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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Picture Books, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 7,426
26. #815 – The Night Parade by Johnny DePalma & Kyle Brown

This week has been busy, moving furniture around two rooms, setting up new televisions and sound. It was all more than I thought it would entail. Despite what is left to accomplish, KLR will be back on track come Monday (4-5 reviews / M-F). I am looking for bloggers interested in joining a book blog …

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27. Revisited: The Snow Leopard by Jackie Morris

The Snow Leopard, by Jackie Morris (Frances Lincoln, 2008)The Snow Leopard
by Jackie Morris
(Frances Lincoln, 2008)


On her fascinating web-page about the process of creating The Snow Leopard (Frances Lincoln, 2008), author and illustrator Jackie Morris says:

Continue reading ...

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28. The Most Wonderful Thing in the World by Vivian French, illustrated by Angela Barrett

Prolific British picture book author Vivian French teams up with the reigning Queen of the art of the fairy tale, Angela Barrett to create The Most Wonderful Thing in the World, a contemporary story that feels like a classic fairy tale.

The story begins, "Once, in the time of your grandmother's grandmother, there was a kingdom." Looking very much like Venice, Italy, the kingdom sits on a lagoon dotted with islands. The king and the queen are very proud of their kingdom and of their daughter, Lucia. Realizing that she will someday rule the kingdom, they determine that they must start the search for a husband who will reign with her. They send a letter to Wise Old Angelo who lives on the smallest island in the kingdom to ask exactly what they should do. Angelo thinks long and hard and tells the king and queen that they must find the young man who can show them, "the most wonderful thing in the world," and has his grandson, Salvatore, hand deliver this missive.

Lucia has also realized that she will be queen one day and asks permission to explore the city and get to know her future subjects and realm. As Lucia is leaving the castle, the first person she meets is Salvatore! Upon being asked, Salvatore says that nobody knows the city better than he does and he will spend "Today, tomorrow and the next day, until you have seen all that you want," guiding Lucia. Meanwhile, suitors from all over the world are arriving with marvels that include airships, pyramids and mermaids in tanks. The king and queen "grew grey with exhaustion," but nothing seemed to be the most wonderful thing. Meanwhile, Salvatore has fallen in love with Lucia, although, he tells his grandfather, his face "wet with tears," that he can never marry her. Wise Old Angelo tells Salvatore to show the king and the queen the most wonderful thing in the world and then he can.

It may seem wrong to tell the ending of The Most Wonderful Thing in the World, but I think that it's very difficult to pull off a believable, successful ending to a contemporary fairy tale -  which this book does. Together for their final day touring the city, Lucia and Salvatore are on Angelo's island - the only place she has not yet been. Looking for their daughter, the king and queen head to Angelo's island also. Exhausted by their trip, on top of days and days of looking for the most wonderful thing, the royals stop to rest on a bench. Salvatore approaches and asks if he may show them the most wonderful thing in the world. They agree, even though he is so unlike the others. Salvatore presents to them . . . Lucia! 

And, as wonderful as this twist is, I really, really love the ending of The Most Wonderful Thing in the World. Lucia and Salvatore marry with the pomp and ceremony to be expected, "your grandmother's grandmother would remember." As the new king and queen, Lucia and Salvatore walk through their city every day, talking with the people. They are so beloved, that the people of the city build a statue in their honor. In the middle of a fountain, carved out of stone, stand Lucia, Salvatore and their first born child, carved underneath are the words, "The Most Wonderful Thing." The only thing more charming than the ending of this fairy tale are Angela Barrett's Edwardian influenced illustrations that fill every page. A sumptuous story, gorgeously illustrated - The Most Wonderful Thing in the World is a very special book. 

Source: Review Copy

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29. Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion by Dominique Roques, illustrated by Alexis Dormal

Anna Banana and her band of stuffed animals are back! And this time, they are hungry. Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion starts off with Pingpong, the penguin, who is as hungry as a bear. And he wants chocolate cake. Of course things get out of control, and quickly. My favorite spread, below, finds Fuzzball energetically, if not efficiently (or cleanly) stirring the batter with verve. 

Meanwhile, Pingpong is still hungry. Fortunately, Grizzler has headed into a different room to bake, alone. Intrigued by his process, they sneak after him when he retreats to bake another cake . . .

Only to discover that Grizzler has been visiting the bakery! They all head back to Anna Banana's idyllic house on a tree lined street where they manage to scrape some batter into a pan and bake another cake.

The comic book format of Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion makes the action all the more expressive and the expressions of the characters even more hilarious. Anna and her gang are completely endearing and reminiscent of the Muppets. I love this format and hope that there are more picture books like it on the way, and more from Anna Banana and the gang!

Source: Review Copy

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30. Review: The Art of Comic Book Writing


Coming February 9!

PreOrder Now!

One of the most puzzling, yet exciting formats for writers is the graphic novel. That’s the new name for comic books, or telling stories in a set of illustrated panels. In some writing a graphic novel is like writing a movie script, except the images are still instead of moving.

Writing a graphic novel comes with lots of questions.

  • What’s the standard format for a graphic novel manuscript?
  • Do you have to provide the illustrations?
  • How do you decide how many panels per page?
  • How do you pace a story across a couple pages?

Many of these questions relate also to writing children’s picture books, which are a combination of text and illustrations.

Finally, I have a resource I’d like to recommend to answer these questions: The Art of Comic Book Writing: The Definitive Guide to Outlining, Scripting, and Pitching Your Sequential Art Stories by Mark Kneece. Available as Kindle or paperback.

Writing a Graphic Novel or a  Children's Picture Book? Highly recommended resource for understanding how layout affects a story. | DarcyPattison.com
Writing a Graphic Novel or a Children’s Picture Book? Highly recommended resource for understanding how layout affects a story. | DarcyPattison.com

NOTE: I didn’t receive a review copy on this book. I just found it at my local library and was captivated.

Kneece has taught comic book writing at the Savannah College of Design for over two decades and his expertise and experience shows. He has created eight graphic novel adaptations of The Twilight Zone, and has published numerous graphic novels and comics, including work for Hellraiser, Verdilak, Alien Encounters, Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, and The Spirit.

Comics Tell Great Stories

Kneece begins with an emphasis on the story that you want to tell with hints on how to develop a story past a gag. You’ll see actual examples of a formatted script. Next comes a detailed look at a single page and how a story flows across the page. Templates for a 5-panel, 6-panel, 9-panel and 12-panel bring the page to life. Rough sketches illustrate Kneece’s points about how a story flows across these different panels.

With the basics out of the way, the book gets really interesting digging into dialogue, text, characters, pacing and more. This is a fantastic book for those writing picture books because everything he says here applies to both comics and children’s picture books.

I LOVE the pacing chapters.
In Part 1, pp125-127, there’s a great example of revising for pacing, emphasis and impact. The question is where to expand the story with more details and where to compress the story for impact. This is one of the best illustrations of pacing an illustrated story that I’ve seen.

And then, in Part 2, there’s a great example of a story with a boy hears an ice cream truck. The top row is 4 panels.
Panel 1: A boy is playing with a toy rocket. A few musical notes intrude into the frame.
Panel 2: grass and musical notes
Panel 3: grass and musical notes that are trending upward
Panel 4: musical notes dance past the trunk of a large tree.

In other words the 4 panels operate more like one large panel that spans four panels. But the choice to create four panels – a quad-tych, if you will – adds energy to the story. It’s brilliant.

If you’re an illustrator of children’s books, you need to study this book. If you write children’s picture books, you need to study this book. Comic books writers and illustrators, it’s definitely the best text I’ve seen on the topic. Highly recommended.

The post Review: The Art of Comic Book Writing appeared first on Fiction Notes.

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31. Publishers Weekly Fall 2016 Children's Sneak Previews!

A is for Abrams! (Also, "Awesome!" And "Aw yeah!")

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32. Illustration Inspiration: Kim Krans, “ABC Dream”

This gem comes to us from Kim Krans, the creator of The Wild Unknown—a lifestyle website offering prints, calendars, and more.

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33. Setting Sail with Steve Light

  If I think of children’s book illustrators working today and style—that is, their manner of expression as determined by their use of line, color, shape, texture, etc.—I think author-illustrator Steve Light has one of the most distinctive styles, a you-can-spot-it-from-outer-space kind of style. In particular, his line is terrifically distinctive, and he’s visited 7-Imp […]

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34. Review of The Red Hat

teague_red hatThe Red Hat
by David Teague; 
illus. by Antoinette Portis
Primary   Disney-Hyperion   40 pp.
12/15   978-1-4231-3411-4   $16.99

With a nod to Albert Lamorisse’s film The Red Balloon, and with much of its tenderness, this fable-like story tells of Billy Hightower, whose isolated life atop “the world’s tallest building” changes when another skyscraper is built alongside it and Billy catches a glimpse of “the girl in the red hat.” Billy longs to communicate with the girl, but his various attempts fail, repeatedly foiled by the wind. First the wind snatches away Billy’s words, then it derails his paper-airplane missive. Finally it pulls Billy himself (wrapped in a parachute-like red blanket) off his building and into the sky, and deposits the boy on a noisy, gritty, confusing city street. Undaunted, he finds his way to the girl’s tower and is united with her. The ever-present antagonist here is the wind, pictured as a glossy, lightly embossed, swirling pattern on each page, a turquoise line against the restrained palette of black, white, taupe, sky-blue, and crimson. Teague’s rhythmical and unadorned text is fleshed out by Portis’s graphically arresting compositions. The color red, for example, has its own character and plot: the temporary roadblock of a red light, the welcoming red carpet, the subtly recurring shape of a red heart. When this love story ends with the words “The Beginning,” we believe it.

From the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post Review of The Red Hat appeared first on The Horn Book.

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35. Antoinette Portis on The Red Hat

AntoinettePortisIn our January/February 2016 issue, reviewer Sarah Ellis asked illustrator Antoinette Portis about that pesky (playful?) wind in The Red Hat. Read the full review of The Red Hat here.

Sarah Ellis: The “bad guy” here is the wind, but in your swirly, spiral line the wind comes across as more playful than malevolent. Was it hard to figure out how to make a 3-D character out of a no-D antagonist?

Antoinette Portis: Instead of personifying the wind as one of the puffy-cheeked Greek gods you see on antique maps or as an evil villain, I imagined it as an externalization of Billy’s resistance to venturing out into the world. When he’s impelled to risk forging a relationship, all his fears don’t suddenly evaporate. They manifest themselves as the wind, trying to drive him back to the safety and isolation of his tower.

From the January/February 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The post Antoinette Portis on The Red Hat appeared first on The Horn Book.

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36. Advice For Young Writers, Patience, ELLA AND PENGUIN STICK TOGETHER: Three Questions with Megan Maynor

Megan Maynor is a former advertising copywriter and author of picture books ELLA AND PENGUIN STICK TOGETHER and ELLA AND PENGUIN: A PERFECT MATCH (coming 2017), both from HarperCollins Children’s Books. She lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children.

ELLA AND PENGUIN is a new picture book written by Megan Maynor, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet, published by HarperCollins Children's Books in January 2016. You can see reviews in Kirkus and Publishers Weekly.

You can find out more about Megan and her work at MeganMaynor.com and on Twitter at @megan_maynor.


Ella and Penguin want to see their new glow-in-the-dark stickers glow—but they don't want to go into the dark. (It’s so dark!) Can they see the stickers glow another way? Can they face the dark closet if they stick together?

Q. Could you please take a photo of something in your office and tell us the story behind it?

I got these buttons at the gift shop in the New York Public Library:

The library itself is breathtaking with its marble staircases and wood-paneled reading rooms—all this grandeur for people to read books—for free!

The lions out front are named Patience and Fortitude.

I thought Patience and Fortitude seemed like good guiding stars while navigating the journey to publication.

I looked at these buttons A LOT while writing.

For me, Patience and Fortitude are reminders of the long game. Each day’s progress may be slight, but the only way to get there is incrementally. Likewise, there will be turbulence of all kinds, but the only way to finish is to keep working.

Megan with a copy of an advance reader's copy of ELLA AND PENGUIN STICK TOGETHER

Q. What advice do you have for young writers?

If you don’t know what to write about, write about your socks. Keep going. You’ll find out what you wanted to write about.

This is advice I got from MY third grade teacher.

And it helped make me unafraid of writing, I think. Will the first thing I write be great? Probably not. And that’s fine. It’s not a big deal where you start. You just start.

When I would get an assignment as an advertising copywriter, and now, when I make up the assignment myself, I can always write something. From there, I just try to make it better and better. How could it be more interesting? More surprising? Funnier or more true? Start with socks. Go from there.

Jee reading Ella and Penguin Stick Together with his dad, Erik.

Q. What are you excited about right now?

I’m excited about seeing my book on book store shelves—and in the hands of real live kids!—for the first time. It takes a long time to make a picture book, so this story has lived in my head for years. Now it’s finally OUT THERE, in the world, with real readers.

And it has been an absolute JOY to hear from parents and teachers that their kids are connecting with the story. It’s a bit surreal, to be honest. But so thrilling.

Mackena loves that there is a narwhal in this book. I do too!


For more interviews, see my Inkygirl Interview Archive.

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37. The Groundhog’s Special Day Is Around the Corner!

Who Will See Their Shadows This Year?

By Jerry Pallotta and David Biedrzycki


As February 2nd approaches, the focus on the popularity of the groundhog skyrockets and his folkloric history as weather prognosticator extraordinaire comes to the fore. Namely, if he comes out of his burrow and sees his shadow, we’re in for six more weeks of Ole Man Winter and if not, the zephyrs of spring breezes will come early.

But what if the sudden once a year celebrity of the groundhog causes jealousy to rear its petulant head in the animals of the forest? Such is the result of animal competition in “Who Will See Their Shadows This Spring?” “Their” is definitely the operative word with this group of groundhog wanna bees.  Hey, they’re in a grumpy mood to begin with as winter drags on…and on. The fed up faces of these denizens of the forest in the midst of the winter doldrums are very funny. They’ve had it and are heavy lidded and harried! Check out the beleaguered buffalo in the initial gathering of this winter weary lot. He’s beat and ready to bellow.

Leave it to the chicken to start the green eye of envy rolling with the quote, “But…why should   groundhog get all the attention?” “What about us”? The chicken throws down the gauntlet to groundhogs everywhere with, “Let me try my shadow!” Her attempt is met with a driving rainstorm, followed quickly by a succession of other animals attempting to bring spring. The polar bear’s shadow causes a blizzard with the dog’s outline leading to a sudden influx of dense fog. The shadow of the pig causes a hurricane to ensue and the buffalo fares not much better with sleet pelting the forest folk as his shadow hits the ground!

Frustration is beginning to settle heavily on the shoulders of the animals as they try to cajole and conjure spring into appearing. Maybe if they try a panda shadow, he might be able to wield a little extra clout with Mother Nature. HAIL STONES appear in buckets. A koala, camel, butterfly and even a ring-tailed lemur and peacock’s attempts are variously met with mist, gale-force winds, tornadoes and hot, muggy weather. Not exactly the spring they had in mind.

Are they ready to say “Uncle” and let the groundhog do what he does best and will he awaken in time for February 2nd?

This is a perfect read aloud for the younger set that may identify with the feelings of animals tired of the groundhog getting the American Idol-like spotlight every 2nd of February. For a culture that thrives on celebrity, this book is a humorous take on the light shown, even in the animal world, on the 15 minutes of fame given every February 2nd to a groundhog.

Punxsutawney Phil, get ready for the flash bulbs and your photo op. Smile for the camera, please! And this picture book is apt to put a smile on any young reader’s face.

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38. Picture Book Monday with a review of This is Not my Hat

This Is Not My Hat
When I was growing up, I was naturally drawn to stories that featured children who broke the rules. Eloise, and many of the 'naughty' characters from Roald Dahl's books were my heroes because they prevailed in spite of everything. In today's picture book you will meet a fish who does something bad. He knows that what he is doing is wrong, but he does it anyway. The ending is rather surprising, and perfectly perfect, under the circumstances.

This is not my hat
Jon Klassen
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Candlewick Press, 2012, 978-0-7636-5599-0
One day a very small fish steals a hat from a very large sleeping fish. The small fish thinks that the large fish “probably won’t wake up for a long time,” and even when he does wake up the fish won’t notice that the hat is gone. After all, the hat is very small and the big fish probably barely felt it.
   Just in case, the little fish decides to hide in a place where the plants are “tall and close together.” A crab sees where the little fish is going but it promises not to tell anyone where the little fish is hiding. The little fish justifies the theft of the hat, which he knows was a bad thing to do, because the hat was too small for the big fish.
   The little fish makes it to his hiding place and swims in amongst the plants. He is so sure that “Nobody will ever find me,” but it turns out that many of the assumptions that he made were completely wrong.
   This beautifully crafted book, with its simple tale and cocky main character, will delight young readers. Children will be able to see how wrong the little fish is as he talks about what he has done and how to plans to get away with the theft of the hat. They will see that the little fish’s confidence and optimism is, alas, misplaced.

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39. #812 – Too Many Carrots by Kay Hudson

Too Many Carrots Written & Illustrated by Katy Hudson Capstone    2/1/2016 978-1-62370-638-8 32 pages    Ages 3—5 “Rabbit loves carrots. In fact, he loves them so much that they are crowing him out of his cozy burrow. When his friends offer help, Rabbit happily accepts. But will too many carrots cause too much trouble …

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40. All Year Round

All Year Round. Susan B. Katz. Illustrated by Eiko Ojala. 2016. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: A world of shapes, twelve months abound, from four-cornered square, to circle, round.
Circle round, ready to roll. Add two sticks, a carrot, and coal. January.  Cut out a Heart for a special friend. Write a message, lick, stamp, send. February.

Premise/plot: A picture book teaching TWO concepts. One concept is shapes. The other concept is the months of the year. Each shape shares something about the month. For example, triangle is November's shape. It is the shape of a slice of PIE.

My thoughts: I liked it better than I thought I would. It is a concept book and not a story book, but, it is enjoyable enough. So don't expect it to be as memorable as Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup with Rice.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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41. What I’m Doing at Kirkus This Week,Plus What I Did Last Week, Featuring R. Gregory Christie

“Week in, week out, from sun to sun,always more chores to be done.”(Click to enlarge spread)   Over at Kirkus today, I take a look at some new 2016 picture books addressing death and loss. That will be here later. * * * Last week, I wrote here about Carole Boston Weatherford’s Freedom in Congo […]

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42. #811 – The Big Book of Hugs by Nick Ortner, Alison Taylor, & Michelle Polizzi

Yesterday, was National Hug Day (and Squirrel Appreciation Day, so I hope you hugged a squirrel). Yesterday was also The Big Book of Hugs release day, which could not have been a better choice. I am pleased to bring you a bear occupation I had known little about. Okay, I knew nothing about it, but …

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43. Shaking Up Storytimes . . .

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44. #809-Ten Zany Birds by Sherry Ellis & Charu Jain

Ten Zany Birds Written by Sherry Ellis Illustrated by Charu Jain Createspace     5/16/2015 978-1-49740458-4 42 pages      Ages 3—5 Ten zany birds, singing in a tree, dance at a party, happy as can be. Five with stripes, fours with spots, one with purple polka dots. “When ten little birds get together, it’s …

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45. Seven Questions Over Breakfast with Debbie Ridpath Ohi

  If I had to create at, say, knife-point a list of the Funniest Picture Books of the Last Decade (that sounds violent, but I’m not a fan myself of creating such superlatives-lists), I’d put Michael Ian Black’s I’m Bored, illustrated by my guest Debbie Ridpath Ohi (her illustrated self-portrait is above), on that list. […]

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46. Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato

The Publishers Weekly review of Worm Loves Worm by J. J. Austrian, illustrated by Mike Curato, begins, "How do you explain a revolution to a young audience?" This is how - with a sweetly simple story (with sweetly simple illustrations) about two worms in love. What amazes and surprises me most about Worm Loves Worm is how subtle message that love is love and how powerful the excitement and joy (along with preconceived ideas) of a wedding is. Austrian and Curato achieve the nearly impossible accomplishment of creating a picture book that teaches, or, more precisely (hopefully) opens minds and shifts perspective, while also being a wonderfully illustrated, engaging story.

Two worms fall in love and decide to get married. The officious Cricket steps in saying, "You need someone to marry you. That's how it's always been done." This is a refrain he will repeat often over the course of Worm Loves Worm as other bugs get involved in the wedding planning. Beetle insists on being the best man and the Bees insist on being the "bride's bees." When Cricket says they must have rings for their fingers and the Worms point out their lack of digits, they decide to wear their rings as belts. With every traditional demand placed on them and every hoop that they jump through, the Worms ask repeatedly, "Now can we be married?"

Finally, one of the Bees asks, "But which one of you is the bride?" The Worms respond, "I can be the bride," and "I can, too," and they both don the traditional attire for brides - and grooms. The wedding party looks a little shocked and surprised by this, and of course Cricket chirps, "That isn't how it's always been done." To this, finally, the Worms reply, "Then we'll just change how it's done." Austrian ends his book, "And so they were married . . . because Worm loves Worm."

There has been a vocal push in the world of kid's books in the last few years for diversity on the page. With Matt de la Peña's picture book Last Stop on Market Street winning the Newbery Medal last week, this slow change seems to be picking up pace. Add to this Alex Gino's book from last year about a transgender fourth grader, George, and now Worm Loves Worm, which probably began its official path to publication almost two years before the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, and it feels like change is really happening.

Source: Review Copy

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47. #810 – Squirrel Me Timbers by Louise Pigott

January 21st is officially Squirrel Appreciation Day. To mark this solemn occasion, Kid Lit Reviews is pleased to bring you a feisty little squirrel destined to become a pirate. I just could not pass up telling you about Sammy on his special day. Actually, Sammy’s special day will be April 1 (no fooling), when his …

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48. My Favorite Collaboration Is Back!

Read It. Move It. Share It. 
I can't believe it's been two years since Maria Hanley from Maria's Movers and I took a break from "Read It. Move It. Share It." But we're back! We probably won't be posting every month but hope to collaborate at least a few more times this year. It feels so good to be back! To remind you about our collaboration, I choose picture books for Maria to use in her creative movement classes in New York City, and then we both share our experiences with the books. This month's book is Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site!

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site was published a few years back by debut author Sherri Duskey Rinker and seasoned illustrator Tom Lichtenheld. It quickly rocketed to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List, and for good reason. It's clever, adorable in its words and pictures, and appealing both to children who love trucks and to parents -- and dance teachers! -- who might be anxious to settle their little ones down after a long day at school or play.

The book starts out showing a variety of different trucks working hard until the sun begins to set. It then quickly focuses in on each type of truck and what it has to do to finish its work for the day and get ready for bed. It's written in rhyme, with each truck getting a short introduction, a stanza about what kind of work the truck does, and a stanza to say goodnight.

The first truck in the book, the crane truck, works "hard to help his team" by raising "one last beam." He also reaches, stretches, lifts high, and swings his beam. Only then can he get ready for bed...

He slowly folds his boom back in, 
And then with one last sleepy grin, 
He tucks himself in nice and tight (sigh!),
Then cuddles up and says goodnight.

Shh...goodnight, Crane Truck, goodnight.

This pattern is repeated for a cement mixer, a dump truck, a bulldozer, and an excavator. And as you might imagine, there are fabulous movement words everywhere in the book! There's spinning, churning, lifting, carrying, spilling, and so much more.

As the book comes to a close, the trucks are together again...although they are all sleeping this time. One of my favorite stanzas happens as the book winds down. I love the messages that it sends to young children, who are probably identifying strongly with the trucks by the end of the book. Work hard. Be proud of your work. And make sure your work is fun! Great lessons to carry into adulthood as well...

These big, big trucks, so tough and loud,
They work so hard, so rough, so proud.
Tomorrow is another day, 
Another chance to work and play.

I can't finish this post without also mentioning the brilliant illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld that really bring this book to life. He personifies the trucks so well, giving them great facial expressions whether they are working, playing, feeling sleepy, or snuggling into bed. So sweet.

I can't wait to see how Maria used the book in her classes. Let's go see here.

You can also click here to read an interview with author Sherri Duskey Rinker and learn more about her inspiring road to publication. And if you like what you've heard and seen so far, check out the second picture book by the amazing team of Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld -- Steam Train, Dream Train!

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49. If You Were Me and Lived In … Italy: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World | Dedicated Review

Do you have your passaporto (passport) handy? It’s time to merriggiare (rest at noon in a shady spot) with a copy of If You Were Me and Lived In .. Italy and introduce your kids to the wealth of culture that abounds in the Republic of Italy—the famous country shaped like a boot.

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50. How the Sun Got to Coco's House by Bob Graham

How the Sun Got to Coco's House is the fifth book by Bob Graham that I have reviewed now, and each one is as magically universal as the next. A picture book by Graham can go all the way around the world and never leave a single room. And, perhaps because of the nature of the stories he tells, Graham can tell the same story over and over, making it new and enchanting every single time.

With How the Sun Got to  Coco's House, the sun is the main character. Graham begins, "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 . . ." The sun skids giddily, touching a fisherman's cap and, "with the help of the wind . . . blew it off!" The sun tumbles, makes shadows, balances on the wing of a plane, "just for young Lovejoy, off to visit his grandma."

The sun shines on Jung Su and her mother, trekking through the woods before it catches Kosha and his father on the way to the market. High over the desert, the sun meets rain and Graham's accompanying illustration is a wonderful, two page spread showing a family of four leading their camels in a line. The sun breaks over a mountain as Alika's toe breaks the ice on her puddle and the illustration shows a family of women and girls in head coverings walking down a narrow alley.

When the sun does make it to Coco's, it comes straight through the window, follows her down the hall and makes itself "quite at home on her mom and dad's bed," just like Coco! Graham ends How the Sun Got to Coco's with the sun, who has some time on its hands, spends the whole day with Coco. The final illustration is a bird's eye view of Coco and her friends playing in the backyard, showing rows of row houses and factories and busy streets.

This review ends with the perfect final line I have to repeat here, "It's great to be able to count on something, readers can count on both the sun and Graham." So true!

More books by Bob Graham

April and Esme Tooth Fairies

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