrated by Edward Hemingway, youngest grandson of Ernest, (and is a far cry from my 9th grade reading of A Farewell To Arms 😊) It is due out on June 21 and I think it’s a book classrooms and libraries can benefit from as well as home libraries. Have a look!

Title: Pigeon & Cat

Written & Illustrated By: Edward Hemingway

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books/Little Brown & Co, June 21, 2022

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: friendship, community, creativity, personal growth

Opening: “In an abandoned city lot there sits a cardboard box. Inside the box lives Cat.”

text & illustration copyright Edward Hemingway 2022, Christy Ottaviano Books

Brief Synopsis: from the publisher: “In an abandoned city lot, Cat lives alone in a cardboard box. He leaves only to find food. One day, Cat discovers an unbroken egg too beautiful to eat. Soon, out pecks Pigeon, and they become fast friends. Cat is happy to share his box with Pigeon. But when Pigeon flies far away from where they live, Cat must brave the city in order to rescue his friend. This journey will forever transform his understanding of home.

This heartwarming story explores unlikely friendships, the creative spark within us, and how to give comfort and kindness in small, impactful gestures. It is also a celebration of urban community.”

text & illustration copyright Edward Hemingway 2022, Christy Ottaviano Books

Links To Resources: as a parent or teacher, encourage your kids to be part of their communities – family, school, neighborhood. Look at family photos so kids learn who family members are and how important they are to you. Make a family storybook using photos, including birthdays and addresses and relationships so kids gain a solid understanding of their family community. Participate in school activities beyond the classroom – book fairs, sports events, school plays. Get out in the local community with your kids. Are there opportunities for helping with recycling, planting trees or flowers, making cards for seniors at holidays? If not, maybe you can start one 😊

text & illustration copyright Edward Hemingway 2022, Christy Ottaviano Books

Why I Like This Book: It can be easy for anyone who has faced hardship, hurt, or disappointment to wall themselves off from the world as a measure of self protection. So Cat lives his life, staying where he feels safe, never venturing forth, and threatening all he encounters with hisses, teeth, and claws because the world is frightening to him. But along comes Pigeon who has never known anything but love – Cat’s love for her and hers for him – and over the course of the story Cat opens his heart and his mind and comes to realize that the world can be a good and beautiful place to which he has a lot to offer, and maybe, just maybe, it has something to offer him. This book is a sweet and lovely celebration of friendship and community, taking something rough and making it better for everyone. The art is engaging, full of details. I love the places where Cat and Pigeon talk, because Pigeon has her own way of communicating, all in pictures 😊 I can’t imagine anyone not loving this book!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

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

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊