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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: perfect picture book fridays, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Perfect Picture Book Friday - A Special Occasion

Today is a special day, so I'm going to depart slightly from my usual Perfect Picture Book post and tell you a (very condensed :)) story.

Once upon a time, I had a house full of babies - diaper-clad, chubby-limbed, crawling, walking, running, climbing, lap-snuggling, bedtime-reading, dressing-up, imagining, adventuring, singing, dancing, laughing, mile-a-minute children who filled our home with energy, love, and joy.

And they did what kids will do.

In what feels like a heart beat, they grew up.

This weekend, we will celebrate not one, but two graduations.

While they mark wonderful new beginnings, they also mark the end of an era, and it's making me a wee bit nostalgic.

So I want to share a special Perfect Picture Book Collection - a round-up of the family favorites that made up so many happy hours of reading at nap time and bedtime, on rainy afternoons or long car drives, with parents, grandparents, and older siblings - a little glimpse of those golden childhood years which seem to have flown by far too quickly.

(Many have been reviewed for Perfect Picture Books and link to their reviews on the blogs of the wonderful PPBF bloggers who shared them.  And a few I realized, had been reviewed at one time, but the links are no longer active - so they could be done again :))

Goodnight Moon












Dear Zoo













Each Peach Pear Plum










The Itsy Bitsy Spider













The Cat In The Hat













The Cat In The Hat Comes Back













Green Eggs And Ham











Go, Dog, Go! (was reviewed but link is no longer active)













One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish













Make Way For Ducklings (was reviewed but link is no longer active)













Blueberries For Sal (was reviewed but link is no longer active)










Harry The Dirty Dog













Bedtime For Frances (whole series)













Madeline (whole series) (has been reviewed twice but don't have links on hand)













Curious George













All The Places To Love













The Camel Who Took A Walk













Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel










George And Martha (whole series)













The Story Of Ferdinand













Flap Your Wings













Contrary Bear













Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon (has been reviewed but don't have link on hand)













Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse













Julius The Baby Of The World













Mowing








Cowgirl Rosie And Her Five Baby Bison













The Giant Jam Sandwich










The King, The Mice, And The Cheese













The Best Nest













The House On East 88th Street (whole series)















Mole Music













Of course there were many others, but those are some of the tried-and-true, beloved by all the kids regardless of age, stage, or gender, that were read over and over so often that I used to be able to recite many of them by heart.  If you're looking for a list of best books to give as a baby gift, or just want a field-tested group of favorites, I highly recommend all of the above :)

Today's picture-book-aged kids likely have a different set of favorites, but I'm curious: how many of these are on your list of family favorites?

This weekend's graduations are scheduled for the same day... same time... different states, which means neither child will have her whole family in attendance, and none of us will be able to attend both milestone moments (which, as you can imagine, is causing a great deal of heart wrenching.)  It also means that in order to attend at least part of each child's momentous occasion, there will be a lot of traveling, so please forgive me if I fail miserably to visit your blogs and read your choices this weekend.  I will try to catch up next week!

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 Memorial Day Weekend, and enjoy whatever events you may have planned, or just happy time with your families!

Happy beginning of summer :)



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2. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Sheep Go To Sleep

My goodness what a busy week it has been!  I feel like I keep saying that! :)

I already know next week is going to be WAY busier so. . . donations of chocolate will be gratefully accepted :)  (A girl needs fuel!)

(Phyllis says groundhogs also need fuel and she will accept donations of strawberries.)

(And Woolliam (aka Baab) says sheep... oh, never mind, he's asleep.)

As you all know, I am very fond of books about sheep :), and I have the most marvelous new one to share with you today!  It's as perfect as only a Perfect Picture Book can be! :)

Title: Sheep Go To Sleep
Written By: Nancy Shaw
Illustrated By: Margot Apple
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, May, 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: bedtime, counting, animals, language fun (rhyme)

Opening: "Winking fireflies light the way,
as sheep stroll home to hit the hay.
Five sheep settle in their shed,
using straw to make the bed."

Brief Synopsis: It's time for bed, but the sheep are having a little trouble settling down.  Fortunately a trusty collie knows just what to do to get them all happy and cozy for the night.

Links To Resources: talk about what things you need to go to sleep - are there some things everyone likes to have at bedtime and other things that are more individual?; Sheep Crafts & Activities; 30 Cute Lamb & Sheep Crafts for Kids & Adults; Marshmallow Sheep Recipes

Why I Like This Book: Delightful rhyme, a sweet, fun story, and adorable art - what's not to love? :)  Just like a lot of children I know, the sheep hear some scary noises and feel a little too worried to fall asleep.  Their friend the collie is as wise and understanding as any parent.  He gives one a hug, one a drink, one a blanket until at last everyone is tucked in safe and cozy, sound asleep.  And in the morning, when the sheep wake up, where do you think the collie has gone?  (I'm not telling. You'll have to read to find out :))  A lovely, comforting story (which incorporates some counting along the way for an added bonus :)) that is a perfect addition to any bedtime bookshelf.

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!


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3. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Meet The Dullards

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

As you all know, I am behind (not even going to say how far!) in updating the Perfect Picture Book List.  One of my problems is that Blogger overloaded due to how much I was trying to put on that page.  I'm trying to sort out a better system.  Stacy, the wonderful and generous, put together a possible plan which I haven't had time to figure out yet, but in the meantime, at the very least, I have two (2!) things to mention.

1.  I am experimenting with using Pinterest for the theme lists, so many Perfect Picture Books, grouped by theme, are on Pinterest HERE.

2.  The complete alphabetical list of books that have been done through April 10, 2015, is on another blog HERE.  It is grouped into titles A-H, I-P, and Q-Z.  Although all the titles are listed, the vast majority have yet to be linked to their reviews because I haven't figured out how to get an eighth day into the week just for PPBF updating :)

There is a theme list on the new blog and it is complete - all the themes are listed alphabetically, and they connect to the Pinterest boards... but the Pinterest boards are only partially loaded.

There is a list of contributing bloggers on the right side of the new blog which I know is incomplete.  If you're a contributing blogger whose site isn't mentioned, please feel free to email me and I'll add you in - I just couldn't remember everything off the top of my head so have been adding slowly as I go along - and I apologize for not getting you up there already!

As I said, I've been experimenting, so things are a bit at sixes and sevens and this is a stop-gap measure until I can figure out what is going to work best for this amazing and impressive list.  In my dreams, I'd also like to list the books in a way that would be helpful to writers looking for mentor texts - examples of parallel stories, or wordless picture books, etc...  But like I said, I lack an eighth weekday... so we'll see :)

As for today's Perfect Picture Book, I have a fun one for you, because sometimes books should just be fun :)

Title: Meet The Dullards
Written By: Sara Pennypacker
Illustrated By: Daniel Salmieri
Balzer & Bray, March 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: humor, family

Opening: "One day, Mr. and Mrs. Dullard received quite a nasty surprise. [art: children are reading books: Becoming One With The Tightrope and The Nicest Way To Befriend A Lion]  The Dullards collected the books and handed their children some nice blank paper to read instead.  Then they left the room to discuss the problem in private."

Brief Synopsis: Mr. and Mrs. Dullard are committed to raising a dull family, doing everything in their power to keep their children safe from the evils of applesauce cake, puppies, and thinking.  If only they knew... :)

Links To Resources: talk about family traditions: what are some things you do as a family? How are these things alike or different from what other people do with their families?  Do you think people are "weird" if they do things differently?  Discuss things to do together as a family.  In this book, the kids are completely focused on joining the circus while their parents concentrate on being dull - in a group or individually, think up and illustrate another Dullards story where the kids have a new plan and practice making the story say one thing while the pictures show another.  Why is this funny?

Why I Like This Book:  I have long been a fan of The Stupids and, more recently, The Dumb Bunnies.  The Dullards are full of tongue-in-cheek humor.  Mrs. Dullard faints at the sight of flowered wallpaper.  The Dullards' idea of fun is (actually!) watching paint dry.  And when Mr. and Mrs. Dullard see a snail crossing the driveway they pack up their family and move away from such dangerous excitement.  Meanwhile, readers (young and old alike) will enjoy the illustrations which depict the elder Dullards picking out paint (gray or beige?) oblivious to their offspring juggling paintbrushes, climbing on clotheslines and befriending puppies.  The contradiction of the text and the deadpan illustrations is entertaining every time through the book!  This book is just plain fun! :)

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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4. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Mossy

Thank goodness for Perfect Picture Book Friday!  It gives me an excuse to sit in the library or bookstore and read picture books :)

Today's choice is from one of my favorite author/illustrators.  And it's loosely related to Earth Day (which was 2 days ago) because it's about being kind to animals :)  I hope you like it :)

Mossy
Written & Illustrated By: Jan Brett
Putnam Juvenile, September 2012

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: consideration, kindness, animals in their natural habitat, perspective

Opening: "On a misty, moisty morning, a young turtle stood at the edge of Lilypad Pond.  Her name was Mossy."

Brief Synopsis: Mossy loves her pond.  She spends so much time in the damp coolness that first moss and then a garden grow on her carapace.  One day, she meets a handsome turtle named Scoot who thinks she's very beautiful, but just as they are on the verge of becoming friends, Dr. Carolina and Tory spot Mossy.  "She is perfect for the museum!" declares Dr. Carolina.  And so Mossy is carried away from her beloved pond and her new friend.  Dr Carolina gives her everything she thinks a turtle needs, but fails to understand that Mossy already had everything she needed.  It is Tory who sees that Mossy is sad.  So they come up with a way to keep Mossy at the museum but also give her what her heart desires.

Links To Resources:  The back jacket flap of the book tells about the real incident that inspired this story for Jan Brett.  The book provides a wonderful opportunity for discussion about animals in the wild vs. animals in captivity.  Why might it be good to take an animal out of its natural habitat?  Why might it be bad?  Have you ever captured anything (perhaps a caterpillar, a frog or toad, or a garter snake?) and kept it for a while?  How long did you keep it?  What happened to it?  Did you put it back where you found it?  A New York Times Q&A with Jan Brett about Mossy.  Jan Brett Coloring Pages (Mossy isn't here yet, but she may show up!)  Jan Brett Activity Pages (also no Mossy yet, but lots of other fun things to choose from!)

Why I Like This Book: Well, to start with, it's a Jan Brett :)  That means a good story and gorgeous art!  Add to that the fact that it's about a turtle who is a walking garden and what's not to like? :)  But the part I like best is how Tory realizes that Mossy isn't happy in captivity and makes sure that she is returned to her beloved pond.  It's a beautiful tale about doing what's right for someone else, and realizing when you've made a mistake (even with good intentions.)

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 all picked!

Have a great weekend, everyone!  And maybe I'll see some of you at the SCBWI conference :)



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5. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Kate And Pippin: An Unlikely Love Story

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

And happy first day of May! :)

I have SUCH a cute book to share with you today!  You know me - I always love a good true animal story with a happy ending :)  I'll just warn you in advance that I went hog wild with the photos :)  Enjoy!


Title: Kate And Pippin: An Unlikely Love Story
Written By: Martin Springett
Photographs By: Isobel Springett
Henry Holt & Co, February 2012, Nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Friendship, Love, Animals

Opening: "The fawn lay still and quiet.  She was alone and afraid as she waited for her mother to come back.
Every little deer needs its mother to protect it from the many dangers of the forest.
But her mother did not return, and three long days passed."


Brief Synopsis: When a fawn is abandoned by her mother, a nearby couple takes her in, hoping to save her.  Their Great Dane, Kate, though she has never had puppies of her own, knows just what to do to raise a baby deer.


Links To Resources: talk about friendship - what qualities do you look for in a friend? what makes a good friend? who can be your friend?  Talk about family - what makes a family?  Talk about wild animals - what should you do if you see a baby animal by itself? when should you leave it alone and when is it a good idea to try to help it?  http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/injured_orphaned_wildlife.html
And here's a bonus video of a mama cat who adopts an orphaned squirrel... and it learns to purr :)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHT1nAX46dM


Why I Like This Book:  I love true animal stories.  And I love cute baby animal pictures :)  And I love happy endings.  This book has them all.  The story also serves as a lovely model for acceptance, tolerance, and different kinds of families, and allows for discussion about what makes a family and/or what are the important qualities in a friend.  The couple who took Pippin in make no effort to keep her.  She returns to the wild and lives a free and independent life.  But she comes back to visit :)


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 always look forward to each new week's list of fabulous books!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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6. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Double Feature! - Sophie's Animal Parade AND Dress Me!

Well, what do you know!

It's Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

And I'm about to something unprecedented...

I'm reviewing two picture books today!

I know!

Unheard of!

But here's why:

Two of my dear writer friends had books release this week on the SAME DAY from the SAME PRESS!  What are the odds?  And both books are too wonderful to pass up, and I couldn't possibly choose one over the other in their book birthday week, so there you have it - two for the price of one :)

I hope you enjoy them both! (And in case you're wondering, they are genuine Perfect Picture Books, not just here because they were written by friends!  That is just a happy coincidence :))

Title: Sophie's Animal Parade
Written By: Amy Dixon
Illustrated By: Katia Wish
May 2015, Sky Pony Press, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: imagination, loneliness, friendship, animals

Opening: "Everything Sophie drew came to life.  Mama called it Sophie's imagination.  Sophie called it magic.
When Sophie felt hungry, she drew something scrumptious to eat.
When Sophie felt sleepy, she drew somewhere cozy to rest.
And when Sophie felt cold, she drew something snuggly to wear."

Brief Synopsis:  Sophie's drawings have the magical ability to come to life.  One day, feeling lonely, Sophie draws a friend.  And then another... and another...  Sophie's room isn't quite the place for any of them, and accommodating their needs makes them impossible to play with (the polar bear can't reach the scones and jam from inside his igloo; the duck can't play hide-n-seek in a wading pool with nowhere to hide etc.)  But in the end, Sophie finds a friend - no pencils or paper required :)


Links To Resources: if your drawings could come to life, what would you draw? Someone to be friends with, like Sophie? (animal, human, alien, unicorn, fairy etc.???)  Someplace you'd like to visit (a castle, a beach, an enchanted forest, etc.???) Something you'd like to do (perform on Broadway, compete at the Olympics, explore the jungle etc,???)  Now draw it!; discuss how you know if something is real or imaginary; why might an imaginary friend be better than a real friend?  why might a real friend be better than an imaginary friend? Sophie Coloring Pages

Why I Like This Book:  The concept of drawings coming to life is so engaging and fun - what child wouldn't want to have that ability?!  And hasn't every child felt lonely at some point and longed for a friend?  This is an endearing story with delightful animal-antic-filled illustrations, and the sweet message that as fun as imagination is, real friends are what matter.  The page where Sophie meets Luke and checks to make sure she hasn't drawn him (no pencils!) is perfect, as is the very real friendship between two imaginative animal lovers :)



Title: Dress Me!
Written & Illustrated By: Sarah-Frances Hardy
May 2015, Sky Pony Press, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-5

Themes/Topics: careers, being yourself, exploration, self-expression

Opening: "Dress me!
Tutu me!
Dancer me!"

Brief Synopsis: A little girl tries outfit after outfit, exploring the many possibilities of what she can be- dancer, artist, teacher, lawyer etc until she finds just the right one.


Links To Resources: think up 3 careers you'd like to try.  Do any of them require special outfits or equipment? If so, what is required?  See if you can find or make some items so you can dress up like the people in those careers.  Play charades and act out a job/career you'd like to try - fireman, doctor, plumber, lawyer, carpenter, teacher, minister, etc.

Why I Like This Book:  With simple text (the word count is 44!) and adorable illustrations, a little girl tries out being a dancer, an artist, a monster, a doctor, a plumber, and many other things.  In each case, her little dog is right alongside her, joining in the fun and often sporting his own accessories.  This is a wonderful story that makes exploration, self-discovery, the freedom to choose who you are and what you want to be accessible to youngest readers.  Sweet and fun.

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

If anyone would care to visit Amy Dixon or Sarah Frances Hardy, they are both very talented and have wonderful sites!   Please visit Amy HERE and Sarah Frances HERE.  Should you be interested, their sites include links to purchase their delightful books! (Actually, I'm not sure Amy's does, but you can find her books in all the usual places :))

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 this week's bounty of books!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!  And Happy Mother's Day to everyone who is a mother, or has a mother, or knows a mother!!!  :)



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7. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Bear Ate Your Sandwich

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

You will probably be able to tell instantly by my selection and suggested activities that I am dreaming of spring on this sub-zero day!  This book is so fun - I hope you'll enjoy it!

Title: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
Written & Illustrated By: Julia Sarcone-Roach
Knopf Books For Young Readers, January 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: humor, mischief, story-telling/tall tale, journey, unreliable narrator

Opening: "By now I think you know what happened to your sandwich.  But you may not know how it happened.  So let me tell you.  It all started with the bear."

Brief Synopsis: A bear in search of breakfast falls asleep in the back of a berry truck and ends up in the city.  After exploring his surroundings, he ends up in the park... near an unattended sandwich.  "Your beautiful and delicious sandwich.  All alone."  After the sandwich, it's back to the familiar forest for bear.  But the story has a twist at the end that's as delicious as the sandwich!



Links To Resources: Facts About Bears; Fun Sandwich Recipes For Kids; 50+ Fun Kids' Picnic Ideas; the narrator in this story is completely unreliable - try making up stories of your own with an unreliable narrator who doesn't give himself away until the very end!

Why I Like This Book: Such a fun story!  The bear is so sweet and funny and sympathetic, going along just doing what bears do - eating, sleeping, exploring.  Meanwhile, something entirely different is going on.  The narrator is just leading you down the primrose path, casual as you please, and it's not until the very end you realize you can't believe a word he says! :)  You will have to read the story to find out what REALLY happened to the sandwich :)  The art is gorgeous - lush and colorful and filled with fun details... and a clue :)

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 if you live anywhere near me, stay warm! :)


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8. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Finding Spring

Look at that!  It's Perfect Picture Book Friday again!

And just in time, too!

In keeping with my theme for this week (you know, the one where I insist that spring is coming in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary :)) I have the perfect book!

Title: Finding Spring
Written & Illustrated By: Carin Berger
Greenwillow Books, January 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8 (though I think a lot of 3 year olds would love it too :))

Themes/Topics: seasons (Spring), animals (bears), perseverance, patience

Opening: "The forest was growing cold.  Mama said that soon it would be time to sleep, but all Maurice could think about was his first spring."

Brief Synopsis: Mama bear says it's time to sleep, but all Maurice can think about is spring.  So when Mama goes to sleep, Maurice sets out to find it.  He has never seen spring, however, so he's not really sure where to look or even what he's looking for!

Links To Resources: take a nature walk and look for signs of spring; make up a list of signs of spring and check them off as they appear - is spring here yet?; How To Make A Diorama (video); Diorama Crafts For Kids; try making your own diorama about spring; make paper flowers; how to make tissue paper flowers (video)

Why I Like This Book: Every child on earth understands impatience - how hard waiting is, and how much more fun to take action!  Maurice is not deterred in the slightest by the fact that he doesn't actually know what spring is.  He just looks until he knows he's found it.  And he can tell he's found it because it's the most magical thing he's ever seen!  Just wait until you see what it is (and no, I'm not telling! :))  The book is illustrated with dioramas and cut-paper collages and is just gorgeous - a feast for the eyes of kids and grown-ups alike.  A perfect choice for those of us currently longing for spring :)

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 what delights you've chosen for us this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  It will be March by the time it's over! :)


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9. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between A Soldier & His Service Dog

Well, guess what?

After a (very!) brief foray into the 20s, we're back to zero degrees!  But at least it's not (currently) snowing :)  And it's not BELOW zero!  It's important to keep sight of silver linings :)

Thank goodness for Perfect Picture Book Fridays, where we can enjoy lots of great titles and ignore the weather!

My choice for today is on a more serious topic, but the book is well written - on a level that kids can understand and appreciate without it being scary/upsetting in any way - and I hope you'll enjoy it and find it a useful addition to your libraries.


Title: Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond Between A Soldier And His Service Dog

Written By: Luis Carlos Montalvan & Bret Witter

Photographs By: Dan Dion

Roaring Brook Press, May 2014, Nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: service/therapy animals, military life, photographic book, love, nonfiction

Opening: "In the morning, every morning, my friend Luis wakes up to . . .   this."


Brief Synopsis: After tours in Iraq left him wounded and distressed, Captain Luis Montalvan returned home to a life he was no longer comfortable living.  He reached a point where he was afraid to leave his apartment.  But a service dog named Tuesday changed everything for him.  Tuesday helps Luis with daily tasks, and he calms and comforts Luis by always being there for him.  Tuesday has made it possible for Luis to live a rewarding life.

Links To Resources: Facts About Service Dogs for Kids; Wayside Elementary Schools Special Needs Awareness Program (SNAP) (video); discuss how animals make you feel and what they do for you.


Why I Like This Book:  Every day, men and women risk their lives overseas for our freedom and way of life.  When they return home, it is often difficult to readjust, and to carry on with a life so at odds with what they've seen and survived.  This book gives kids a glimpse of the difficulties a soldier might face upon coming home at an appropriate and accessible level.  It also shows how the love and care of a therapy animal has the power to change a life.  It's written from the point of view of the dog, which makes it friendly and non-threatening.  For kids who have a relative or family friend who is a veteran, this book could be very helpful in understanding what they might be going through and in opening a discussion.  For any child, this book can encourage empathy and understanding.

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 books you're sharing this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  Maybe Springing forward will give Mother Nature the hint! :)


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10. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Soon

I seriously do not know where this week has gone!  Wasn't it just Sunday afternoon?!

And here it is Perfect Picture Book Friday again!  Where does the time go?  I think there's a time thief around here somewhere.  I'm going to have someone look into that at once.  I can't afford to be having entire weeks stolen right out from under me! :)

But for right now, I have the cutest, sweetest book to share with you.  I dare you not to fall in love with this baby elephant :)  His name is Raju... in case you were wondering :)

Title: Soon
Written By: Timothy Knapman
Illustrated By: Patrick Benson
Candlewick Press, February 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-5

Themes/Topics: patience, family relationship (mother/son), adventure, bedtime

Opening: "Very early one morning, Raju and his mother set out on a great adventure.  It was cold and dark.  They walked for a long time.  "When can we go home again?" asked Raju.  "Soon," said his mother."

Brief Synopsis:  A little elephant and his mother go on an adventure which the little elephant is not sure about.  "When can we go home?" he keeps asking.  But when the adventure is complete, all he wants to know is, "When can we go again?"

Links To Resources: discuss what you think the qualities of an adventure are, and what you would like to do for an adventure; talk about ways that your mom and/or dad makes you feel safe; go on an adventure walk; make up your own adventure story.

Why I Like This Book:  First and foremost, oh! I love the art!  Soft pastel colors, the cutest baby elephant you ever saw, and such expression in the elephants' faces and body language.  The story is sweet and tender, the mother leading her baby on a special outing, keeping him safe from every danger along the way (crocodiles, snakes, tigers) and in so doing teaching him how to keep himself safe.  In the same vein as The Camel Who Took A Walk (1967) (reviewed HERE for PPBF), there's not a lot of rootin' tootin' action, but the story is just lovely, and perfect for bedtime.

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 what wonderful books you've chosen this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


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11. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Step Gently Out

Happy First Day of Spring!!!

Pay no attention to the fact that it's freezing cold and snowing!

SPRING is officially HERE!

We should definitely celebrate with spring-colored cake!  Help yourselves :)

Lemon Cake with Lavender Icing -
pretty AND delicious :)
In celebration of spring and getting outdoors, I have such a beautiful, beautiful book to share with you!  I hope you'll love it as much as I do!

Step Gently Out
Written By: Helen Frost
Photography By: Rick Lieder
Candlewick, March 2012, Fiction

Themes/Topics: nature, insects, taking time to look closely, poetry

Suitable For: ages 2-7

Opening: "Step gently out,/ be still, and watch a single blade of grass."

Brief Synopsis: (From the Booklist starred review) "Nature’s miracles are often small and hard to capture, but in a syncopated harmony of text and image, Frost and Lieder manage to depict tiny moments as seen through a bugs-eye-view of the world... Moving from day to night, the poem makes for a soothing bedtime lullaby that includes a reminder to children about the book’s small creatures: "In song and dance / and stillness, / they share the world / with you.""

Links To Resources: the back of the book includes lots of information on all the insects pictured - a resource all in itself.  In addition, here are some Insect Coloring Pages.  Try taking some photographs of your own.  Try writing a short poem about an insect.

Why I Like This Book:  I am always in favor of books that encourage kids to go outside and look closely at the real world around them, really observe it, think about it, be part of it.  I'm not an insect lover per se :), but this book is amazingly beautiful.  I cannot stress enough how absolutely exquisite the photography is.  Such detail!  I wish I could share every page, but that would probably be frowned upon :)  Here's one more little sample:


It's breathtaking, isn't it? and I think kids and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy looking at it, especially in combination with the poetic text which is as gorgeous in it's imagery as the photography is.  This book is a feast for eyes and ears and hearts!

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

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!   And now everyone go out and enjoy Spring!  Just, if you live in my neck of the woods, put on your jacket... your hat... your snow boots... your scarf... your mittens... and then go frolic :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :)


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12. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Baby Blue Cat Who Said No

My Perfect Picture Book is below - I promise! :) - I just have a little explanation for it first.

As some of you may know, I teach an online picture book writing class.

This week, we got into a discussion about subjectivity.

As a writer, how do you know if your story will appeal to agents, editors, and readers (both the adults who will read your picture book aloud and the children who will listen)?

There are some basic rules of thumb: your story should have a beginning, middle and end (i.e. actually BE a story), it should have an engaging character and/or plot, it should strike an emotional note of some kind, and it's best not to write about inappropriate subjects, use foul language, glorify violence etc... - pretty much common sense :)

But beyond a certain point, there's really no way to tell for sure who is going to like what.  If it appeals to you, if it touches a chord in your heart, if it highlights a truth in your life, chances are it will do that for other people too.  But there will always be at least one person out there who can find something to criticize.  And I don't mean that in a bad way. I mean it in a comforting way.  You can't please everyone, so write the best story you can and likely you'll please someone.  Probably lots of someones :)

My Perfect Picture Book choice for today is a case in point - an older book, beloved by many (me and my children included!) - that received the following review:

"Line drawings that look like doodles of cute kittens in gray, orange, white, and blue cannot save this lame tale of a contrary kitten... This is a story of manipulation at its worst. The language is flat, especially when read aloud. This reviewer says ``NO!''" Marianne Pilla, formerly at Allard K. Lowenstein Library of Long Beach, N.Y. Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Ouch!

But I don't find it manipulative.  I find it an endearing and true-to-life example of the way toddlers behave - naughty one moment, full of remorse the next, right back to their own agenda the minute after that, but not mean-spirited or malicious in their intent.

Subjectivity :)

I hope you like this book as much as the people in my house do! :)

Title: The Baby Blue Cat Who Said No
Written & Illustrated By: Ainslie Pryor
Re-issue March 1988, Viking Juvenile, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: behavior (contrariness), humor

Opening: "Have you heard the story of the Baby Blue Cat who said No?
Once there was a Mama Cat and her four baby cats.
Baby Orange Cat,
Baby White Cat,
Baby Striped Cat, and
Baby Blue Cat.
Mama Cat loved all of her baby cats very much."

Brief Synopsis: Baby Orange Cat, Baby White Cat and Baby Striped Cat all behave the way little kittens should, but Baby Blue Cat is feeling ornery.  No matter what his Mama asks, he says, "No!"  But when he pushes his Mama too far, he apologizes and behaves... until his contrariness gets the better of him again :)

Links To Resources: Teaching Children A VocabularyFor Emotions; make cards with different emotions pictured and/or written  - e.g. a smiley face and/or HAPPY - and play emotion charades by letting kids pick a card and act out the emotions for the rest of the class or family and see if the observers can guess; talk about behavior - have you ever refused to do something just to be difficult? Do you sometimes do bad things and then feel sorry? Talk about how to say you're sorry - resource HERE.

Why I Like This Book:  The "flat language" :) is fun to read aloud.  (Years later, we still use the phrase "and here's your delicious cupcake, YUM YUM" :) )  The "line drawings that look like doodles" :) are cute and engaging (right down to the smile on the fish sandwich :))  But mostly, anyone who has ever spent 3 minutes around a toddler will recognize and appreciate Baby Blue Cat's desire to have some control, and some opportunity to be independent of his mother and siblings.  As I mentioned above, he's naughty, but when he goes too far he's genuinely remorseful.  Mama Cat loves her baby cats very much, and it is clear that Baby Blue Cat loves his Mama Cat too :)

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 fabulous picks for this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!!


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13. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Flap Your Wings

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

Since it's technically Spring, and since Sunday is Easter, I chose a book about an egg :)  It is another older book - almost 20 years older than last week's older book! - but it is one of my All Time Favorites!


Flap Your Wings
Written & Illustrated By: P.D. Eastman
Random House, 1969, Fiction
Suitable For: ages 3-8
Themes/Topics: assumptions, non-traditional family, unconditional love, responsibility
Opening: (this is actually the first three pages.)
"An egg lay in the path.
A boy came down the path.  He saw the egg.  "Someone might step on that egg and break it," he said.
He looked around.
He saw flamingos and frogs, and turtles and alligators.  "Whose egg is this?" he called.  But no one answered."

Brief Synopsis:  A little boy finds an egg.  He doesn't want it to get damaged, so he looks around until he finds the nest and carefully puts it back.  When Mr. and Mrs. Bird come home, they are surprised to find an egg in their nest... it wasn't there when they left!  But Mr. Bird says that if an egg is in their nest it must be their egg, so they must take care of it.  So they do... with very surprising results!

Links To Resources:  Ideas And Activities For Guided ReadingIncubation & Embryology Activities, use with An Egg Is Quiet (from PPBF link list), talk about what kind of animals, insects and reptiles lay eggs and how the eggs are the same and different.

Why I Like This Book:  This book is fun to read as a picture book, but is also an I Can Read type book that is very accessible to new readers.  The pictures are delightful - Mr. and Mrs. Bird's expressions are very entertaining.  But I really love the story because it doesn't go where you would expect.  It's funny.  And it's a great example of what agents, editors and reviewers mean when they talk about re-readability.  This book delighted me as a child, and delighted my children in their turn.  I've read it so many times that even now, years since I last read it to my kids, I can recite almost the whole book.  It's fun every time :)

If you get a chance to read it, I hope you like it as much as I do!

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

Before we head off to our weekends, I just want to share a little housekeeping note for those of you who are new to Perfect Picture Book Fridays:

Perfect Picture Books are more than just reviews.

The thing that sets Perfect Picture Books apart is the resources.

It is our goal to make it easy for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers to expand on the use of picture books.

Essentially, we're handing them a great picture book and one or more activities they can use with it ready-made.

The resources you provide may be online links, but they don't have to be.  Many PPBF bloggers think up GREAT activities and discussion questions and recipes and games etc...

The crucial thing is that the book you post must have at least one good resource to expand on its use at home and/or in the classroom in order to be added to the comprehensive list.  And the resource must be ready to use - by which I mean, saying a book can be used for finger rhymes or a math activity doesn't help a parent or teacher who doesn't know any finger rhymes or math activities, so please tell us which finger rhyme and how to do it, or provide a specific math activity, etc.  Thank you so much!

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you and see what terrific books you've chosen this week!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and Happy Easter and Happy Passover to those who celebrate!



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14. Perfect Picture Book Friday - High-Tailing It Out Of The State!

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I'm just going to 'fess up right away.

I don't have a book today.

Not for lack of trying - I read a whole pile.  But none of the books in my pile particularly struck my fancy.  And my sister was visiting and there was a visit to the seamstress about prom dress alteration and college revisit planning and lameness diagnosis for Jemma who is very lame in the off fore (or at least that's what you'd say if she were a horse) (and by "diagnosis" I mean everyone is scratching their heads because really we don't know what's wrong except maybe it's her shoulder) and work, work, work, and etc. and I just flat out ran out of time.

And now, as you are sipping your coffee and happily anticipating loads of lovely Perfect Picture Books, I am high-tailing it out of the state!

That's right.

Princess Blue Kitty and I are heading to the Green Mountains for the day so that I can hear one child present her honors history thesis at the symposium... after which I shall return home in time to hear another child sing at Arts Night.

That's the plan.

Good lord willing and the creek don't rise! :)

So please, share amongst yourselves, visit each other, enjoy all the picture books on offer this week... and I'll catch up as soon as I can!

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)


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15. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Goodnight, Ark PLUS A Giveaway!!!

Dzoo dzoo-doo dzoo dzoo dzoo dzooooo!!!

(That's me playing my kazoo in celebration.  You didn't know I was a kazoo virtuoso, did you?  Just another of my many talents.  I am also a whiz at removing toothpaste "mints" from the sink :))

Welcome back to another year of Perfect Picture Book Fridays!

I am so looking forward to all the new picture books we're going to share!

Parents, teachers, readers, and writers take note!  There will be something for everyone to enjoy and learn from :)

I am thrilled to be presenting a wonderful book for the 2014-2015 PPBF kick-off, written by none other than your friend and mine, Laura Sassi.  Since this is part of her blog tour, we are fortunate to have her here with us today, sharing her thoughts on the illustrations and how parents and teachers can engage their kids through them.  She and her publisher, Zonderkidz, are also generously offering a giveaway, so one lucky reader will win a copy of this delightful book! (U.S. residents only - street address, no P.O. box - publisher's stipulation.)  Laura's thoughts and the giveaway will appear below the book listing.

Title: Goodnight, Ark
Written By: Laura Sassi
Illustrated By: Jane Chapman
Zonderkidz, August 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8 (according to publisher, but I think ages 2-3 would enjoy it too :))

Themes/Topics: animals, bedtime, fear (of thunderstorms), language fun (rhyme, onomatopoeia)

Opening: "Beds are ready.
Food is stored.
Noah hollers,
"All aboard!"
Guests rush forward.
Furry, scaled,
woolly, feathered,
swishy-tailed."

Brief Synopsis: Two by two, the animals board Noah's ark.  They're supposed to settle down and go to sleep... but the heavy rain, thunder and lightning frighten them, so two by two they climb in bed with Noah!  How much can one bed take? And will anybody get any sleep?

Links To Resources: talk about onomatopoetic words - what onomatopoetic words can kids think up?  Words for eating sounds? Engine noises? Musical sounds?; Noah's Ark coloring page #1Noah's Ark coloring page #2; talk about the bible story of Noah's ark - how is it like GOODNIGHT, ARK and how is it different?; talk about fears - is anyone afraid of storms?  What other things are frightening?  What can you do to feel safe and secure when you're frightened?; the animals are described as "furry, scaled, woolly, feathered, swishy-tailed" - what animals can you think of that are furry? scaled? etc.; please see Laura's thoughts below on ways to use the illustrations; here's the link to book trailer (in case it doesn't load properly here :)) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRsc-pKmKwM




Why I Like This Book: This is a delightful story - an entertaining, clever, child-friendly twist on the original Noah's ark.  The text is the perfect length for young attention spans.  The rhyme is filled with fun onomatopoetic words that kids will enjoy joining in with.  The art is bright, colorful and engaging, filled with small details that will keep young listeners busy.  But possibly my favorite thing is the skunks who have a whole story of their own going on in the illustrations.  Start looking for them in the 4th spread and watch what happens :)

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

The Importance of Illustration - Thoughts From Laura Sassi
(A lesson for writers, and an opportunity for parents, teachers, and kids :))

Author Laura Sassi
Visit her Blog
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One of the basic rules of picture book writing is that writers need to let the illustrations tell part of the story. I understood this in principle, but it wasn’t until I saw Jane Chapman’s delightful illustrations for GOODNIGHT, ARK that it really hit home. I mean, WOW! Her illustrations truly show that principle in action and are a great reminder for me, that as a writer, I should curb any lingering tendency to over-describe or over-prescribe my texts and let the illustrators do their jobs.  

Here, then, are some great examples of how Jane used illustration to add humor and even extra plot details to GOODNIGHT, ARK. You’ll have to look carefully, for they are subtly sprinkled throughout her rich and colorful spreads:
1.Extra Animals: In addition to the key players, Jane adds extra animal guests.  I found nine extra pairs. Can you?
2. Extra (funny!)provisions: The text makes no mention of specific provisions, leaving lots of room for Jane to add humorous extras like the canned cat food that rolls across the floor on the tippiest page in the story.  It took me several reads to notice them! What other funny provisions do you see?
3. Underwear!: Every child I’ve read my story to has howled at Jane’s humorous inclusion of polka-dotted boxers quietly hanging on the line to dry.  We’ve also chuckled over the toothbrush. Both nice touches, I would never have thought of. What other humorous extras can you find?
4. Extra Plot Layer:  I don’t want to give away the most exciting part, but a certain pair of creatures is instrumental in restoring balance on the ark. In her illustrations, Jane brings out the personality of this pair in a darling way, even hinting through their gestures that they planned the whole stinky thing.  I LOVE that extra layering! 

Thanks, Laura!  To see the other stops on Laura's blog tour (6 completed, 4 upcoming) please click HERE for the links.


And now for the giveaway!  All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment telling us something funny about bedtime: a favorite trick for getting kids to bed? an unusual bedtime routine? something kids won't sleep without? some clever way kids try to get out of bedtime?  Anything fun and bedtime-related.  Bonus point if it includes an animal in some way :)

My example (which does not include animals except as occasional topics of discussion) is that when my son was little, he was never ready for sleep when he got in bed.  Instead, he had what he called his "thinking time" which inevitably (Every. Night!) involved him getting up numerous times and coming to ask me such can't-wait questions as, "How much is infinity?", "Where does wind come from?", "How many teeth does a tyrannosaurus rex have?", and "Why is it called the Milky Way?"  To which I would respond knowledgeably, "Uh......." :)

Please leave your comment by Sunday September 14 at 5 PM EDT.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced next week.  One note: the publisher stipulates that the winner must reside in the U.S. and have a street address, not a PO box, so please let us know if you're commenting just for fun and are not eligible.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  Hurray!  Can't wait!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!


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16. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Little Blue Truck

Phew!

I don't know about you, but I'm glad it's Friday!  This week has been long and busy!  I'm plumb tuckered out!  (That's Little House On The Prairie speak for "tired" :))

Today's character is not plumb tuckered out, though.  He is busy and helpful :)

Title: Little Blue Truck
Written By: Alice Schertle
Illustrated By: Jill McElmurry
Harcourt Children's Books, 2008, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: friendship, helping, animals

Opening: "Horn went "BEEP!"
Engine purred.
Friendliest sounds
you ever heard.

Little Blue Truck
came down the road.
"BEEP!" said Blue
to a big green toad."

Brief Synopsis: A friendly Little Blue Truck drives down a country road, beeping hello to everyone he passes - a toad, a sheep, a cow, a piggy, etc.  All is well until a self-important dump truck comes along, shouldering everyone out of the way.  When the dump truck gets mired in the mud, it's up to Little Blue and his animal friends to help out even though the dump truck hadn't been very nice to them.

Links To Resources: draw and color in your own Little Blue Truck (or truck of any color of your choosing :)) and add in any animals that YOU would like to include in your journey; talk about what it means to be a friend; talk about the importance of helping others, even if they don't help you; K-5 Teaching Guide to Being Friends

Why I Like This Book:  This is a cute, fun book that will entertain toddlers through young elementary schoolers.  The beginning has lots of fun animals sounds to join in on and practice, and the rhythm of the text mimics the rhythm of the Little Blue Truck bounding down the road.   The end has a nice message about friendship and helping others.  The pictures are cute and friendly and warm - perfect for this lively little book :)

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

Apropos of nothing, Linda Boyden (who always posts awesome stuff!) posted a picture on FB a few days ago of a bear charging down the middle of a road.  The picture said, "Not a runner?  Now you are!" (I'd post it here, but I'd probably be breaking every copyright rule in the book!)  Anyway, I had to laugh, because I saw the picture yesterday, and then this morning when I was out "running" with my dogs, guess who we saw?  THE BEAR!  We were all pretty surprised.  There was a lot of barking (Scout) and pleading (me saying, "Scouty, PLEASE!  Leave that bear alone and come HERE RIGHT NOW!") and lumbering off into the bushes thank goodness (the bear), but golly, that'll get the ole heart pounding at 6 AM!

So I know that has nothing whatsoever to do with Perfect Picture Book Friday or the book I'm sharing today, but I had to tell SOMEONE! :)

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! :)


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17. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Very Best Pumpkin

Happy Friday, Everyone!

Guess what?

We got snow last night!

Have you had your first snow yet this year?

I'm afraid I wasn't ready with a book about snow, but I do have a lovely story of fall and friendship to share today :)

Title: The Very Best Pumpkin
Written By: Mark Kimball Moulton
Illustrated By: Karen Hillard Good
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, August 2010, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: friendship, seasons (autumn), nature/gardening (pumpkins)

Opening: "Down a winding country lane and over a rolling hill you'll find Pumpkin Hollow Farm, where a young boy named Peter lives with his grandparents, Mimi and Papa."

Brief Synopsis: While caring for pumpkins on his grandparents' farm, Peter discovers a little lonely one all off by itself.  He takes special care of it, and it grows into a beautiful perfect pumpkin.  Will he save it for himself?  Or give it to someone special?


Links To Resources: the back of the book has "Peter's Guide To Growing Your Own Very Best Pumpkin"; easy recipe for pumpkin bread; Jack-O-Lantern and Pumpkin Coloring Pages; go for a walk and look for signs of autumn; talk about how to make a friend

Why I Like This Book: The story is simple, sweet, and very appealing.  Peter tends the pumpkins while Meg, brand new to the neighborhood and given to sitting alone and reading, keeps an interested (but distant) eye on the proceedings.  When Meg comes to the pumpkin farm to pick a pumpkin, she can't find the right one... until Peter leads her out to his special pumpkin (which he has carefully saved, knowing she has been there watching) and gives it to her - the beginning of a beautiful friendship.  The art is warm, and inviting - full of charm and homey details.  All around, a comforting and cozy read.  And you get to learn a little something about growing pumpkins as an added bonus :)

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

Before we all go off to read everyone's wonderful selections for the week, I want to thank you all for your kind and supportive comments on Wednesday.  Such thoughtfulness and friendship truly make dealing with rejection easier, and your kindness meant so much to me.  And I just want you to know that I didn't write that post with the intent of getting sympathy - I wanted to share the things that matter to me, the things I love about my writing life, along with the reality of this path we've chosen.  I wanted other writers not to feel alone on their hard days because we all have them.  And I wanted people to know that rejection can happen at any stage in your writing career - it's not just for those who are new to the publishing world!  It just goes with the territory.  And maybe the rejections help us savor the acceptances just that much more, the disappointments making the joy that much sweeter. All that said, I very much appreciated your sympathy and feel lucky to have such friends! :)  And I hope any of you who gets an acceptance will come over here and shout it from the rooftops so we can all celebrate with you! :)

Oh!  And one more thing!  On Monday (good lord willing and the creek don't rise!) I will have a special post to share with y'all!  It's something good... something exciting... something full of potential goodies... so you won't want to miss it!  Come right over when you wake up on Monday!!!

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!!! :)


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18. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Leaf Man

Wahoo!  It's Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Is there anything more fun for a picture book writer or illustrator, a parent, a teacher, or a child then the prospect of diving into a pile of great picture books?

I didn't think so :)

Unless maybe it's the prospect of diving into a pile of great picture books with a cup of hot chocolate near to hand (though not quite near enough to get kicked over during the diving :))

I have a gorgeous book to share with you today.  Get ready to have your breath taken away by this thing of beauty! :)

Title: Leaf Man
Written & Illustrated By: Lois Ehlert
Harcourt, September 2005, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: seasons (autumn), nature, imagination

Opening: "Leaf Man used to live near me, in a pile of leaves.  But yesterday the wind blew Leaf Man away."

Brief Synopsis: From the publisher: "Fall has come, the wind is gusting, and Leaf Man is on the move. Is he drifting east, over the marsh and ducks and geese? Or is he heading west, above the orchards, prairie meadows, and spotted cows? No one's quite sure, but this much is certain: A Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows."

Links To Resources: Teacher's Guide (Harcourt); Lesson Plan (Scholastic);  the jacket flaps of the book are covered with "mystery leaves" - pictures of the leaves with a hint about where they come from so children can try to guess/identify them; the endpapers of the book show examples of many types of leaves, pictured and labeled; go on a leaf walk and collect leaves of your own - how many different kinds can you find? how many colors and shapes?; make a leaf collage, or a pencil rubbing of a leaf, or any kind of leaf art.

Why I Like This Book: If you've spent any time at all on Perfect Picture Books, you'll know that 99.99 times out of 100, I choose books because I love the words or the story.  This is one time when I chose a perfect picture book for the art.  It also has a whimsical story :), but it's the art that sells this book.  It's simply gorgeous.  The illustrations are made from actual fall leaves.  The pages are cut and layered in the shapes of hills.  Each page pictures its subject made out of leaves, for example, on the page where perhaps Leaf Man flew over the turkey, there is a turkey crafted from fall leaves.   The colors are vibrant, and both the story and the art allow children to fancifully imagine all that a leaf might do as it blows before the wind.  The whole book sings autumn - it's just lovely!

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 your picks for this week!

With Thanksgiving coming along in less than a week, are you hosting or visiting?  Which do you prefer?  I'm hosting this year, but I'm really happy to do either... as long as I don't have to travel too far :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)

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19. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Star Bright: A Christmas Story

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I'm excited that it's December and we finally get to share holiday books :)  I have such a sweet book for today!  In past years, I have stuck to books like Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree which, though about Christmas, are not at all religious.  The book I've chosen today veers a little closer to the traditional story of Christmas but it's so beautifully done that I think it's appropriate for everyone, regardless of religion or belief.  I hope you get a chance to read it!

Title: Star Bright: A Christmas Story
Written By: Alison McGhee
Illustrated By: Peter H. Reynolds
Atheneum Books For Young Readers, September 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Christmas, the nativity, giving/generosity

Opening: "It was the end of December, and a baby was soon to be born.  A baby!  In the heavens, angels turned light with joy."

Brief Synopsis: An extra special baby is coming and the newest angel wants to give a present.  But what can she give?  Wind is the sky's gift.  Rain is the clouds' gift.  Music is the gift of the songbirds. But when the little angel sees three lost travelers, she knows exactly what to give - the best gift of all!

Links To Resources: share the story of the nativity no matter your personal religion or beliefs - it's good for kids to know about things that are deeply important to others as well as to themselves and you can share the story of Hanukah etc. too; talk about gifts - what makes a good gift? does it have to be big, extravagant, expensive? what makes a gift really matter to someone?  what kinds of gifts do you like to give and receive?  Make these sugar cookies RECIPE HERE in the shapes of Christmas trees, stars, or whatever else you like :) Make paper stars INSTRUCTIONS HERE; make paper snowflakes INSTRUCTIONS HERE

Why I Like This Book: You know me - I love sweet stories :)  And this is one of those stories that tugs at your heartstrings just enough to make it memorable without being overdone.  But what I really love about this book is the creative way it spins the story of the nativity, so that you get the basic idea without anything overtly religious - and that's quite a feat to have pulled off!  On one level, this is simply a story about a child who wants to give a wonderful gift but doesn't know what she can offer, and how many children have felt like that?  Her creative solution will inspire young readers to think up their own creative solutions - when it comes to gifts, what can they give that only they can give?  And the art is by Peter H. Reynolds.  Enough said :)

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 great weekend, everybody!  See you Monday for the Holiday Contest!!!  (For which I have still not written my sample... or even really started thinking about it... details, details :))


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20. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Maple & Willow Together

Whoopee!  It's the first Perfect Picture Book Friday of 2015!

Isn't it wonderful to look forward to all the books we're going to share this year?  Think of all the new titles that will come out!  Sadly, mine will not be one of them, as it has been pushed back to Summer 2016, but that just gives me something special to look forward to next year :)

I have a lovely book to share today, one that those of you who have just spent a couple weeks with all your kids home for the holidays may find especially appropriate :)

Title: Maple & Willow Together
Written & Illustrated By: Lori Nichols
Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin, November 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-8

Themes/Topics: sibling relationships, family, fighting/making up

Opening: "Maple and her little sister, Willow, were always together.  It was hard to remember a time when the girls weren't together.  In fact, their parents even wondered if the girls had their own language.  And in a way, they did."



Brief Synopsis: Maple and Willow do everything together, which works out just fine most of the time.  But sometimes big sisters can be bossy, and sometimes little sisters want to do things their own way, and sometimes that leads to trouble.  In the end, though, Maple and Willow would rather be together than apart :)




Links To Resources: Story Hour Activity Kit from Lori Nichols, and here's the trailer: (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXhe9jvpVds in case it doesn't embed properly! :))


Why I Like This Book: Although Joanna beat me to reviewing Maple for PPBF, I am a huge fan. This book is the sequel, and it's equally sweet and touching - a spot-on glimpse of sibling relationships.  The description and depiction of Maple and Willow's time together is lovely and evocative - very true to childhood.  When they inevitably get into a fight (because really, would you believe a sibling relationship where they never fought? :)) their anger and hurt are clear.  But it doesn't take much time apart before they're longing for each other's company again, the fight over and forgotten.  For any child who has a sibling, this is a nicely done reminder that arguments are normal, that it's okay to be mad sometimes, and that ultimately it's wonderful to have a sibling to be with. (P.S. I just realized that Joanna also beat me to reviewing this one, so apologies for duplicating!)

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's on your favorites list this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :)


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21. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Blue On Blue

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

There's nothing like days on end of temperatures in the single digits to make me think about summer :)  So today's book is about a summer thunderstorm which clears off into a starry night.  I hope you'll enjoy this pretty, pretty book!

Title: Blue On Blue
Written By: Dianne White
Illustrated By: Beth Krommes
Beach Lane Books, December 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: publisher says 5-8, I think younger would enjoy too.

Themes/Topics: poetry, weather (thunderstorms), nature, colors

Opening: "Cotton clouds.  Morning light.  Blue on blue.  White on white.  Singing, swinging outdoor play.  White on blue on sunny day."

Brief Synopsis: This lovely book shows both the course of a family's day on a New England farm from morning through bedtime, and the change of weather from a sunny morning, through darkening clouds, to rain and thunder, and finally clearing skies, sunset, and a "silver night."


Links To Resources: Color Lesson Plans (Marble Art, Beautiful Butterfly Prints, Awesome Octopus, Trying Out Art); make your own scratchboards; Weather for Kids.  You could also make your own art projects based on the descriptions in the story (e.g. cotton clouds on blue sky).

Why I Like This Book: This is such a lovely book!  The story is simple, but poetic.  It takes you through a child's day, and includes elements of color, weather, and life on a New England farm (including animals :)). The day starts out sunny, but a storm comes up.  The child hides under the covers during the worst of the storm, but after the rain stops, the child, the puppy, and the little piggies have a wonderful time in the mud :)  The story finishes with a bath outside for the puppy, and a bath inside for the child, and sweet dreams under a starry night.  The lyrical, rhyming language is fun to read aloud, and the rhythm of the language mimics the rhythm of rain dripping, then pounding, then lightening, and finally stopping.  The scratchboard and watercolor art, done by Caldecott Medalist Beth Krommes, is absolutely gorgeous.  I encourage you to check this one out!


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!

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)


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22. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Snoozefest

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, everyone!

I have a delightful book to share with you today which is not about a groundhog.  But speaking of groundhogs (did you see how smoothly I slipped that in there? :)) if you missed yesterday's Special Edition Post (which you easily might have because I almost never post on Thursdays so why would you think to check?) about Phyllis's Birthday Bonanza (which you definitely will NOT want to miss!), hop on over and check it out HERE!  Join the fun and spread the word! :)

Now then.  Today's book.  Which is not about a groundhog.  But IS about a sloth :)

Title: Snoozefest
Written By: Samantha Berger
Illustrated By: Kristyna Litten
Dial, January 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: bedtime, sleep, animals (sloths), language fun (rhyme and inventive vocabulary)

Opening: "In the center of Snoozeville, dwells the wee one, the sleepiest sloth, Snuggleford Cuddlebun.  Now, that sloth can sleep, for a month at a go. The few times she rises, she moves in slo-mo."

Brief Synopsis:  It's time for the annual Snoozefest at the Nuzzledome, an arena festival that celebrates sleep.  All the best sleepers attend.  Snuggleford Cuddlebun settles into a hammock with her blanket and pillow, her favorite stuffed animal and her best bedtime book, and a snack of milk and honey, ready to enjoy the show.  But will she?

Links To Resources: the author makes up some wonderful words in this story - what kind of words can you make up that sound just right to describe something you like to do (like sleeping, sledding, riding a bicycle, or any other activity)?; have your own snoozefest - make your room super comfy for sleeping, choose bedtimes stories, music, snacks, stuffed animals, pajamas and anything else that makes bedtime cozy for you.  You can even write up and decorate your own snoozefest program.  Have a lullaby sing-along and your own pajama fashion show!

Why I Like This Book:  How can you not love a book about a snoozefest that takes place at the Nuzzledome?  The text is full of delightful made-up words like "snoozillions" and "wumphiest" (as in "wumphiest, comfiest, coziest things" :))  There are designer pajamas by Diane Von Firstinbed and Louis Futon.  The snack vendors sell milk and honey.  The bands, with names like Chamomile Rage and the Nocturnal Nesters, play lullabies!  And everyone brings their nightlight from home :)  Adult readers will enjoy the spoof of music festivals.  The whole over-the-top celebration of bedtime is just flat out fun!  But you'll have to read it to find out what Snuggleford's experience of the show is :)

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 what kind of amazingly wonderful entertaining books you chose this week.  It's supposed to snow... a good weekend to stock up on library books and spend the day reading :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)


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23. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Name Jar

Happy Friday, Everyone!

What a crazy week, huh?  All I can say is, no one in my neck of the woods is going to pay any attention to whatever the weather person says next!

But they better listen up to the Weather Hog!

That's right!  Only 3 more days until GROUNDHOG DAY!  And you know what THAT means, right?

PHYLLICELEBRATION!!!

Some awesome Phyllis-lovers have already put together their poems for Phyllis, ready for Monday's special post, but if you haven't heard about it and want to join in, hop over HERE.

And now, for today's Perfect Picture Book which has nothing whatsoever to do with Groundhog Day, winter, snowpocalypses, etc. but is still an excellent book which I highly recommend! :)

Title: The Name Jar
Written & Illustrated By: Yangsook Choi
Dragonfly Books, 2001, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: acceptance/tolerance, fitting in, feeling different, multicultural diversity (Korean-American), being the new kid, names

Opening: "Through the school bus window, Unhei looked out at the strange buildings and houses on the way to her new school.  It was her first day, and she was both nervous and excited."

Brief Synopsis: Unhei's (pronounced Yoon-hye) first encounter with her American schoolmates leaves her feeling uncertain about her name, and different from everyone else.  Her name is difficult to pronounce.  Kids make fun of it.  It sets her apart.  How much easier to be Amanda, Laura, or Suzy!  So when she enters her new classroom, she tells the teacher she hasn't chosen her name yet - she'll let him know next week.  All through the week, her classmates fill a name jar with suggestions they think she might like.  But in the end, she is not Amanda, Laura or Suzy.  She is Unhei.  And she comes to realize just how special that is.

Links To Resources: Classroom Activities for The Name Jar; teaching tolerance with The Name Jar; more teaching resources for The Name Jar; make your own Name Jar.

Why I Like This Book:  This book is beautifully written, clearly communicating Unhei's acute agony over having a name that's different from everyone else's which is just the tip of the iceberg of being and feeling different.  She just wants to fit in.  But she also loves her Korean family, the Korean market that feels like a little piece of home in this strange new world, and her Korean heritage.  She knows the history of her name - how her grandmother and mother went to a name master specially to get the perfect name for her - Unhei, which means "grace."  She doesn't want to let go of that.  It takes a special friend to help her see that Unhei is who she is and should be.  A great choice for any child who is having trouble fitting in, or to help children have more understanding of a friend or classmate who might feel that way.

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 great weekend, everyone, and GET READY FOR GROUNDHOG DAY!  WOO HOO! :)


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24. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Lost Cat

Well, I don't know where the week went, but here we are at Friday again!

Friday is a really excellent day.  It means we're about to get a weekend, and it means a list of Perfect Picture Books to enjoy over that weekend - an unbeatable combination!  All we need to make it true perfection is a nice chocolatey snack to go along with our picture books and our weekend :)

I had another book in mind for today.  Based on the jacket copy I thought I'd love it.  But when I read it my reaction could only be described as meh (not what you want for a Perfect Picture Book!) and then I read this one and loved it start to finish, so there was really no contest.  Preconceived idea out, awesome surprise book in :)  I hope you like it too :)

Title: Lost Cat
Written & Illustrated By: C. Roger Mader
Houghton Mifflin Books For Children, October 2013, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: journey, pets, love (person/pet)

Opening: "Ever since Slipper was a tiny kitten, she'd lived with a little old lady in a little old house in a little old town."

Brief Synopsis: Slipper has always lived happily with Mrs. Fluffy Slippers, but when Mrs. Fluffy Slippers moves, Slipper accidentally gets left behind in the commotion.  Slippers searches for a new home, but not just any home will do - it has to be the right one.  Will she find a new family she can adopt?

Links To Resources: Washington Children's Choice Award Activities (scroll about 1/2 way down the pdf); Fun Facts About Cats; How To Draw A Cat video; learn to draw a cat step-by-step guide.



Why I Like This Book: First and foremost, I love the art!  Soft pastels that render that beautiful kitty so life-like!  Her expressions are perfect, especially her fright at High Tops, her polite pleading with Miss Shiny Shoes, and her bliss on the last two pages.  And the cat's-eye-view perspective is wonderful.  The story is a sweet one with both humorous and poignant moments.  I love that all the people in the story are named for their footwear - which is what Slippers sees of them first :)  And most of all, I love that this lost cat story has a happy ending :)

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 what wonderful books you've chosen this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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25. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Slugs In Love (one more time :))

Woo hoo!  It's Perfect Picture Book Friday!

And not just ANY Perfect Picture Book Friday, mind you, but the one that's the day before Valentine's Day!

This is great!, I thought gleefully to myself last week.  Surely there are a plethora - a PLETHORA, I say -  of fantabulous Valentine's books that have been waiting all year for this day - THEIR day - the one time they can rightfully be shared!  I did a small jig in anticipation.

But day after day has gone by as I've searched for a great Valentine's Day book to share, and good golly if I haven't been just flat-out underwhelemed by titles I was hoping would knock my socks off!  (I myself have written two Valentine's books: A Valentine For Phyllis, which apparently failed to knock Holiday House's socks off since they declined the opportunity to publish it, and Be Mine, which left my agent's socks drooping around her ankles because, as she said, it's so hard to sell books that are only holiday books, so my efforts have been underwhelming too!  Oh, plus I mustn't forget my dreadful entry in the Valentine's Contest of 2012 - a "story" that just proves that with a low enough word count requirement I can barely make sense! :)  But we seem to have gotten off on a tangent here... and by "we" I mean would you guys please stop asking about my Valentine stories? Sheesh! We're here for Perfect Picture Books!)

Anyway, it would be morally wrong to post a book for Perfect Picture Books that I did not consider Perfect just so I could post a Valentine's Day book.  So instead, I will repost one of my favorite love books.

I am downright tingly with excitement because it is arguably one of the best love stories ever.  Are you ready?  It involves slugs.  What's not to love? :)

Slugs In Love
Written By: Susan Pearson
Illustrated By: Kevin O'Malley
Marshall Cavendish Children's Books, November 2006, Fiction
Suitable For: ages 4-8
Themes/Topics: love, friendship, perseverance, humor, Valentines Day
Opening:  "Marylou loved everything about Herbie - how his slime trail glistened in the dark, how he could stretch himself thin to squeeze inside the cellar window, how he always found the juiciest tomato.  Though she never spoke a single word to him - she was too shy - she thought about Herbie every morning and every night and most of the hours in between.

On Monday, while she grazed in the strawberry patch, Herbie filled her mind and a love poem filled her heart.  She wrote it in slime on the watering can."

Brief Synopsis:  (From Publishers Weekly) "Herbie keeps finding Marylou's poems, etched in slug slime and full of devotion, but Marylou keeps missing the longing letters he writes in return.  While she watches his every move, he can't find anyone who knows where she is so he can meet her."  How will the "slime-crossed" lovers ever meet?

Links To Resources:  Cool Facts About SlugsDoorknob ValentineFinger Puppet Valentine - (and with a little ingenuity, the last two could incorporate slugs! :))  Kids could make up their own poems like Herbie and Marylou.

Why I Like This Book:  It's sweet and it's funny.  It's maybe not technically a Valentines Day book (as in, it's not about Valentines Day) but it is about love/friendship on a level that I think kids can relate to.  Because Marylou and Herbie can't seem to connect, there's the added fun of rooting for the heroes. And the art complements the story perfectly.  It's so wonderful - really, I think it takes a genius to make slugs look so expressive :)

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!

Happy Valentine's Weekend, everyone!  May you all revel in hearts, flowers, and chocolate - especially chocolate :)


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