Perfect Picture Book Friday – Oscar’s American Dream

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, and in the wake of the recent election and Veteran’s Day, I have a wonderful book that celebrates the American Dream!

Title: Oscar’s American Dream

Written By: Barry Wittenstein

Illustrated By: Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell

Schwartz & Wade, October 2020, informational fiction

Suitable For Ages: publisher says 4-8, School Library Journal says 6-10 – I think SLJ is more on target

Themes/Topics: American history, immigration, American Dream, change and opportunity

text copyright Barry Wittenstein 2020, illustration copyright Kristen&Kevin Howdeshell 2020 Schwartz & Wade

Opening: “Oskar Nowicki
arrived at Ellis Island
carrying his life in a cardboard suitcase
and a skinny roll of money in his coat pocket,
a loan from his mother in Poland
for a down payment on his dream.

Brief Synopsis: 20th century American history unfolds on a street corner in New York City as a little shop changes hands and dreams, from a barbershop in 1899 to luxury apartments in 1999.

Links To Resources: an author’s note at the back of the book expands on the history included in the story; trace the history of your home, or of a building in your neighborhood or town that you find interesting (a library, a town hall, a church, etc.): when was it built? who built it? what kind of history has it seen?; design, draw, and/or describe a shop/building that you would like to own that embodies your dream!

text copyright Barry Wittenstein 2020, illustration copyright Kristen&Kevin Howdeshell 2020 Schwartz & Wade

Why I Like This Book: I really enjoyed the idea of seeing history unfold on a street corner. What an interesting way of looking at the passage of time! A succession of people from different backgrounds with different dreams bought the little corner shop, and as a barbershop, a women’s clothing store, a soup kitchen, an army recruitment office, a bodega, and several other incarnations, the little shop saw the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II, Civil Rights – all the history of the 20th century – and how the shop played a role in fulfilling the American Dreams of the various owners. The art is a beautiful complement to the text, filled with interesting details, and reflecting the mood of the times.

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 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 – Lemonade In Winter

It’s Friday, everyone, and you know what that means!

Perfect Picture Books! 🙂

I’m posting today’s Perfect Picture Book here, but I have a confession to make: I have not figured out how to get a link list on WordPress.  Actually, I’m told it can’t be done because of WordPress security issues.  So that’s a bit of a conundrum.  I rely on the link list for Perfect Picture Book Friday (also for my writing contests, but that’s another story…)

So that raises the question can I actually blog on WordPress?  The answer might be sadly no.  Option B is that I have to think up a new way to run PPBF and my contests… which I might be able to do… but I am definitely open to suggestions if anyone has any bright ideas!

Meanwhile, I will post here for today, and also on my old Blogger blog which WILL have the list where you can add your link as usual.  What I can try to do is, if you put your PPBF link in the comments, I might be able to edit this post to include your links – or I can try lifting them off Blogger – but that is an extra step which I unfortunately won’t have time for until later in the day…  Not an ideal solution…

Meanwhile, I have the Perfect Picture Book for a winter day 🙂  I especially love it because it reminds of when my kids did a very similar thing – set up a lemonade stand on the corner of a completely untraveled country road, certain they would make their fortune and with no inkling that they had no hope of a single customer.  (Of course, I couldn’t bear for them to be out there waiting so hopefully only to get crushed with disappointment, so I made some phone calls to make sure at least a few cars came along full of thirsty passengers 🙂


Title: Lemonade In Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money

Written By: Emily Jenkins

Illustrated By: G. Brian Karas

Schwartz & Wade, September 2012, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: math/money, cooperation, hope, entrepreneurship

Opening: “An empty street.

Outside, a mean wind blows.

Icicles hang from the windowsills.

Inside, Pauline presses her nose to the frosted glass.

“I know!” she says.

“Let’s have a lemonade stand.“”

Brief Synopsis: Undeterred by the wintry weather, Pauline and her little brother John-John gather up all their quarters, buy supplies, and set up a lemonade stand.  Alas, customers are few and far between, forcing Pauline and John-John to be creative to try to increase sales.  In spite of their best efforts, they spend more than they earn… but they earn enough for something that pleases them both.

Links To Resources: the book itself is a resource in terms of showing creative business management 🙂 – Pauline and John-John try advertising, sales, decorations, and entertainment.  It also shows money and math in action, and there is back matter in which “Pauline Explains Money To John-John.”  Ask your child or students to think up their own business ideas.  What would they sell?  How would they go about it?  What supplies would they need?  How much would they need to charge and how much would they need to earn to make their business a success?

Why I Like This Book: This book is so cute, and so completely believably child-like!  Only kids, full of hope and belief in themselves and their abilities, would set up a lemonade stand in a howling snowstorm on a mostly deserted street 🙂  In spite of the poor odds, they’re determined to make their business a success and come up with all kinds of creative ideas.  Unfortunately in the end they learn a hard lesson about business… but at least something good comes of it (which I hate to give away, but it’s so cute I have to tell you – they lose money, but have enough for two popsicles – the perfect treat in a snowstorm, apparently :))

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!

(And at some point tomorrow, Sunday or Monday, I will post the promised new writing contest guidelines!  I’m trying desperately to scrounge up some prizes for you! :))

Perfect Picture Books for Friday January 15, 2016

1. This Is NOT A Pumpkin

2. Lincoln Tells A Joke: How Laughter Saved The President (And The Country)

3. Shmulik Paints The Town

4. Mango, Abuela And Me (on Miss Marple’s Musings)

5. Bowls Of Happiness

6. On The Train

7. Mango, Abuela And Me (on Children’s Books Heal)

8. What Does It Mean To Be Kind?

9. One Family