Friday, February 9, 2024

A Review by Wendy Greenley of How To Count to 1 written by Caspar Salmon, art by Matt Hunt

 There are some picture book titles that make me laugh. The book I'm reviewing today is one of them!

And the bright colors on the cover--ahhh--I had to take this one home.

Title: How To Count To 1

Publisher: Nosy Crow, 2022, Concept book

Author: Caspar Salmon

Illustrator: Matt Hunt

Suitable for Ages: 2+



Themes: Numbers, Humor

Opening Lines: Note: These deadpan lines do NOT show the broad humor that had me laughing

"Hello!

Welcome to a fun new counting book.

Are you ready to start counting?"


Brief Synopsis: The narrator invites kids to count images on each spread. But the images become wilder, and the items you're being asked to locate and find are more clever with each page turn. If you're a rulebreaker--you might even be able to count higher! Note: The library edition of the book has the endpapers partially covered, and this makes the "final" count for industrious kids more difficult.

Resources: 

  • Read this book on the 100th day of school, then ask the listeners why the book is appropriate for this day. 
  • Pair the book with other 100th day of school titles. Suggestions are on the Just Reed blog and Read Brightly website here
  • Practice free printable counting activities from Fun Learning for Kids
  • Have readers create their own "tricky" counting lesson using drawings or items collected
  • Ask readers whether they think the author really wants them to follow directions. WHy do they think this?

Why I like this book: 

While it certainly can be used for math lessons, I'm all about the humor in this book. The narrator's insistence to follow the rules, and the encouragement to spot the specified items meld perfectly with creative, dynamic over-the-top illustrations. 

I'm always interested to know if you've read this book and what you think!
This review is being shared as part of Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday. 

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

Thursday, February 1, 2024

If You Find a Leaf by Aimee Sicuro - Book Review

     My favorite place to be is outside. Even in winter, I bundle up and go out for my walk.

    Spending this much time outside, and growing up in a plant-loving household means I know the names of the local trees and the book I'm reviewing today is perfect for kids who are like me.

Title: If You Find a Leaf

Author/Illustrator: Aimee Sicuro

Publisher: Random House Studio, 2022, Concept book

Best for ages: 2+

Themes:  Nature, Creativity, Art



Opening Lines

    If you find a leaf

    You could dream the day away.

    It could be a hat on a chilly day."

Why I like this book:

    The way this book sparks a reader's creativity makes it appropriate for a wide age range. The leaf parade would be perfect for little ones and older reader's can make their own leaf-incorporated drawings. While the child and her dog have a dreamy quality, the leaves in the illustrations and vibrant, realistic representations. Using the endpapers, kids can learn to identify leaves as well as take inspiration from the suggestions in the text. What I like best of all is the way the book puts reader's in charge of their ideas. YOU can create whatever you want!

Activities:

    There are TONS of leaf activities available on the web, so I'll let you choose your own this time!

    The book includes an activity at the end for preserving leaves. I was always a press-between-paper or iron between two sheets of wax paper parent, so I learned something new! If you need more inspiration to create your own leaf drawing, illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi is one of my favorites for drawings that include pieces of nature as well as other 'found objects'. 



Let me know if you enjoyed this book recommendation in the comments! 

My review is part of Perfect Picture Book Friday created and hosted by author Susanna Leonard Hill. The opinion in the review is wholly my own.


Friday, January 26, 2024

YOU RULE by Rilla Alexander - reviewed by Wendy Greenley

 Today's book review isn't a "story" book although it would make a good read aloud. It's a book that's a tool for learning about how to express your emotions, vibrantly illustrated by the author/illustrator Rilla Alexander

Title: YOU RULE

Publisher: Chronicle Kids, 2023, Nonfiction concept book

Author/Illustrator: Rilla Alexander

Themes/Topics: Emotions, Language

Suitable for age: 3+


Opening Lines:

"How ready are you? 

    not at all    thinking about it    just another minute    preparing    ready and willing . . ."


Brief Synopsis:

The author uses lists describing ranges of emotions appropriate in different situations, with an arc on each page suitable for the moment (slower to faster, smaller to bigger etc).

Resources:

What I like about this book:

Little kids have BIG emotions, and sometimes they're hard put to name them. This provides a great resource for a variety of situations, and if an adult uses one of the expressions in a question they can help a child feel empowered to say Yes, THAT'S what I'm feeling! The book left me rarin' to go to recommend it. *wink*

I'm always interested to know if you've read this book and what you think!
This review is being shared as part of Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday. For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

Friday, December 8, 2023

In The Palm of My Hand written by Jennifer Raudenbush, illustrated by Isabella Conti

 Today I'm pleased to share a beautiful book by a fellow Pennsylvania writer!

Title: In The Palm of My Hand

Publisher: Running Press, 2023

Author: Jennifer Raudenbush

Illustrator: Isabella Conti    




Opening Line: "In the palm of my hand, I hold an acorn, small and round."

What I like about this book: Keeping with the theme of this book, its simple text contains big emotions. Kids can recognize the possibilities in nature, and in themselves. It is a short "quiet" read suitable for bedtime or for generating conversation.

The Editorial staff description of this book is apt. "By exploring nature’s tiniest details, they (a child)  learn even small things, including them, contain infinite potential."

Activities:

  •  Take a walk in nature and look for some of the "characters" in the book
  • Ask a child what they want to be as they grow up. How do they think they will change? Will they grow tall like a tree? Metamorphoses like a caterpillar?
  • Have a child collect their favorite items that fit in the palm of their hand and tell you why they they chose them.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Counting to Bananas by Carrie Tillotson and Estrela Lourenco

 

Need a picture book that will have you grinning ear to ear? Did you enjoy Z is for Moose written by by Kelly Bingham, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky?

Then you want to read Counting to Bananas written by Carrie Tillotson and illustrated by Estrela Lourenco (Flamingo Books, 2022)! Stuffed with fruit and rhyme, this book’s twist ending (no spoiler!) reminds us all why it isn’t always the best idea to be the center of attention.


Two thumbs up for this fun read aloud and counting book.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

A DAY FOR REMEMBERIN'

 My family observes Memorial Day each year by hanging our flag. My heart is full thinking of the people who risk their lives to ensure the safety of our nation and its people. But--

I never thought about the origin of Memorial Day. My picture book book recommendation is for all of you who are like me. I missed a ton of books published during the pandemic when I was lying low.

A DAY FOR REMEMBERIN'

Author: Leah Henderson

Illustrator: Floyd Cooper

Publisher: Abrams books for Young Readers, 2021



The book opens with a  spread that includes a quote from Frederick Douglass, from his 1871 Decoration Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery and two paragraphs of historical context about the Civil War and Memorial Day. 

The story that drew me in begins on the next page.

"Nine days in a row.

Papa up early and gone again.

I still can't go with him, though. He said, "Eli, school's where you need to be--reading and counting." But I am counting. Right here. Day nine."

This work of historical fiction, imagining what it might have been like to experience the first Memorial Day, took my breath away. The inhumanity and humanity of man displayed in equal measures and unflinching honesty. I was spurred to learn about the historical place referenced, and what I learned stunned me again. I hope everyone enjoys learning this history as much as I did.

Activities:

  • Brainstorm how you might remember those who lost their lives in service of our country. Some cemeteries use volunteers to place flags on veterans graves.
  • Brainstorm how you might help those currently in service of our country. Have an adult check for legitimate organizations on websites like Military Pen Pals
  • Research how other countries honor their veterans (we lived in the UK and were touched by the importance of Veterans Day there)
  • Research the origin story for another holiday
  • Read other patriotic picture books (Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus (Author), Kadir Nelson (Illustrator) and The Poppy Lady: Moina Belle Michael and Her Tribute to Veterans by Barbara E Walsh, Layne Johnson (illus) are two to start you off.) Do you have a favorite?

I enjoy hearing if you enjoyed this book recommendation. My review is part of Perfect Picture Book Friday created and hosted by author Susanna Leonard Hill. The opinion in the review is wholly my own.



Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Updated News for Lola Shapes the Sky

 Every now and then I stumble on news I SHOULD have seen. 

Thanks to Ishta Mercurio for sharing  and writing a delightful review of Paolo Domeniconi's beautiful cover of my debut  picture book --two years ago!! 

And thanks to the publisher for negotiating international rights with China!