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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: perfect picture book fridays, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 71
1. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

(Still haven't solved the link list problem, so today's post is both here and on the new site!  http://susannahill.com/blog/)

Today is one of those days I love.  Not only do I get to share a truly delightful picture book, it happens to be by an author whose friendship I value and whose work I am already a fan of.  AND I got to read an advance copy, which means it's like a secret - practically no one else has gotten to read it yet.  I'm like a member of a super special secret club :)  Maybe we should have a secret handshake... Ooh! or a password...! but I digress... :)

Come on!  Quick!  You're going to love this one! :)

Title: Hildie Bitterpickles Needs Her Sleep
Written By: Robin Newman
Illustrated By: Chris Ewald
Creston Books, Fiction, April 12, 2016

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: problem solving, communication, fractured nursery rhyme/fairy tale, humor

Opening: "There's a little-known secret about Hildie Bitterpickles.  She needs her sleep.
Every night Hildie brushes her teeth, puts away her spell book, and goes to bed with her cat, Clawdia.
Until the night when Hildie's quiet neighborhood changed.
Someone moved in next door.  A very loud someone."

Brief Synopsis: What's a desperate-to-sleep witch to do when an elevator-clanking giant, an old woman with a shoe full of noisy children, and a roof-blowing big bad wolf move into her previously quiet neighborhood? Checking the real estate listings and moving seems like the answer, until she learns that a little communication can go a long way and it's better to deal with your problems then run from them.

Links To Resources: Fabulous Teacher's Guide!; discuss with your kids or students what things might bother them while they're trying to fall asleep or do other activities and how they might constructively cope with those annoyances

Why I Like This Book: First off, Hildie Bitterpickles and Clawdia!  Who could possibly not want to read about characters with names like that? :)  The story is tons of fun.  Poor Hildie gets grumpier and grumpier and more and more discouraged, until she comes full circle back to a very familiar spot.  She learns an important lesson (in a not-at-all-preachy way!) about the importance of facing problems rather than running from them.  And she comes up with some clever solutions that solve problems for everyone.  Plus there is a whole spread in the middle showing a page from The Daily Witch that will tickle your funny bone :)  Favorite line in the book?  When the wolf says, "My specialty is demolition, but I could give repair work a try." :)  Appealing art in soft fairy tale colors for daytime and rich night-time hues round out the book perfectly.  Pre-order your copy, encourage your local library to do so as well, and/or write a really great Valentiny Contest story and possibly win a signed copy! :)

And if you haven't seen the trailer...



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 keep a weather eye on the... well... on the weather, since the most important weather prediction day of the year is coming up next week! You all know what day THAT is... :)



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2. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Complete Adventures Of Big Dog And Little Dog

Woo-hoo!  It's Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I'm sure you'll all be thrilled to know that I'm in a mad rush today, which means I shall attempt brevity (stop laughing - I can hear you!), which means a quicker than usual read for you :)

Just a quick note - I still haven't solved the link list problem over at my new wordpress blog, so although today's post is located there as well, the link list is here.


Title: The Complete Adventures Of Big Dog And Little Dog
Written & Illustrated By: Dav Pilkey
Harcourt, June 2003, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: publisher says 4-8, I'd say 3-6

Themes/Topics: friendship, humor

Opening: "Big Dog and Little Dog are hungry.  Big Dog and Little Dog want food."

Brief Synopsis: (from the jacket) "Big Dog is ready for some fun!  Little Dog is ready too.  Join these irresistible puppy pals on five zippy adventures, together for the first time in one cozy picture book collection."

Links To Resourcesactivities to help teach oppositesopposites worksheetsfriendship activities

Why I Like This Book: You may be familiar with Dav Pilkey from The Stupids or Captain Underpants.  This is a different side of him - simple and sweet with gentle humor.  These two dog friends do everything together (including get in trouble!) and always look out for each other.  These five stories were originally published separately but are now all together in one book which gives them the feel of George And Martha or Frog And Toad, but with a lot less text.  Simple and fun, I know from experience that these stories appeal to very young readers.  And also, as many of you may have figured out, I like dogs :)

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

So there you have it!  Wasn't that the shortest post ever?

PPBF bloggers, please leave your links in the list below!

Oh, but one more thing before we all go off to enjoy everyone else's PPBF picks and our weekends!  Due to the incredible generosity of the people in the kidlit community, the prizes for the Valentiny Contest are rolling in!  So be sure and check the contest post for updates - the prizes will knock your socks off and you will definitely want to work on your entries this weekend as a result!

Have a great weekend, everyone!



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3. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Great Thanksgiving Escape

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!!!

Even as you read this, I shall be driving to the Green Mountains, accompanied on my journey up my my trusty Audible version of A Storm Of Swords (Book 3 in A Song of Ice and Fire - you know, Game of Thrones :)), and accompanied on my journey back by child #5! :)  And by the time we get home, child #3 will be there too!  I love the holidays and having the kids home! I can't wait!!! :)  I have baked Heath Bar brownies in preparation...which I sampled...and they are GOOD! :)

So although I shall be nowhere near my computer today, I will be with you in spirit for PPBF.  I hope you'll enjoy this entertaining Thanksgiving offering!

Title: The Great Thanksgiving Escape
Written & Illustrated By: Mark Fearing
Candlewick, September 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: family, holidays (Thanksgiving), humor

Opening: "It was another Thanksgiving at Grandma's.
"You can play in here with the rest of the kids," Gavin's mother told him.  "We'll call you when the turkey's ready."
"Have fun!" Gavin's dad called.  
But Gavin knew it was not going to be fun.  Not fun at all."

Brief Synopsis: While waiting for the Thanksgiving turkey, Gavin is supposed to play with his cousins.  But most of them are drooling, stinky babies.  No fun!  He and his cousin Rhonda plan their escape to the swing set in the back yard, but it's not easy to navigate the perils of a family get-together!

Links To Resources: Turkey Songs, Poems, and Finger Plays; Turkey Coloring Pages; play Duck, Duck, Turkey :)

Why I Like This Book:  Anyone who has ever been to a family get-together knows about the football-watching uncles gathered around the TV, the cheek-pinching aunts just lying in wait, and the annoying little cousins who demand attention and entertainment :)  This story is drolly told from the point of view of the kids who realize that "sometimes you have to make your own 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, happy weekend, everyone!!! :)

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4. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Oskar And The Eight Blessings

Hey there!

Surprised to see me?

After last week's debacle...???

I still can't believe I forgot to post last Friday!  I'm so sorry!  There I was, all caught up in family and leftover pie, and I never even realized it was Friday until it was suddenly Saturday and I hadn't posted!  Any of you who had a Perfect Picture Book last week are welcome to add that link to today's link list in addition to your titles for today!

I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that this will be the last official Perfect Picture Book post for 2015, as the next few Fridays will be taken up with the Holiday Contest and then the holidays themselves.  So I'll meet you back here for the next PPBF on Friday January 8, 2016!!!

Now then, I hope you will all enjoy the today's story.  I think it's beautifully done, and has much to offer young readers!

Title: Oskar And The Eight Blessings
Written By: Richard Simon and Tanya Simon
Illustrated By: Mark Siegel
Roaring Brook Press, September 2015, Fiction (with some fact)

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Hanukkah, kindness/compassion, looking for the good

Opening: This is an unusual picture book.  It has what could almost be called a prologue before the actual story starts - a set up to explain why Oskar happened to be traveling alone to New York City in December 1938 - with the text in italics and the illustrations on a black background.
Opening of the book: "Oskar's mother and father believed in the power of blessings.  So did Oskar...until the Night of Broken Glass."
Opening of the story: "Oskar arrived in New York on the seventh day of Hanukkah.  It was also Christmas Eve.  He knew his Aunt Esther would be lighting the menorah at sunset. To reach her before the sun went down Oskar would have to walk over a hundred blocks on the avenue called Broadway."

Brief Synopsis: Oskar is a refugee, seeking sanctuary from the horrors of Kristallnacht.  He arrives in New York City with nothing but a photograph and an address for an aunt he has never met. It is both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, 1938. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan, he views the city's many holiday sights, and encounters various people. Each offers Oskar a small act of kindness, welcoming him to the city and helping him on his way to a new life in the new world, and proving the truth of his father's last words to him: "Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings."

Links To Resources: The book is a resource unto itself.  An author's note details the origin of the story and the historical accuracies, including the presence of both Count Basie and Eleanor Roosevelt in New York City on Christmas Eve 1938.  There is also a map of Manhattan, showing Oskar's route from the ship to his Aunt's house with some of New York City's well-known landmarks.  Older children/students can discuss Kristallnacht and the holocaust.  All children/students can discuss the power of kindness and think about what small acts of kindness they might be able to perform during the holidays and all year round.

Why I Like This Book:  This story tackles a difficult subject in an accessible, child-friendly way, and it reminds us of the true meaning of the holidays with its emphasis on compassion and human kindness, looking for the blessings in life even when times are hard - lessons that should not be reserved for the holidays, but carried with us throughout the year.  The art has the feel of an old photograph album, like pictures your grandparents might have shown you.  The inclusion of historical fact makes the story feel believable even though it's mostly fiction.  Though on some levels a more serious holiday title, the story is uplifting, and the ending emotional.  A wonderful addition to any library!

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

Now then, before we all go off for our weekend of fun, I want to remind everyone that the Holiday Contest opens on Monday!!!  Whoopee!!!  Think of all the stories we have to look forward to!  Think how much fun it will be to read them ourselves and share them with our children and students!  I can't wait!

except for the teensy weensy difficulty of not having an inkling of what I will post for a sample...

Polish up those drafts!  Put the finishing touches on your masterpieces!  There are some pretty great prizes on offer!

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!  See you Monday for the Holiday Contest extravaganza!!!


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5. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Almost Terrible Playdate

This is so exciting!  It's the first Perfect Picture Book Friday of 2016!

(Because I know you guys are a bunch of wild revelers and would have been too tired on January 1st to appreciate PPBF :)  Really.  That's the reason.  I was thinking of you.  It had nothing whatever to do with the fact that I spent the holidays not working :))

Woo hoo!

Just think of all the terrific books we're going to read and share this year!

And my pick for today is one that none of you have read or probably even heard of because it's not out yet! :)  You'll just have to drool with anticipation until February 16! :)

Before we get to it, though, one quick housekeeping note!

As I mentioned Wednesday, I'm about to have a brand new website and blog!  Actually, I kind of already do - it's up!  We're just still working out a few kinks...  so don't be shocked and horrified if you see a typo or something looks a little off kilter (but please let me know :)) You can go look at it if you want to :)  It's located at susannahill.com.  I hope you'll like it as much as I do!

For now, I'm posting blog posts here and there, but I'm hoping to switch to only there by next week... I just don't want to leave anyone behind *sniff sniff*  That would be so sad!  So please add the new blog ( http://susannahill.com/blog/ ) to your reader, or sign up to follow it by email, or whatever system works for you so you don't miss any of the fun and I don't miss you!  I'm looking forward to a new year full of high jinx and shenanigans serious writerly pursuits - among other things very possibly including a writing contest in about 3 weeks, judging by the poll response so far from Wednesday (if you haven't voted, please go HERE so you can express your opinion :)) so PLEASE!  Come along! :)  Remember... I have chocolate... not that I'm trying to bribe you or anything... :)

So I hope I'll see you all over there and now let's get to this fabulous book already!

Title: The Almost Terrible Playdate
Written & Illustrated By: Richard Torrey
Doubleday Books For Young Readers, February 16, 2016, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: friendship, compromise, getting along, imagination

Opening: "What do you want to play?"
"What do you want to play?"
"How about I'm the queen of the universe and my doll, Pippy, is my sister queen, and you visit my castle?"
"Or how about I'm the giantest dinosaur ever and you're a dinosaur too - but not the giantest - and we stomp around smashing stuff?"

Brief Synopsis: A girl and a boy with active imaginations each have very different ideas about what makes a fun game.  Will the afternoon end with two kids playing alone on opposite sides of the room, or will they find something that is fun for both of them?

Links To Resources: Class Compromise Activity for grades 3, 4 & 5 - Planning A Class Party; let your child or student draw a picture of what they think would be a fun game to play; discuss the meaning of compromise and the importance of getting along - what would happen if everyone insisted on getting his/her own way?  Give examples of situations where people might have to compromise and have kids discuss how it could be handled, for example if one child wants to go to the zoo and the other wants to go to the playground, or how to plan a family picnic that will be fun for a variety of interests, etc.

Why I Like This Book: First of all, how fun is it that I got to read this book and share it with you when it's not even out yet?!  :)  This is a delightful story, told completely through dialogue and illustration (a good mentor text for writers who are working on similar stories.)  The writing is spare and there is no written narrative - it's all a conversation.  The girl is completely sure that her idea is best, her game the most fun...and not surprisingly it gives her the starring role.  The boy is equally convinced that his totally different idea is best, his game the most fun...and not surprisingly it gives him the starring role :)  Anyone who has ever spent time around kids will recognize this dynamic.  The children's imaginative descriptions grow more and more elaborate as they try to convince each other, but it is not to be.  Before long the girl is playing her game, and the boy is playing his.  But they are side by side... sneaking glances at each other... ultimately unable to resist their curiosity about each other's games and the allure of having someone to play with, not just next to.  The resolution is just right - very believable - and brings young readers full circle.  But one of the best things about this book is the art!  Childlike crayon drawings depicting the imagined games - SO much fun, and not to be missed!

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 don't forget (hopefully I won't forget! :)) that we're going to have a special blog post on Monday to vote for all the best Would You Read It pitches from September, October and November!


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6. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Lemonade In Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money

Woo hoo!  It's Friday!

And you know what that means...

Perfect Picture Books! :)

As you know, I'm trying to switch my blog over to Wordpress... http://susannahill.com/blog/ ...but there are (possibly insurmountable) issues, including the fact that I can't get a link list to appear over there.  So for today at least, I'm posting here as well so you can all add your links, and I'm going to try to add them manually to my post over there... I just won't get it done until late in the day or evening... and I wanted you to have visitors before that!

It will all work out eventually... :)

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

Title: Lemonade In Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money
Written By: Emily Jenkins
Illustrated By: G. Brian Karas
Schwartz & Wade, September 2012, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

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

Opening: "An empty street.
Outside, a mean wind blows.
Icicles hang from the windowsills.
Inside, Pauline presses her nose to the frosted glass.
"I know!" she says.
"Let's have a lemonade stand.""

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

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

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

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

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

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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


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7. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Old King Cole

Happy Friday, Everyone, and welcome back to Perfect Picture Books!

Golly, it's fun to get back in the groove, isn't it?  I know some ambitious bloggers kept up with Perfect Picture Book Friday through July and August, but for those of us who have been lazing away our summer on hiatus, what better time then the start of the new school year to explore all the fabulous, fun titles coming out?!

I love sharing every Perfect Picture Book I find, but I especially love it when someone who is a favorite author and good friend has a new book out.  Today's title is an absolute delight and I hope you'll all enjoy it... and then rush out and get a copy for yourself and copies for all the littles in your life! :)

Title: Old King Cole
Written & Illustrated By: Iza Trapani
Charlesbridge, August 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 2-5

Themes/Topics: Nursery Rhymes, Language Fun (poetry)

Opening: "Old King Cole was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he.
He called for his pipe, and he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.

"Welcome all to the King Cole ball."
Said the king to the guests within.
"We'll romp and we'll dance in the royal hall.
Let the tunes and the fun begin!"

Brief Synopsis: Old King Cole stays up so late preparing for his annual ball that when the festivities begin he can't stay awake!  Numerous familiar nursery rhyme characters try to come to his rescue, but only the Queen of Hearts can save the day!

Links To Resources: music and lyrics are included on the final page of the book for sing-along fun; take time to explore the illustrations and see how many nursery rhyme characters you can find; Old King Cole craft; make a paper crown; easy recipe for fruit tart (get the mini graham cracker crusts for smaller tarts :))

Why I Like This Book:  As you all know, I am a die-hard Iza Trapani fan, so it is no surprise that I love this latest addition to her stellar collection.  The story is amusing and fun with enough suspense to keep youngest readers wondering whether Old King Cole will EVER wake up.  The rhythmic rhyme is fun to read (and sing!) aloud.  The illustrations are bright and delightful with plenty of details to keep pre-readers interested, including the ruckus caused by the rooster, Old Mother Hubbard's dog investigating the treat table, and the goats who take advantage of every opportunity to kick up their heels :)  Kids (and grown-ups) will enjoy searching for and finding so many familiar nursery rhyme characters!  You won't want to miss this one!!!

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 everyone has to share this week after so long out of the loop!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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8. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Llama Llama Gram And Grandpa

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

I seriously don't know how the week flies by so fast!  How is it Friday again already?  I'm still doing Tuesday's work, so we need to back up the truck a bit!  Or I need a personal assistant... any volunteers?  :)

I've got another great book to share with you today, and I promise it's just a coincidence that like last week's it's in rhyme - I'm not going to post rhyming books every single week... probably... maybe... :) But this one is too good not to share.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!

Title: Llama Llama Gram And Grandpa
Written & Illustrated By: Anna Dewdney
Viking Books For Young Readers, September 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-5

Themes/Topics: grandparents, common childhood experiences (first sleepover, transitional object), bedtime, language fun (rhyme)

Opening: "Llama Llama, big big day!
It's a first - a special stay!
Pack up clothes and pj's tight - 
Llama's going overnight."

Brief Synopsis: Llama Llama is spending his first night away from home with Gram and Grandpa.  There are lots of fun things to do - a tractor to climb on, a garden to explore, grass to mow, Grandpa's workshop to try out, and Gram's food to sample - but what happens at bedtime when Llama's special Fuzzy is nowhere to be found?

Links To Resources: Llama Llama Matching Game, Coloring Book, and more fun stuff; Curriculum Connections Guide for Llama Llama books, free downloadables and printables for teachers including desk plate, poster, and activities.

Why I Like This Book: If you've spent much time at all around this blog, you'll know I love Llama Llama :)  This new addition to the collection is no exception.  The story, written in engaging, fun-to-read-aloud rhyme, perfectly captures the emotion of a child's first time spending the night away from home.  The illustrations are warm and comforting.  Observant children will enjoy seeing (before Llama Llama does!) what happened to his Fuzzy :)  And of course, there is that trademark sweet "aww" moment that makes all Llama Llama books so special.  A great choice for preschoolers who are about to spend a night away, or for any child who enjoys the warmth and security of Llama Llama's world :)

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 everyone's choices!  Look out library, here I come! :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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9. Perfect Picture Book Friday - How The Sun Got To Coco's House

Hey there, picture book peeps!  Happy Friday! :)

I have such a lovely book to share with you today!  And guess what?  As promised, it doesn't rhyme :)  I have noticed something else, though, which is that all three of the books I've chosen so far this Perfect Picture Book season have been authored and illustrated by the same person.  Interesting... don't you think?  Given that all three are new titles, I wonder if this is a reflection of the state of the publishing industry... and if I should learn to draw! (Yeah, okay, stop laughing!) :)

Anyway, I hope you'll enjoy this one!

Title: How The Sun Got To Coco's House
Written & Illustrated By: Bob Graham
Candlewick, September 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-6

Themes/Topics: nature, writing (personification), language (poetic)

Opening: "It had to start somewhere.  While Coco slept far away, the sun crept up slowly behind a hill, paused for a moment, and seemed to think twice...
before it plunged down the other side and skidded giddily across the water."

Brief Synopsis: The sun comes up and takes a poetic journey across the world to Coco's house.

Links To Resources: Warmth Of The Sun discussion and activity; Shadow Play classroom activity; measuring solar activity; info about the sun with 17 related links; sun coloring pages; Happy Sunshine Cookie recipe

Why I Like This Book:  How can you not love a book that contains phrases like "skidded giddily across the water"?  The whole story is a gentle, lovely, poetic description of how the sun comes up, travels across the world touching everything in its path with light and warmth, and finally arrives at Coco's house to spend the day.  It's a very quiet book, but one that can be enjoyed for the beauty of the language, the deceptive simplicity of the art (wait until you see the pinks and golds), and the feeling of comfort bestowed by the fact that, come what may, the sun rises each morning and makes a new day.

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 treasures await us this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!! :)


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10. Perfect Picture Book Friday - The Day The Crayons Came Home

There must be some kind of magic in the air because we've arrived at Friday again and according to my calculations it's still LAST Friday!

In addition, it has somehow become October!  Who is in charge around here???!!!

This, of course, is a good thing.  October is full of fresh apples (and apple crisp, apple pie, apple cake, apple cider donuts, etc...), beautiful foliage, lovely days and cool nights, Columbus Day (which, if we're honest, is just an excuse for a day off from school and if you're lucky, work because I'm quite sure Columbus didn't actually "discover America" on the second Monday in October :)), the Sheep & Wool Festival (if you happen to live in New York's Hudson Valley), pumpkin carving (which means... you got it... pumpkin pie! :)), miniature candy that doesn't have any calories because it's tiny (seriously, if you can eat it in one bite it doesn't count!), and the Halloweensie Contest!!! (info coming soon!) among other awesomeness.  (And apparently I'm hungry because looking at that list I see a prevalence of dessert items :))  Here's to an awesome October for all!

Today's Perfect Picture Book is also awesome (although not necessarily for dessert :))  I hope you like it!


Title: The Day The Crayons Came Home
Written By: Drew Daywalt
Illustrated By: Oliver Jeffers
Philomel Books, August 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: concepts (colors), emotions, humor

Opening: "One day, Duncan and his crayons were happily coloring together when a strange stack of postcards arrived for him in the mail..."

Brief Synopsis: Duncan, dedicated colorer that he is, has managed to misplace a number of his crayons, so they write him postcards hoping to return home.

Links To Resources: Optics For Kids (explorations on what makes color); Color Games (see the first two listed - the rest are for other skills); lots of things to color!

Why I Like This Book: Sometimes the first book in a series is good, and the second disappoints.  Not so with this one :)  Full of humor, it is as creative, fun and entertaining as its predecessor, The Day The Crayons Quit (reviewed HERE)  Those crayons might have quit in the past, but they still want to live with Duncan!  (Well, except for Pea Green Crayon knows that NO ONE likes pea green, so he's got a new life plan :).)  Maroon Crayon got left in the couch and sat on by Dad.  Yellow and Orange Crayons had an unfortunate accident that left neither of them wanting to be the color of the sun any more.  Neon Red Crayon is determined to make it home but has a very questionable grasp of geography :)  Even one of Duncan's younger brother's toddler crayons gets in on the action!  You won't want to miss the postcards from the left-behind crayons, or Duncan's usual inspired solution to making them all feel at home!  (And you'll enjoy seeing where some of the postcards are from... places like "Greetings From Under The Couch" or "Hello From The Rug" :))

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 for us this week!

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)


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11. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Leah's Pony

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

There's nothing like Friday, is there?  Especially before a long weekend :)

And Perfect Picture Books just make Fridays even better - tons of great new reading material for your weekend, be it regular or long :)

This was one of those odd weeks when my pile of picture books failed to wow me.  I read book after book thinking, "meh" - not what you want in a perfect picture book!  I'm always a little depressed when this happens.  I wonder if I'm missing something, since clearly a whole team of people thought these books were great enough to publish.  But whatever the reason, there was no perfect picture book in this week's collection, so instead of one of the newer titles from my pile of meh, I went with an older title from my bookshelf (signed to my daughter by Michael Garland :)) a book I have loved for years.  I hope you'll enjoy it!

Title: Leah's Pony
Written By: Elizabeth Friedrich
Illustrated By: Michael Garland
Boyds Mills Press, February 1996, Fiction (historical)

Suitable For Ages: 6-9

Themes/Topics: historical fiction (1930s Dust Bowl), family, love, sacrifice

Opening:  "The year the corn grew tall and straight, Leah's papa bought her a pony.  The pony was strong and swift and sturdy, with just a snip of white at the end of his soft black nose.  Papa taught Leah to place her new saddle right in the middle of his back and tighten the girth around his belly, just so."

Brief Synopsis: Leah's pony was swift and strong.  She loved him dearly, and together they raced across the fields under summer skies.  But then came a year when the corn didn't grow, locusts blackened the sky, and the earth turned to dust, the beginning of the great drought (the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.)  Leah's family is faced with losing their farm and their livelihood.  It takes Leah's strength and courage to save them.

Links To Resources: Facts about the Dust Bowl with links to further resources; Lesson Plan for the Dust Bowl (aimed at 5th grade but can be altered); Dust Bowl info and lesson plans for grades 2-5; Photo Gallery - The Dust Bowl; Dust Bowl Facts & Summary

Why I Like This Book:  This is historical fiction at its best, bringing a slice of history to life in a way that is not only accessible but irresistible for young readers.  The story is simply told with all the right details, and so emotionally compelling I dare anyone not to get choked up at the end!  Michael Garland's art is absolutely stunning and a perfect fit for the story.  With slightly longer text as well as the historical context, this is a wonderful choice for older picture book readers.

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 long weekend, everyone, and Happy Columbus Day!  I'm hoping to post the guidelines for the Halloweensie Contest...soon-ish...so stay tuned!!!


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12. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Marilyn's Monster

Woo hoo!  It's Friday!!!

And you know what that means, boys and girls...

It's time for Perfect Picture Books!

What with Halloween coming up and all, I thought a book about monsters would be very appropriate, even if it isn't specifically Halloweenie. :)  I loved this book from the opening sentence.  I hope you will too!

Title: Marilyn's Monster
Written By: Michelle Knudsen
Illustrated By: Matt Phelan
Candlewick, March 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: patience/waiting, monsters, doing what you know is right

Opening: "Some of the kids in Marilyn's class had monsters.  It was the latest thing.  Marilyn didn't have a monster.  Not yet.  You couldn't just go out and get one.  Your monster had to find you.  That's just the way it worked."

Brief Synopsis:  Marilyn longs for her monster to find her.  She tries to be patient and be the kind of girl no monster can resist.  But the longer she waits, the harder it gets, until finally Marilyn takes matters into her own hands.  And it's a good thing she does!

Links To Resources: Marilyn's Monster Story Time Kit; Q&A with Michelle Knudsen and Matt Phelan

Why I Like This Book: Oh, gosh!  Where to begin?  The story is wonderfully original and entertaining, and relates to a theme all kids can understand - having to wait for things!  Marilyn is so believably child-like in her behaviors and emotions.  The art is delightful, full of wacky monsters that are tons of fun to look at, and Marilyn's face and body language are so expressive.  Marilyn goes against expectation without being disobedient or breaking any rules, so it's a nice way to model doing what you know is right, or being true to yourself.  And the resolution is surprisingly sweet.  Across the board, this one is a winner!

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 shows up on this week's list!

I will be at the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY this weekend, along with Iza Trapani and Nancy Shaw.  Please stop by and see us if you're in the neighborhood!!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! :)




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13. 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 :))

It is also tons of fun to dive into a pile of autumn leaves!!!

Given the fact that I've spent the last two weeks up to my hair in Halloweensie, I'm totally cheating and recycling a book today that I posted last year.  But it's an excellent book, and you won't want to miss it!  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 ResourcesTeacher'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!



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14. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

You'll all be thrilled to know that my stove has been successfully installed!

(I know you were waiting with bated breath to find out :))

I may have to bake some cookies to see whether the oven works... who can tell? :)

You will also be thrilled to know that in spite of days of heavy rain everyone on Blueberry Hill is still above the water level... albeit in our canoe :)

Today, for PPBF, I have SUCH a fun book to share with you.  It was love at first read for me.  This book surprised me and made me laugh out loud - a real winner! - and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I do!


Title: Ragweed's Farm Dog Handbook (Learn From The Best!)
Written & Illustrated By: Anne Vittur Kennedy
Candlewick, August 2015, Fiction


Suitable For Ages: 3-7


Themes/Topics: Humor, animals (farm)


Opening: "I'm Ragweed.  I'm a farm dog, and I'm really, really good at it.  Most dogs aren't.  But don't worry.  You'll be great.  You have the handbook."



Brief Synopsis: Ragweed sets out to tell you everything you need to know about being a farm dog... mostly, everything that ISN'T your job :)


Links To Resources: individually or as a group (in classroom or homeschool) make up your own handbook/story about how to be/do something, for example, Bossie's Milk Cow Handbook about how to be a milk cow, or Archie's Wind Up Handbook about how to pitch in baseball.

Why I Like This Book:  It's cute and funny!  Ragweed is so lovable, and so believable as a character.  He's a dog, but his behavior is very reminiscent of a preschooler's :)  His handbook focuses on all the things you should NOT do to be the farm dog, and only at the very end does he reveal what the farm dog's job actually is.  But I'm not telling.  You'll have to read it to find out :)  The illustrations are delightful and perfect for the story, bright and engaging.  Ragweed is so expressive!  I dare you not to love this one.  It made me laugh out loud!


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, before you all toddle off to your weekends, I want to give you a heads up that I will be posting something interesting on Monday (even though I don't post most Mondays these days) so be sure to check in... I don't think you'll want to miss it! :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!!

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15. 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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16. 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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17. 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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18. 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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19. 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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20. 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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21. 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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22. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Baby Bear Discovers The World

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday!

It's May on Blueberry Hill, and you know what that means:

Baby goslings.

Baby foxes.

Baby snakes.

Baby rabbits.

Baby groundhogs.

And given the black bears wandering around, I'm betting there are some baby bears even though I haven't seen any... which is probably just as well because where there's a baby bear there's a protective mama bear not too far away! :)

In the spirit of baby animals, I have chosen this very delightful book for today.  I dare you and your young reading companions not to love the pictures :)

Title: Baby Bear Discovers The World
Written By: Marion Dane Bauer
Photography By: Stan Tekiela
Adventure Publications Inc, 2006, Factual Fiction with great photos

Suitable For Ages: 3 and up

Themes/Topics: wild animals, growing up, independence, nature

Opening: One fine spring morning Baby Bear said to his mama, "Mama, I'm a big bear now.  It's time for me to go out and discover the world.  Then he kissed his mama so she would know he meant business."

Brief Synopsis: From the jacket: "Follow Baby Bear's excursion into the big world as he tries to prove his independence, wandering closer and closer to places he doesn't belong.  Using twin cubs and the assistance of a handler, Stan [the photographer] succeeded in getting all the photos for this book from the cubs' natural reactions to their surroundings.  His ability to capture everything from their inquisitive faces to actually tumbling from a log is delightfully documented."

Links To Resources:  Everything you need is right here!  The back of the book has a section on bear facts - characteristics, activity, diet, cubs, and hibernation.  It also has a section on how the book was photographed, and another section of "outtakes and bloopers" photos - SO CUTE! :)  You can also go for a walk and look for signs of animals - paw prints, nests, etc.  City or country, you're likely to discover some fun things, just like Baby Bear :)

Why I Like This Book:  I just absolutely adore wildlife photography.  This book combines a fun story about learning independence with exquisite photography of lots of animals besides the bears along with the surrounding flora.  It's fun just to look at the pictures :)  The outtakes and bloopers photos are also tons of fun and make the experience of the book even better.  Wait until you see the picture of Baby Bear licking a mouse :)

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!

Oh, and just a quick heads up: June 12 (two weeks from now) will be our last PPBF before summer hiatus... just so you know for planning purposes.

Now then, I am off at an all day school visit, so I will see you all later or over the weekend, but stay tuned for a special post on Monday... it's about time we had some high jinx and shenanigans around here! :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!


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23. Perfect Picture Book Friday - My Side Of The Car

Happy 2nd-to-last Perfect Picture Book Friday before the summer hiatus, everyone!

Princess Blue Kitty and I have been spending A LOT of quality time together.

(You all remember Princess Blue, right?)
Sorry she has her back to you.  She's a little camera shy :)
Seriously.

I can't seem to get out of the car.

Every time I think, "Okay, maybe this week I'll do a little less driving," I turn out to be wrong!

Today, Princess Blue and I are heading north, and in honor of yet another 5+hours-in-the-car day (at least the third this week) I have chosen a book I love that has a car on the cover, in the title, and as the setting for the story... even though it's not specifically Princess Blue Kitty... and actually not even blue :)

Ready?  Fasten your seat belts because here we go! :)

My Side Of The Car
Written By: Kate Feiffer
Illustrated By: Jules Feiffer
Candlewick, April 2011, Fiction
Suitable For: ages 4-8

Themes/Topics: patience, imagination, father-daughter love, optimism

Opening:  "My dad and I are going to the zoo.  We've tried to go to the zoo before.  But we never get there.  Something always happens."

Brief Synopsis:  Sadie and her dad are going to the zoo.  Their plans have been thwarted three previous times, but this time they're really going.  Except... on the way... it starts to rain.  They can't go to the zoo in the rain.  But Sadie's not about to let the fact that her dad sees rain deter her.  "I look out my window, and the sun is shining on my side of the car. People are putting on their sunglasses and heading to zoos all over the world on my side of the car." While her dad sees nothing but rain, Sadie sees people mowing their laws and eating ice cream.  Is it raining or not?  Will Sadie and her dad get to the zoo this time or will they have to wait for another day?

Links To Resources:  Fun Zoo-Related ActivitiesZoo Lessons And Activities, a page in the back of the book tells the true story of what happened (which is always fun :))

Why I Like This Book:  Anyone who has lived with kids knows that their perception of reality is not necessarily the same as yours... especially when they really want something! :)  What's wonderful about this book is both Sadie's determined optimism and her father's patience and his loving understanding of how she needs to cope with her disappointment.  This book is also delightful because it's written and illustrated by a father-daughter team about an incident that actually happened.  I'm not going to tell you whether they get to the zoo or not, though.  You'll have to go read the book :)

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

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

Have a super-fantastic weekend, everyone!!!  And feel free to share in the comments how much quality time you'll be spending with YOUR cars :)



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24. Perfect Picture Book Friday - What About Moose?

Well, dearies, here we are again, about to wade into summer!

And you know what that means.

It means Perfect Picture Books will go on hiatus until September.

I know.  It's sad.  But luckily we have a big list of books to tide us over (if I ever finish updating it, it will be REALLY big!)  And a little break is good for us.  It means we'll come back refreshed and filled with renewed enthusiasm :)

For the last PPBF before summer hiatus, I have a fantastically fun book to share!  You will probably all want to rush out and read it immediately :)


Title: What About Moose?
Written By: Corey Rosen Schwartz and Rebecca J. Gomez
Illustrated By: Keika Yamaguchi
Atheneum Books For Young Readers, June 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: teamwork, behavior (bossiness), language fun (rhyme), forgiveness

Opening: "Fox met her friends with her toolbox in hand.
'Time to start building!  Now here's what I've planned.'
She divvied up jobs and then Moose trotted in.
'I'm HERE!' he announced.  'Let construction begin!'"


Brief Synopsis: The forest animals are working together to build a tree house... all except Moose who is so busy being in charge that he fails to perceive exactly what's happening.  When he finds himself in a tight situation, his kind-hearted friends help him out in spite of his previous bossiness.

Links To Resources: Team Building Games; design your own treehouse - draw the kind of treehouse you'd love to have, including amenities :); moose coloring pages; recipes for lemonade (to drink while you're building or playing in your treehouse :))


Why I Like This Book: As you've probably all gathered by now (due to the fact that I'm always adding her books to Perfect Picture Books list :)) I am a die-hard Corey Rosen Schwartz fan.  Her books are always clever and fun with fabulous rhyme that is a pleasure to read aloud.  This new addition is no exception.  Moose is delightful in his bossiness, hollering commands through a megaphone, oblivious to the predicament he's getting himself into.  His friends are forgiving, willing to help him out even though he's been a pain in the backside.  The illustrations are appealing and engaging.  The story is light-hearted and fun while still getting the message across that it's best to work together - one all ages will enjoy!

Here's the trailer:


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

I know we will all be reading picture books throughout the summer, but with so many wonderful outdoor things to do (and the kids all home from school :)), our time for writing posts, reading reviews, and visiting one another's blogs will be limited.  And summer is all about spending time with our families.  So go forth and enjoy - we'll be here when you get back to start up PPBF again on Friday September 11!

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 summer, everyone, and those of you who only visit for PPBF, we'll see you in September!  Everyone else, we'll still be here with Would You Read It Wednesdays, the pitch picks, and Straight From The Editor, the upcoming Children's Illustration Contest to be followed by some other high jinx for writers, and maybe a few surprises... depending on whether I manage to get things done :)  I've got at least three new things I'm hoping to share soon :)

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!  And I hope to see some of you in New Jersey! :)


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25. Perfect Picture Book Friday SPECIAL EDITION! - There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed A Knight!

Hi Everyone!

I know.

I said Perfect Picture Book Friday was on hiatus until September.

And it is.

Mostly.

It's just that I had to interrupt the hiatus today to shout a fabulous new book from the rooftops and make sure you all knew about it in time to preorder!

It's not every day that someone you know - someone whose writing you've watched blossom and grow - releases a debut picture book, so when that happens it is truly cause for celebration!  In this case, that someone is a talented writer and poet, an entertaining blogger, always willing to jump in and help with any hair-brained schemes I happen to be cooking up :), and an all around fun person who I'm privileged to call a friend. . . the lovely and delightful Penny Klostermann!!!

Sit back and get ready to enjoy her splendiferous, tons-of-fun debut picture book: There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed A Knight!

Title: There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed A Knight
Written By: Penny Klostermann
Illustrated By: Ben Mantle
Random House, August 2015, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: retelling of classic tale, humor, greed

Opening: "There was an old dragon who swallowed a knight.  I don't know why he swallowed the knight.  It's not polite!"

Brief Synopsis: For some unknown reason (maybe he was hungry?! :)) a dragon swallows a knight... but apparently that doesn't quite do the trick, because after the knight he proceeds to swallow half the kingdom!  Eventually, though, the dragon has had ENOUGH!


Links To Resourcesactivity guides on Penny's website; make up your own "There Was An Old ____ Who Swallowed A _____" story!


Why I Like This Book:  Is there anything NOT to like??? :)  This is a wacky, fun, rollicking story that takes advantage of the familiar format of There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly while making the whole concept completely new and fresh.  The dragon is delightfully grumpy when he hollers, "I've had enough of this swallowing stuff!", and I dare any kid not to laugh when the dragon burps everything back out.  Well... almost everything :)  (You'll have to read the story to find out how it ends :))  The art is absolutely perfect!  Bright, engaging, and full of humorous details that are just right for the story - an author/illustrator match made in heaven.  There is so much to like in this book that it's hard to pick favorite things, but I am especially partial to the steed who, once he enters the story, goes clippity clippity clippity clop! on every page - so much fun to read :)  Race out and pre-order your copy today, and/or make sure your local library plans to carry it!!!





Penny Parker Klostermann is the author of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight. She loves all kinds of books, but especially loves very silly picture books that make her laugh. She has been known to hug her favorite picture books and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too. Penny lives in Abilene, TX. Find out more about Penny on her website-https://www.pennyklostermann.com.




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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