What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(tagged with 'Picture Books')

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Picture Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1,326 - 1,350 of 6,202
1326. Sky Color, written and illustrated by Peter Reynolds

In this era when art and other creative endeavors have long been cut from most public schools (at least the one my kids go to) Peter H Reynolds is a true gift. This guy is all about creativity and creative expression. In fact, his mission statement ends in this way, "If my art and stories can help inspire other to do the same, I'll feel my life had meaning." Having had a math teacher in

0 Comments on Sky Color, written and illustrated by Peter Reynolds as of 9/20/2012 5:06:00 AM
Add a Comment
1327. The Man from the Land of Fandango written by Margaret Mahy and illustrated by Polly Dunbar

In New Zealand, Margaret Mahy, who died in July of this year, was a  national treasure. Here in the States, we don't know her as well as we should, but perhaps you know Bubble Trouble or Down the Back of the Chair, the first two picture books she wrote with illustrator Polly Dunbar. Their final pairing, The Man from the Land of Fandango, was just released here and it is every bit as

0 Comments on The Man from the Land of Fandango written by Margaret Mahy and illustrated by Polly Dunbar as of 9/20/2012 5:06:00 AM
Add a Comment
1328. Judith Viorst: My Kirkus Q & A


This morning over at Kirkus, I chat with author Judith Viorst about her very funny new chapter book for children, Lulu Walks the Dogs, the follow-up to Lulu and the Brontosaurus; the enduring popularity of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; and her upcoming visit to Nashville’s Southern Festival of Books in October. When asked about her plan for the Festival, she said:

I’ll be reading from my second Lulu book, Lulu Walks the Dogs, and talking a bit about my vast admiration for writers like Sendak and Silverstein, who appreciate and give voice to children’s non-sweetie-pie selves — to their wicked thoughts, wild dreams, and untamed feelings.

I really like that.

The rest of the Q&A is here — and it includes Lane Smith’s wonderful illustration of Fleischman from the new Lulu book. (Next week here at 7-Imp, I’ll have even more art and some sketches from Lane.)

Have you read both Lulu books? So funny, these chapter books.


3 Comments on Judith Viorst: My Kirkus Q & A, last added: 9/23/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
1329. Robot Zombie Frankenstein! (plus a giveaway)

My goal on this blog is often to get writers thinking about exciting hooks for picture books.

Robots? YES!

Zombies? ERMMMFFF! (“Yes!” in zombie-talk.)

Frankenstein? AHHHGGGRRROOOOOWWWZZZ! (“You bet your sweet bippy!” in Frankenstein-talk.)

How about all THREE in one book? (Sorry, that one broke my translation tool!)

Well, Annette Simon already beat you to it!

ROBOT ZOMBIE FRANKENSTEIN is the story of two nuts-and-bolts buddies who try to one-up another. So I wanted to see how Anette one-upped a fabulous ROBOT idea to make it a triple-threat.

TL: Annette…umm, err, uhhhh…HOW?

AS: Robots and zombies may be getting some extra attention now (and for that I’m grateful!), but I think that from a kid’s perspective, they’re pretty standard characters. Like pirates, superheroes, and outer space invaders, they aren’t new subjects, just fun ones, and why not combine? My youngest, who’s now 18 and soon to graduate from high school, came to his fifth birthday party wearing a pirate hat, a tie, and a chef’s apron.

TL: In your book, the robots try desperately to one-up another. This is brilliant, as you’ll often see young children doing this. I remember dance class when I was seven, a girl told the instructor she practiced for an hour every day. Then came shouts of “I practice two hours” until I finally said “well, I practice FIVE hours a day”. So funny. At the time I thought I was impressing everyone, but now I realize they knew I was lying. Do you have a childhood one-upmanship experience that gave rise to the ROBOT ZOMBIE FRANKENSTEIN story?

AS: Hmm. Tara, I pinkie-promised my sister I would not divulge details. (Let’s just say I won. All the time.)

I wish I had some fantastic backstory about this book. The truth is not glamorous: Robot and Robot showed up in little snippets as I walked, cleaned my house, grocery-shopped, and waited in car pool. They crept in from the fringes while I was busy querying agents with other stories.

But I do want to share something that may be especially dear to readers of your blog. These two cartoons by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman have smiled from my fridge for years. (You can tell they’re old by their colors.)

My youngest is about to head off to college, and I’m realizing I will have to find another excuse, er, reason, as to why I’m not more prolific. Or else just get my butt back in chair.

It’s still complicated.

TL: Did you give your robot characters names as you were creating them? What do you think their names really are?

AS: I did kinda play around with names. For awhile, I thought of Robot and Robot as Cy and Borg, then Cy and Henry (Henry = the measuring unit of inductance– sounds smart, huh?) or Hecto (a computer measurement for 100). My fabulous editor, Mary Lee Donovan, sometimes nicknamed them Watson and…Isaac? Asimov? Chip? I can’t remember. In story discussions, we called them Purple and Green. In the end, they each said, “I, Robot.”

I hope one day the robots get a pet; I have a fun long list of pet names.

TL: Is there anything your robots wanted to be, but they didn’t get the chance to transform themselves? Anything cut out of the final version that you wish would have remained?

AS: As far as cutting-room-floor material, here’s a spread that didn’t make it. But, should Robot and Robot one day go trick-or-treating…

Well, folks, you can one-up your friends by not only winning a SIGNED COPY of ROBOT ZOMBIE FRANKENSTEIN (which is a *perfect* Halloween read), but by also winning cool robot iron-ons! Impress your friends, neighbors, and local Kindergarten classes!

Just leave a comment to be entered. A winner will be randomly selected one week from today!

Annette Simon says that when she was in kindergarten, she was named Best Artist in her class. When she was in the third grade, she won her school’s Fire Prevention Week poster contest. After she graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, Annette earned awards as an advertising creative director. Now, she writes and draws for young readers. Simon says she could not feel more honored. Learn more about her books at AnnetteSimon.net.

15 Comments on Robot Zombie Frankenstein! (plus a giveaway), last added: 9/19/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
1330. Icky Sticky Monster by Jo Lodge

As a parent, I think I bought exactly one pop-up book over the last nineteen years. Ok, that's not entirely true. I bought the same book twice. By the time my third child was born, the first two kids had worn out our copy of Paul O Zelinsky's magnificent Wheels on the Bus, celebrating a 20 year anniversary in 2010. We loved it so much we needed a new one. Which brings me to my point. I suspect

0 Comments on Icky Sticky Monster by Jo Lodge as of 9/19/2012 4:04:00 AM
Add a Comment
1331. Kindergators: Miracle Melts Down, by Rosemary Wells

Rosemary Wells gets kids in a way that is not precious or dogmatic. She genuinely understands the way kids think and what makes them tick and she is able to translate this, through her art and her words, into wonderful, timeless picture books in the same way that Kevin Henkes is able to capture the import and essence of childhood experiences and convey those emotions in a universal way.

0 Comments on Kindergators: Miracle Melts Down, by Rosemary Wells as of 9/18/2012 4:58:00 AM
Add a Comment
1332. Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein

Wow. Just wow. That's all I have to say after reading Because Amelia Smiled, by David Ezra Stein, author and illustrator of the Caldecott Honor winner and story time (and bedtime) favorite, Interrupting Chicken. I have to confess, since Interrupting Chicken came out in 2010, I have been hoping for a repeat from Stein. That's just human nature, I think, to want more of what we love. While 

0 Comments on Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein as of 9/18/2012 4:58:00 AM
Add a Comment
1333. The Very Possible Notion of Infinity Before Breakfast(And Why Grandma Can Usually Save the Day)

“The night I got my new red shoes, I couldn’t wait to wear them to school. I was too excited to sleep, so I went outside and sat on the lawn. When I looked up, I shivered. The sky seemed so huge and cold. How many stars were in the sky? A million?
A billion? Maybe the number was as big as infinity. I started to feel very, very small. How could I even think about something as big as infinity?”

(Click to enlarge spread)

As a child, I used to sit and think about infinity. And the universe. And how the universe might not have an end. And, if it did, what it could possibly look like. I have very distinct memories of wondering about this. If I wasn’t sitting and listening to my stack of 45s with my trusty record player at my side (think: Peaches & Herbs and Donna Summer), I could probably be found sitting there having my mind blown, wondering if the universe just falls off or if there’s a dividing line of some sort that points to hell-if-I-knew-what. (In between my 45s and ruminations on space and utter boundlessness, I watched an episode or two of The Price Is Right.)

This is not unusual. Children think about such abstract concepts, and many of us grown-ups find them difficult to explain. (I am still clueless about the universe’s end, and if I ever find out the answer, I doubt I’ll be able to report back here.) In Infinity and Me, which will be released by Carolrhoda Books next month, Kate Hosford (author) and Gabi Swiatkowska (illustrator) explore this notion — that something can exist with no limits. And they do it well. (more…)

8 Comments on The Very Possible Notion of Infinity Before Breakfast(And Why Grandma Can Usually Save the Day), last added: 9/19/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
1334. Otter Lee Brave by Rena Cherry Brown

5 Stars
Otter Lee Brave
Rena Cherry Brown
Schiffer Publishing
No. Pages: 48  Ages: 5 to 10

Lee, a young otter, loses his mother and finds himself in a rescue aquarium where he meets a bully, learns to trust human beings, survives a catastrophe, and, by recalling his mother’s lessons, makes a tough decision that ultimately changes his life.

Lee is a young pup, beginning to learn his way around the bay with his mother as his teacher. He wants to dive deep and bring back clams, impressing his mother, but little Lee think he is too small to dive so deep. His mother tells him,

You don’t have to be big to be brave.

While lying serenely on the water, a dark shadow appears above them. Lee’s mother yells for him to dive to the floor of the bay. Lee dives deep, all the way to the sandy floor. Swimming back to the water’s surface Lee looks for his mother, he cannot find her. She is trapped in a fishing net at the bottom of the bay. Days later, an otter rescue boat picks up Lee and takes him to their aquarium, where he can continue to grow. Without his mother, Lee is an orphan.

At the aquarium, a bully keeps Lee from eating, grabbing away anything within Lee’s reach. This bully, named Brody, taunts Lee in the water. When an earthquake hits the area, the aquarium bursts open, dumping all the otters in the bay. Lee is the only otter born at sea. The others do not know what to do.

Lee tells everyone to link together, but Brody laughs and dives deep into the water. Soon the rescue group has rescued all the otters—except Brody. He never linked up. Lee dives down to the floor looking for Brody and finds him caught under a fishing net. Lee has a tough choice to make. He can ignore Brody and be free of the bully forever, or he can rescue him and be at his mercy once again.

Otter Lee Brave is a good story for any child who has experienced bullying. Brody is the typical bully, be it an otter or a kid. He is mean to those smaller than he is which helps him with his low self-esteem. Lee is a cute, lovable character kids will adore. Some will even identify with him, others with Brody. Lee does his best to avoid the bully, but eventually must stand up to him. That is a terrifying moment and kids will understand Lee’s thoughts about leaving Brody where he was, trapped under water. The writing is wonderful. Kids will get a story and a primer on otters.

The illustrations are dramatic and help draw you into the story emotionally. The first page sets the scene. Lee is lying on the water and you can feel the waves rocking him gently. When Brody splashes in the bay, the water flies around him. Being in the bay, the illustrations rely on blues and greens, which the illustrator uses deftly to make the water come alive.

Otter Lee Brave is a good book for teachers. Students learn about otters, see them in the bay and at a rescue. Learn facts like a life span that averages ten to twelve years, even though they can live to be twenty-five-years-old. That fact is a great discussion question. I think kids will love Lee’s story.

Otter Lee Brave is a well-written, emotional story with stunning illustrations complimenting it on every page. I immensely enjoyed this picture book. The story combined with the illustrations make Otter Lee Brave a richly told story with drama, emotion, and heart. This is Ms. Brown’s second children’s book, both illustrated by Ms. Maidment. This is sure to be an award-winning book.

There are additional otter facts in the back of the book. Kids could easily use Otter Lee Brave as part of a project or paper on otters.


Otter Lee Brave

Author: Rena Cherry Brown   website
Illustrator: Mikaila Maidment   website
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing   website
Release Date: July 28, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4155-7
Number of Pages: 48
Ages: 5 to 10
Grades: K to 5

Filed under: 5stars, Children's Books, Library Donated Books Tagged: bravery, bullied, bullies, children's books, courage, intimidate, picture books, sea otters, self esteem

Add a Comment
1335. The Secret River by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

The Secret RiverHard times have come to the Florida forest where Calpurnia lives with her mother, father, and her dog named Buggy-horse. There are no fish to catch, so the people are weak with hunger and unable to work. Calpurnia can feel the hard times, but she isn’t worried. She is a loved child who feels a kinship with the world, and this helps her to feel safe and brave. Determined to help end the hard times, she follows her nose to a secret river deep in the forest, abundant with catfish. On her return home, laden with fish, Calpurnia encounters several dangerous (and obviously hungry) animals; because she knows there is enough to go around, she shares her catch and stays free from harm. When she returns home with the fish, her parents are overjoyed. Her father is able to sell the fish, the people in the forest are strengthened and able to go out and find work, and the hard times turn to soft times.

This story is moving to me because it demonstrates the powers of imagination, faith, love, and wonder to overcome hardship. It is illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, with warm, deep, lyric paintings. Both the text and illustrations are evocative of a different time and place, but the simple fairy-tale-like structure makes it easily accessible and comfortably familiar. The Secret River is a longer picture book that would make a wonderful class or family read-aloud.

Posted by: Parry

0 Comments on The Secret River by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings as of 9/17/2012 11:54:00 AM
Add a Comment
1336. Well, Now. This is a Great Way to Start the Week …

(Click to enlarge)

I would just like to take a moment, quickly, to squeal over the fact that there’s a new picture book illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski coming out next month, written by Mary Logue (published by Houghton Mifflin). I haven’t read this book yet. It’s not even in my hands at this time (though I see it’s gotten a starred review from Kirkus). But Pamela’s art is such that I get excited by merely the cover alone.

And I just found this out, so I’m squealing publicly.

More on the book soon, I’m sure—OF COURSE I’m going to try to find a copy, by hook or by crook—but I just wanted to share the cover.

Okay, squeal over now. Let us carry on with our day.

* * * * * * *

Book jacket posted with permission of Pamela Zagarenski.

9 Comments on Well, Now. This is a Great Way to Start the Week …, last added: 9/24/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
1337. Picture Book Monday - A review of Because you are my teacher

Good teachers are a precious commodity. They help children to learn that the process of learning is exciting, that the journey is like a adventure. Today's picture book reminds us just how valuable our teachers are and how much we owe them.

Sherry North
Illustrated by Marcellus Hall
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Abrams, 2012, 978-1-4197-0385-0
   When you have a clever and imaginative teacher, the time you spend in school can be full of adventures. One group of children feels very lucky because their teacher is able to take them to places all over the world, and they never actually leave their classroom.
   Because she is their teacher, the children study the Atlantic “where the great blue whales roam free.” On the backs of imaginary camels the students travel across desert sands to visit the ancient pyramids of Egypt. Thanks to their teacher they are able to tour the Amazon travelling on their make-believe river raft. As they float along they hear “the howler monkeys growl their spooky song.”
   This delightful picture book serves as a tribute to all those teachers who find unique and engaging ways to explore distant lands with their students. With the teacher and her four pupils, we visit two of the world’s five oceans and all seven of its continents. In some of the places we visit we meet bizarre animals, while in others we marvel at man-made wonders.
   With beautiful color illustrations and an engaging rhyming text, this is a perfect picture book to read aloud in a classroom.

0 Comments on Picture Book Monday - A review of Because you are my teacher as of 9/17/2012 9:38:00 AM
Add a Comment
1338. Pip and Posy : The Scary Monster

You might know Axel Scheffler as the frequent illustrator of the wonderful British picture book author < a href="http://www.juliadonaldson.co.uk/"target="_blank">Julia Donaldson, best known in the US for her books The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo's Child and one of the best Halloween books out there that can be read any time of the year, Room on the Broom. Donaldson is a great story teller and an

0 Comments on Pip and Posy : The Scary Monster as of 9/17/2012 5:36:00 AM
Add a Comment
1339. The Baby That Roared by Simon Puttock, illustrated by Nadia Shireen

The Baby that Roared by Simon Puttock and illustrated by Nadia Shireen has a definite fairy-tale feel to it. The Baby that Roared also has the repetition and sneaky off-the-page action that kids love. And it has a gross bit, which kids love also. Shireen's crisply colored, collage like illustrations bring Puttock's kooky story to life and even make the little monster, er, I mean, baby, almost

0 Comments on The Baby That Roared by Simon Puttock, illustrated by Nadia Shireen as of 9/17/2012 5:36:00 AM
Add a Comment
1340. Fineena's Final Choice

In our village in Ireland this summer, a 58 foot fin whale swam into our harbor, settled in to a corner where shore meets pier and rested in shallow water. The chest-high cement wall along the pier overflowed with villagers craning their necks to see over and down towards the water below.

With her nose into the apex of cement walls, able to submerge just inches beneath the surface, she rose and blew, spraying seawater from her blowhole and puffing every few minutes. It was a fascinating spectacle. How often can you watch a whale, and see its face, with protruding gray balls for eyes, and a white horseshoe mouth bigger than my kitchen, up close, for hours on end?

Sadly, it was soon apparent that our whale friend was not well. 
Muddy red water let everyone know that Fineena, (Irish for ‘beautiful child’, the name dubbed her by locals) was bleeding internally. No one, not the veterinarian, the whale specialist, nor the fishermen could help. This was real life, not a children’s story. Fineena lay ill for three days before dying, enduring tidal shifts which left her slick black skin half exposed above the water, scratched ragged from a gale-force storm which tossed her helplessly against the cement pier and rocky bottom. 

Simultaneously macabre and inspirational, from a writer’s point of view, I wonder where I should take this story. Children’s reactions were as varied as their accents. One teenage boy broke into tears. Others watched wide-eyed with obvious questions. Some just accepted it, with “That’s nature.” 

Can I use this emotive experience to write a happy picture book ending for Fineena? Can I use the powerful death scene I witnessed in a middle grade novel and how? Her behavior brings up so many questions and infinite story possibilities. Why did she choose our village as her final resting place? Why not the shallow creek where the seal colony lives, or another of the limitless, uninhabited coves nearby? Fineena swam past hundreds of boats with low keels, their thick-roped moorings stretching from the water’s surface to the bay floor, creating an underwater maze. How did she manage to cause no damage? Why was she so determined – was it something about the echo of human voices across the water? 

I wrote my initial impressions as the story unfolded. When I look back at that draft, I am struck by the richness of detail and emotion, and authenticity. The voice, using the point of view of the whale, is much more powerful than my remote efforts. So writers, you’ve heard it before: write it down, right away! Take copious notes. It matters. Readers will feel it. 

I don’t yet know what my final choice will be for the story, but it feels like a story worth sharing.

8 Comments on Fineena's Final Choice, last added: 9/19/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
1341. Week-end Book Review: Dear Baobab by Cheryl Foggo, illustrated by Qin Leng

Cheryl Foggo, illustrated by Qin Leng,
Dear Baobab

Second Story Press, 2011.

Ages 7-11

Following the death of his parents, seven-year-old Maiko has had to leave all that was familiar, encapsulated in his memory of the ancient baobab tree in his village, to come and live with his aunt and uncle in their red brick house in a Western city. Maiko forms a special bond with a small fir tree growing outside the house.  He listens to its whisperings, and confides his feelings and anxieties to it: his homesickness; and how Leonard, a boy at school, laughs at his ears.  When his aunt and uncle decide that the tree needs to be cut down, Maiko tries to protect it by hiding the tools.  Only when the inevitable day arrives, do his aunt and uncle realise the tree’s importance to Maiko, and an alternative solution is found.

The story is straightforward enough to appeal to young readers.  They will appreciate the way his love of his two special trees helps him to emerge with confidence from the unsettling changes in his life.  In addition, there is a subtle depth to the narrative that will make it appealing to older readers.  When Maiko hides the tools, for example, his aunt berates his uncle for leaving them out to be stolen.  The situation is not then tidily resolved – Maiko does not confess – and readers therefore find themselves asking questions that have no single straightforward answer.  The same is true of Leonard.  Something has certainly happened behind the scenes between Maiko’s telling his uncle about how he is being teased at school and our next encounter with Leonard.  It is enough to hear explicitly that while Maiko is playing with his friend Li, “They saw Leonard.  He did not laugh at Maiko’s ears.”  Older readers will probably pick up on this and ponder it.  The illustrations emphasise these key moments too.  They convey Maiko’s emotions throughout the story: his sadness , worry and guilt, but also his happiness playing in the snow, for example, or his exuberant play with Li when dressed up as a baobab for his first Halloween.

Dear Baobab is a gentle story about settling into a new home and a new culture.  It opens up many questions for young readers, who will be touched by its universally relevant themes of bullying and belonging.

Marjorie Coughlan
September 2012

0 Comments on Week-end Book Review: Dear Baobab by Cheryl Foggo, illustrated by Qin Leng as of 9/16/2012 8:22:00 PM
Add a Comment
1342. Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show written by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Dan Santat

Michael Buckley, creator of the wildly different (but equally funny) Sisters Grimm and N.E.R.D.S. series for middle grade readers is making his debut as a picture book artist. And who better to team up with then the inimitable Dan Santat, who just started this supercool tumblr page? Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show is such a fun picture book to read and, like all the best picture books,

0 Comments on Kel Gilligan's Daredevil Stunt Show written by Michael Buckley, illustrated by Dan Santat as of 9/16/2012 6:08:00 AM
Add a Comment
1343. 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #297: Featuring Edward Hemingway

Here’s an illustration from artist Edward Hemingway’s forthcoming illustrated title, Tiny Pie, written by Mark Bailey and Michael Oatman and coming in May from Running Press Kids.

Edward, who paints with oils on canvas and wood, also saw the release this year of Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, August 2012), all about an apple and a worm who become good friends — and weather hard times, given the funny looks and mean comments they get for being friends in the first place. (Let us not forget the enduring wisdom of the popular mid-’90s bumper sticker.)

Edward is here today to talk a bit about his books, his paintings, and I also couldn’t resist briefly asking him about his heritage. Yes, he’s Ernest’s grandson.

Let’s get right to it, since Edward shares so many images today. And for that I thank him.

P.S. If you read below, you’ll see that this is a very special day for Edward … (more…)

25 Comments on 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #297: Featuring Edward Hemingway, last added: 9/25/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
1344. Rocket Writes a Story, by Tad Hills (ages 4 - 8)

Rocket is an utterly adorable little dog that makes me smile every time I see him. Rocket Writes a Story is the sequel to one of my favorite school stories: Rocket Learns to Read. In this new book, Tad Hills creates a story that celebrates friendship, perseverance and the joy of creating your own story. He brings a sweetness and warmth to Rocket that is comforting without being overly-sweet.

Rocket Writes a Story
by Tad Hills
NY: Schwartz and Wade, 2012
ages 4 - 8
available at your local library and on Amazon
Rocket has always loved listening to stories, and now that he can read he absolutely loves books. "Rocket even liked the way books smelled. When he opened a new book, it smelled like a place he'd never been to, like a friend he'd never met." Talk about an opening that melts my heart!
Rocket Writes A Story
Every day, Rocket goes off looking for new words. He collects words, brings them back, and adds them to his word tree - with the help of his faithful teacher, the little yellow bird. Rocket is excited to use all of his new words to write a story, finding inspiration in a shy little owl perched atop a tall pine tree. Rocket works hard on his story, wagging his tail when it's going well, growling when he's frustrated. Hills does not rush the pacing, showing that stories take time and effort to develop. But best of all, he shows how much the little owl wants to hear Rocket's story.

Reading this with a small group of beginning readers in 1st grade, they loved spotting words they could read on Rocket's word tree and in his story. Hills' picture support and choice of words perfectly supported and encouraged these new readers. They loved spotting the early pictures of owl peaking out of her nest, guessing that Rocket would discover the bird atop the tree. And they could easily identify with Rockets frustrations and excitement.
Rocket Writes A Story
Rockets stories are perfect to share with young 5 and 6 year olds just beginning the journey learning how to read and write. They love Tad Hills' gentle tone, the little yellow bird's warm support and encouragement, and Rocket's enthusiasm for learning.

I especially enjoyed reading Julie Danielson's interview with Tad Hills on the Kirkus Reviews Blog and then her followup post on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Find other reviews of Rocket Writes a Story at Jen Robinson's Book Page and Tasha Saecker's Waking Brain Cells.

The pictures are shared through Schwartz & Wade's Flickr stream; all are copyright ©Tad Hills, 2012. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Schwartz & Wade, an imprint of Random House Children's Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

2 Comments on Rocket Writes a Story, by Tad Hills (ages 4 - 8), last added: 9/26/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
1345. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Morning,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Mary Blair

“…Some blew / To the ground, / One lit on a rose, /
And a big one burst / On the kitten’s nose.”
– From Miriam Clark Potter’s
The Golden Book of Little Verses,
originally published in 1953

(Click to enlarge)

This morning at Kirkus, I write about a lovely picture book that popped up and surprised me, Elin Kelsey’s You Are Stardust, illustrated by Soyeon Kim. That link will be here today.

* * *

Last week, I wrote about A Mary Blair Treasury of Golden Books, released this August. That link is here, if you missed it. Above is a spread from the book, and below are a couple more.

Enjoy. (more…)

2 Comments on What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Morning,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring Mary Blair, last added: 9/22/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
1346. A Tree Grows for Bear to Climb

The Tree That Bear Climbed

By Marianne Berkes

Illustrated by Kathleen Rietz

In any given city on any given day, a bear climbs a tree. Have you ever wondered how that tree became so strong, or why did that bear choose to climb to the top of a tree? Marianne Berkes and Kathleen Rietz show you just why Bear decided to climb this tree! Have Fun with the coloring page at the bottom, click on the image for a full page to color.

Everyone knows about the house that Jack built, but this is The Tree That Bear Climbed. What makes this tree so fascinating to bear? Starting with the roots that anchor the tree, this chain of events story in cumulative verse explores many different things that help a tree stand tall. It also lends itself to further discussion with fun repetition and detailed picture clues, stimulating a child’s curiosity. Why does the bear climb the tree and what happens when he arrives at his goal?

About the author and illustrator

Award-winning author Marianne Berkes (pronounced Ber-kess with two syllables) is a retired teacher and librarian who turned her love of nature and teaching into writing informational picture books. In addition to The Tree That Bear Climbed and Animalogy for Sylvan Dell, some of Marianne’s other recent and award-winning titles include: Going Home, The Mystery of Animal Migration; Over in the Ocean, in a Coral Reef; Over in the Jungle, a Rainforest Rhyme; Going Around the Sun, Some Planetary Fun, and Marsh Morning. Visit her website at www.MarianneBerkes.com.

A lifelong artist and lover of nature, Kathleen Rietz was drawing and painting before she learned to write her name. Originally, from Peoria, IL, Kathleen received her formal training from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, IL. In addition, to illustrating Desert Baths, The Tree That Bear Climbed, Prairie Storms, and Champ’s Story: Dogs Get Cancer Too! for Sylvan Dell, Kathleen’s other books include Conce Tu Parque, Little Black Ant on Park Street, The ABC’s of Yoga for Kids, and Prayers for Children. She taught art to children and adults at the Community School of the Arts at historic Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL, and through a local home school program in her community. For more information about Kathleen, visit her website: http://www.kathleenrietz.com/.

Comment on this post to win a FREE The Tree That Bear Climbed eBook.

0 Comments on A Tree Grows for Bear to Climb as of 9/14/2012 1:28:00 PM
Add a Comment
1347. Picture Book Delights

These picture book are absolute delights.

Bush Bash Sally Morgan & Ambelin Kwaymullina (Little Hare)
One dashing dingo is off and looking very excited and along the way many of the Australian bush animals ask “where is he going?” Dingo won’t say but he does invite the nosy numbats, the flying frogs, the burrowing bilbies and the rest of the menagerie to follow him to his final destination. Here the animals discover that dingo has come, with the other animals in tow, to celebrate emu’s birthday. .
This is a lusciously beautiful counting book with bold colours that simply jump off the page. The text is clear and simple with appropriate alliteration, like slithering sea snake, and waddling wombats and the colours entrancing in this wonderful Australian animal counting book.
As well as the featured native animal on each double page spread there is also an animal that does not belong in the Australian bush and an aboriginal object all there for the reader to discovery. Look for the dingo prints too. Hints for finding these are on the final page. Just lovely!

My Dad's the Coolest Rosie Smith & Bruce Whatley (Scholastic)
It’s alwasy the right time to mention a book especially about wonderful dads and this is one of those delightful books. It has simple well spaced text and large single page illustrations of beautiful animals.
This is a joyful celebration about cool dads and their offspring … and all the cool things that they do together, whether it be teaching to dig, playing hide-and-seek, climbing together, feathery tickles, dancing or simply having fun, dads are cool! And the dad animals demonstrating this coolness are beautifully illustrated with delightful animals with perfect facial expressions.
This book is the companion book to My Mum's the Best.
Hooray for wonderful dads.

Alex and the Watermelon Boat Chris McKimmie (Allen&Unwin)
For slightly older readers, this book, inspired by the 2011 Brisbane floods, is the story of Alex who is told not to go outside because the river had burst its banks, the dam was overflowing and the water was rising. But rabbit, his most valuable stuffed toy, had hopped out the window so Alex too heads out the window, climbs aboard his watermelon boat and sets sail in search of rabbit. He floats through the town noticing the dramatic changes that have occurred including the cat stuck on the roof, the rooftop BBQ, the man in the boat filled with supplies, the floating pots and pans and amusing incidents like the shark causing a trafiic jam. Soon Alex is lost until he hears something familiar – a car radio that leads him to rabbit and their eventual escape, via a winding ladder, back home. The story nicely concludes with the return to normality and the planting of a tree.
This is another amazingly and intriguingly crafted picture book in McKimmie style with many font styles and with art a mix that varies from collage, child-like pencil line drawings, to splotches and patches of colour throughout and with beautiful endpapers. This book will be investigated many times with each revealing something new.

0 Comments on Picture Book Delights as of 9/15/2012 4:24:00 AM
Add a Comment
1348. Picture Book Saturday

Here are some recent favorites I've discovered at the library!

Oh No, Little Dragon! by Jim Averbeck
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Poor dragon was roaring and firing his flame until-oops!-he swallowed some water and now his flame is out! How can he get it back?

The illustrations are adorable. I mean, don't you just want to adopt that cute little dragon on the cover and give him a big hug?? The text is simple, the story is fun, and the illustrations are just too cute making this a perfect read aloud and great for storytimes. I also really appreciated that it had a bit of a sappy storyline (Mama Dragon helps Little Dragon get his fire back) but it never veers into annoyingly sappy territory.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Zoe is trying to get ready for the day, but what clothes will she need?

Oh Zoe, I understand your dilemma so well. I hate trying to choose outfits and pick out clothes. (I'll admit that I will lay in bed trying to figure out what to wear for the day!) And when you don't know what kind  of adventure you're going to have that day, how do you pick the right outfit? Anyone who has  had the task of getting a preschooler ready for the day can relate to Zoe.  Her reasoning for her various outfit choices (what if it's a twirling day? Or what if it's a hiding day?) will resonate with preschoolers. The illustrations are bright and colorful and I'll admit, I wouldn't mind having Zoe's wardrobe! The ending will leave parents laughing making this a great lapsit  read.

1 Comments on Picture Book Saturday, last added: 9/15/2012
Display Comments Add a Comment
1349. I Say, You Say Opposites and I Say, You Say Animal Sounds Giveaway!

Happy Saturday! Thanks to Little Brown, I have THREE sets of the cutest board books to giveaway!  I SAY, YOU SAY OPPOSITES! and I SAY, YOU SAY ANIMAL SOUNDS! by artist Tad Carpenter, released on September 11th, and now you have a chance to win a set!

From the publisher:  

I SAY, YOU SAY OPPOSITES! and I SAY, YOU SAY ANIMAL SOUNDS! are interactive and endlessly entertaining lift-the-flap board books that emphasize "word prediction," an important language development step for young readers. As parent readers call out the animal on each page, the child reader is encouraged to triumphantly respond with the correct answer, hidden beneath the flap. Fun and educational, this call-and-response technique offers a playful interactive reading experience and is a delightful and exciting way for children to learn words.

With a bright, retro-style palette and round-eyed animals, the I SAY, YOU SAY board book series is perfect for today’s hip babies and parents.

Tad Carpenter is an illustrator and designer living in Kansas City, Missouri, and an adjunct professor in graphic design and illustration at the University of Kansas. You can visit him at www.tadcarpenter.com.

Here are some interior pages so you can see the cuteness for yourself!


So cute!!

Fox leaves Turtle in the dust!

Later, Alligator!!


So adorable!

Happy piggies!

The nightowls are bothering one of their neighbors!

Entering is easy! Just fill out the Rafflecopter widget below.  Extra entries for following and tweeting.   US mailing addresses only, please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Add a Comment
1350. Brrr… How Do You Stay Warm in the Winter?

A Warm Winter Tail

By Carrie A. Pearson

Illustrated by Christina Wald

Finally, to wrap up the Sylvan Dell Launch Week we end With A Warm Winter Tail.

Sparked from walk in the woods Carrie Pearson wrote A Warm Winter Tail, a twist on staying warm in the long cold months of winter.

Do you ever wonder how animals stay warm in the winter? Well, they wonder how humans do too! In a twist of perspective, wild creatures question if humans use the same winter adaptation strategies that they do. Do they cuddle together in a tree or fly south to Mexico? Take a look through an animal’s eyes and discover the interesting ways animals cope with the cold in this rhythmic story.

Carrie A. Pearson is originally from Hillsdale, Michigan, and now lives in Marquette, Michigan on the sandy shore of Lake Superior. A former early elementary teacher, she is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and is the winner of the coveted SCBWI-Michigan Picture Book Mentorship Award. Her nonfiction work has appeared in Michigan History Magazine. Currently she is working on several picture book manuscripts as well as an historical novel for middle grade readers set in an abandoned orphanage. Along with her husband and their three daughters (and their two Labradoodles), she hikes, bikes, runs, and skis in the woods, windsurfs, kayaks, stand-up paddles, and swims in the chilly water and writes about what she experiences around her. The idea for A Warm Winter Tail, her debut picture book, came from an encounter with a whitetail deer on a wintry day. Stop by Carrie’s website www.carriepearsonbooks.com to learn about her school and library visits.

In addition to illustrating A Warm Winter Tail, Habitat Spy, Little Red Bat, andHenry the Impatient Heron for Sylvan Dell, Christina Wald has illustrated for a wide variety of toys, games, books, and magazines. From a book that featured hundreds of animals on each page (Look, Find, and Learn: Animals of the World) to games including the Star Wars role playing game series, every assignment covers something new and exciting. In recent years, she has illustrated tons of different animals for books and other publications. Christina enjoys the research aspect of such projects, saying that each new book is a fascinating new learning experience. She often integrates travel to research for her illustrations. She lives in Ohio with her husband and three cats. Visit Christina’s website.

0 Comments on Brrr… How Do You Stay Warm in the Winter? as of 9/15/2012 3:40:00 PM
Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts