Perfect Picture Book Friday – I Wanna Go Home

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

If anyone is wondering, it is monsoon season on Blueberry Hill!  What wild, wet, windy weather we are having!  Thank goodness for my trusty canoe 🙂  If anyone wants to mount a rescue mission to bring in supplies of chocolate and friendly company, wear appropriate foul weather gear and do not attempt an umbrella – it will end in disaster 🙂

With rain on the brain, here’s my pick for this week which also starts out in the rain 🙂

Apparently I am a one-person advertising agency for G.P. Putnam’s Sons.  This is the second week in a row I’ve posted one of their books!  But I promise, it just worked out that way.   I love both books and they’re being offered as prizes in the Halloweensie Contest, so I wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see how fantastic they are 🙂

Today’s choice is the 3rd book in Karen Orloff and David Catrow’s super-fun I Wanna series that began with I Wanna Iguana.  I hope you like it 🙂

Title: I Wanna Go Home
Written By: Karen Kaufman Orloff
Illustrated By: David Catrow
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, September 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: family (grandparents), appreciation, visiting relatives, persuasion, humor

Opening: “Dear Alex, Ethan and Annie,
We’re so glad you’re coming to visit us.  You’ll love it here!  Do you know how to play bridge?  It’s a card game all our friends enjoy.  When you come, we can play for hours and hours!  Can’t wait to see you.
Grandma Shirley and Grandpa Ralph
P.S. Hope you like broccoli lasagna!

Brief Synopsis: From the Amazon review: Alex is not happy about being sent to his grandparents’ retirement community while his parents go on a fabulous vacation. What could be worse than tagging along to Grandma’s boring bridge game or enduring the sight of Grandpa’s dentures?

But as the week goes on, Alex’s desperate emails to his parents turn into stories about ice cream before dinner and stickball with Grandpa. Before he knows it, Alex has made a surprising discovery: grandparents are way cooler than he thought!

Links To Resources: Classroom Activities for persuasive writing (this is actually for Karen’s 2nd book, I Wanna New Room, but much of it applies as is and the rest can be easily modified to match this book); talk about what kids do with their grandparents – what activities do grandparents like to do?  Are they old-fashioned?  What activities do kids like to do?  Can you learn fun things from your grandparents?  Can they learn fun things from you?  What are some things you’ve learned how to do from your grandparents? What are some things you’ve taught them?

Why I Like This Book: Alex’s letter-writing is always amusing.  He’s a master of showing his side of the argument and getting his way, (although in this case he changes his mind and learns that maybe visiting grandparents isn’t all that bad.)  Things begin badly at the Happy Hills Retirement Community.  It’s raining.  Alex is bored.  Grandma Shirley is dressing baby Annie up in girly outfits, and Grandpa’s false teeth are disgusting!  But as the days go by, Alex discovers square dancing, bingo, and stick ball, and realizes that his grandparents are pretty fun to hang out with.  By the end, he doesn’t want to go home.  I love the way Alex’s attitude turns around, because that happens so often in life – especially with kids.  They think they’re going to hate something and don’t even want to give it a chance, and it turns out to be pretty amazing 🙂  This book, like Karen’s others, is filled with humor and believability and is just tons of fun from start to finish!

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 see your wonderful picks for this week!

And please remember that there will be no PPBF next week due (October 31!!!) to the fact that the Halloweensie Contest will be underway!!!  So exciting!  I can hardly wait until Monday… to see if anyone enters… anyone at all…  I’m hoping for at least a few – your stories are always so creative and fun!  (And no, I have not written my sample yet.  But I still have a couple days.  It could still happen… :))

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Ninja Red Riding Hood

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I was certain this book had been reviewed already for PPBF, but when I went to find the link (so I could add it to the prize mention on the Halloweensie Contest) I couldn’t find it anywhere!  Is it possible that since it came out in July while we were on hiatus it never got reviewed?  Or did I just not see it?  Who knows?!  But it’s too good to miss, so enjoy!  (And if someone already did it, you’d better give me the link! :))

Title: Ninja Red Riding Hood
Written By: Corey Rosen Schwartz
Illustrated By: Dan Santat
G.P. Putnam’s Sons, July 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: fractured fairy tale, humor, girl power, language fun (rhyme)

Opening: “Once upon a Ninja-filled time,
a wolf couldn’t catch any prey.
He kept getting licked
by the dinner he picked
and was growing more ticked by the day.

Brief Synopsis: The big bad wolf, having taken a licking from the three nina pigs, decides to attend martial arts school and then see if he can snack on Little Red Riding Hood.  But Red turns out to be way more than he bargained for!

Links To Resources: Teacher Guide/Activity Pages; compare this version of RED with the traditional tale of Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Writing, and any other versions you like (this page lists quite a few!) – how are the stories alike? How are they different?

Why I Like This Book: For starters, I love fractured fairy tales, and this is such a clever one!  The rhythm of the rhyme is terrific, and just begs to be read aloud.  The story, complemented perfectly by the illustrations, is tons of fun.  I love that Red has a few tricks up her sleeve and is well able to take care of herself – a great message for girls.  Gran has a few surprises too.  And the poor old wolf… you just have to feel a little sorry for him 🙂

Hopefully, here’s the trailer (although my internet is currently being extremely uncooperative and refusing to show any videos, so we’ll just have to see if this works or not!)

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 weekend everyone!  I hope you’re all thinking about and/or writing your Halloweensie stories!  Personally, I am still in the thinking about stage 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – You’re Here!

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I love getting to read piles of picture books and pick out the best of the best to share here, but every now and again I get the extra-special pleasure of being able to share a book written or illustrated by someone I know and admire and am lucky to count as a friend.  Be assured – no matter who writes or illustrates the book, it only makes it onto Perfect Picture Book Friday if I really genuinely think it’s perfect.  So today I have the joy of introducing you to a book by a very talented illustrator.  (She is also a talented writer, and I have no doubt we’ll be seeing books where she is both the author and illustrator before long!)  Those of you who hang out in the kidlit circles probably already know her well.  Congratulations, Julie, on your first book-baby – it’s here! oh, it’s here! oh, it’s finally here! 🙂

I hope you will all enjoy this sweet little picture book for newborns 🙂

Title: You’re Here!
Written By: Karla Oceanak
Illustrated By: Julie Rowan-Zoch
Bailiwick Press, October 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: Newborn – 2

Themes/Topics: first year milestones, family, new baby, love

Opening: “You’re here! Oh, you’re here! Oh, you’re finally here!
Hip, hip, hooray! We’ve been waiting, my dear!
For your fingers – so perfect.  Your nibbly toes.
Your wide-window eyes and your neat, nubbin nose.

Brief Synopsis: A new baby is welcomed with much anticipation of all the wonders and milestones the first year will hold.

Links To Resources: Just read this lovely story with infants to begin the tradition of reading together; read with older children and talk about their first year – all the things they did and when, and how wonderful it was, maybe share their baby journal if you kept one, or look at photographs of them as infants; read with new siblings to help them understand what they can expect from their new little brother or sister.

Why I Like This Book: The story is simple and sweet, and expresses beautifully the wonder and love and happiness of a new baby.  It would make a perfect gift for any family with a newborn.  If you are a parent, it will make you a little teary, thinking about when you first met your babies 🙂  But the reason I love this book the most is the art.  Julie Rowan-Zoch’s sweet drawings are simply perfect for this story.  The family, depicted as elephants, are just darling.  The baby’s rosy cheeks, delightful expressions and infant antics are picture perfect.  Julie’s art adds an extra layer of warmth and emotion to this little treasure of a 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!  I can’t wait to see what you’ve chosen this week!  And I will not be surprised if someone else has chosen this book! 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Little Boo

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Now that it’s October, it’s fair to start sharing Halloween picture books, right?

I’m glad you agree 🙂

Here’s a pretty new one, just published this August.

Title: Little Boo
Written By: Stephen Wunderli
Illustrated By: Tim Zeltner
Henry Holt & Company, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: Holidays (Halloween), Emotion (patience/impatience), Nature (lifecycle of a seed), Common Childhood Experiences (wanting to be bigger/older)

Opening: “The wind blew, the leaves fell, and a tiny seed hid in the garden.
“Boo,” the seed said to a leaf rolling by.
“You’re not scary at all,” the leaf said.

Brief Synopsis: A little pumpkin seed tries hard to be scary but he just can’t seem to scare anyone – not the leaves or the grubs, not the snowflakes in winter or the bees in spring!  “Be patient,” the wind tells him, “you’ll be scary soon enough.”  But it’s awfully hard to wait!

Links To Resources: plant a seed and watch it grow – indoors in a container or outdoors in a garden; 40 Things For Kids To Do With Pumpkins; 9 Easy Pumpkin Recipes For Kids

Why I Like This Book:  It’s just so cute!  Look at that little pumpkin seed face – how can you not love it?! 🙂  The story is simple but so relatable for kids who always seem to want to grow up faster than nature allows.  And within the sweet story we also get a nice little glimpse of the life cycle of a seed – so cleverly slipped in there!  To top it off, the art is absolutely gorgeous –  colorful and warm and so appealing!  This is a wonderful one to add to your Halloween book shelf 🙂

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 although I haven’t been posting on Mondays, be sure to visit this coming Monday for an important announcement!

Have a great weekend, everybody!!! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – You Are (Not) Small

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I spent easily half my week writing a picture book which is not working and which at this point I hate a little bit 🙂  Why is it that an idea which seems so good when it starts out in your head can turn out so badly when you get it on paper?  I still feel like there’s a kernel of good story in there somewhere, but darned if I can find it right now 🙂

Ah, well, at least I have a lovely, fun picture book (not mine :)) to share with you today!

Title: You Are (Not) Small
Written By: Anna Kang
Illustrated By: Christopher Weyant
Two Lions, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-6

Themes/Topics: Differences, Perspective, Humor

Opening: “‘You are small.’
‘I am not small.  You are big.’
‘I am not big.  See?’

Brief Synopsis: Two creatures (whose fur, noses, and expressions suggest that they are indeed closely related) argue over who is small and who is big.  But it’s really all in how you look at it 🙂

Links To Resources: Kids Activity Guide with printable growth chart; Classroom Guide for K-1st with Common Core Standards; start a discussion on the difficulty and/or desirability of establishing standards; read with Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal – how are these books alike? how are they different?

Why I Like This Book:  This book is short and simple, yet it manages to convey an important message with humor.  I dare you not to laugh at the end 🙂  In 91 words, it manages to get across the idea that we can be big and small at the same time, and in spite of our perceived differences we have much in common.  The art is appealing, and the characters’ expressions speak volumes.  For anyone who has ever felt too little (or too big), this is the perfect story.

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!  Can’t wait to see what other wonderful picture books will be on the list this week!

Have a wonderful first weekend of Autumn, everyone! 🙂

Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Most Magnificent Thing PLUS The Goodnight Ark Giveaway Winner!

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Boy do I have the most magnificent book to share with you today!  It’s one of those books that makes you revel in how perfect it is when you get to the end and want to read it again right away in case you missed anything and then again just to enjoy how much fun it is 🙂  I hope you all like it as much as I do!

Title: The Most Magnificent Thing
Written & Illustrated By: Ashley Spires
Kids Can Press, April 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: creativity, perseverance, perspective, emotion (frustration)

Opening: “This is a regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world.  They do all kinds of things together.  They race.  They eat.  They explore.  They relax.  She makes things.  He unmakes things.  One day, the girl has a wonderful idea.  She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing!

Brief Synopsis: A little girl sets out to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing with the help of her best friend and assistant, her dog.  Imagine their shock when the thing turns out not to be magnificent!  In fact, it’s not even “good. It isn’t even kind-of-sort-of okay. It is all wrong.”  So she tosses it and starts again.  But it’s not easy to turn her vision into reality.  Frustration leads to anger, and anger leads to defeat.  Luckily, her assistant suggests a walk which brings calm and clarity and a new perspective… and a most magnificent thing 🙂

Links To Resources: supply a variety of craft items and/or found objects and encourage kids to think up and create their own “magnificent things”; Goldie Blox Toys (which encourage girls to put down the dolls and pick up the tools and might give you some invention ideas)

Why I Like This Book:  I love that this story addresses what may be the most common of all childhood emotions: frustration!  The little girl has a great idea.  She can imagine it perfectly.  She knows exactly how it will look.  But she has a hard time translating what she sees in her mind’s eye to the physical reality of her most magnificent thing.  Her escalation of emotion is real and believable (and kids will relate to it so well!)  And the message that sometimes a little distance and a little time to calm down can help improve your perspective is a wonderful one.  In the end, she makes something that is just perfect (but I won’t tell you what it is :))  The art is cute and full of humor.  The depiction of emotion is spot on.  The story touches on imagination and creativity, making things from found objects, dealing with frustration and disappointment, keeping/finding your perspective, not giving up, the idea that it’s okay to make mistakes, and the importance of having a good friend.  All around, a book kids will enjoy and parents will be glad to read multiple times.

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

Now, before we all trot off so see what everyone else picked this week, I’d like to take a moment to announce the winner of last week’s giveaway.  Laura Sassi and her publisher, Zonderkidz, generously contributed a copy of GOODNIGHT, ARK and the lucky winner is . . .

Sandy Perlic!!!

Congratulations, Sandy!  Please email me so we can organize getting you your book!  And thanks to everyone who shared their bedtime routines – we all had so much fun reading about them!

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’s on the list for today 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! 🙂