Friday, May 24, 2019

Sheep Dog and Sheep Sheep



Title: Sheep Dog and Sheep Sheep                        


Author/Illustrator: Eric Barclay
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2019
Intended Ages: 4-8
Themes: Friendship, Humor, Identity

Opening Line(s):
"This is Sheep. She loves to dance."
 
Synopsis: A young sheep thinks she is an expert on watching sheep, and shares her knowledge with the sheep dog to help him do his job.

What I like about this book: When I was growing up, my family had a small flock of eleven sheep. And they do have personalities! This book highlights the main characters' disparate personalities, and ends with a heart-warming surprise. The illustrations paint bucolic scenes that highlight the humor as dangers are narrowly averted. The chubby, ambulatory upright sheep almost looks like a child in sheep's clothing, intensifying sheep's carefree child-like relationship with the adult-like even-tempered dog.

Resources:
  •  Make your own Sheep sheep. For preschoolers - All kids network has a fun craft.
  •  For older children, Red Ted Art has cute sheep crafts. Who knew you could make a rock look like a sheep?!
  • Talk about different jobs and what tools you need to do them. Do you need to look a certain way? Why or why not?
  • Visit a petting zoo or farm and visit real sheep
  • Read other sheep books like Woolbur by Leslie Helakoski or Can't Sleep Without Sheep by Susanna Leonard Hill. Which book is your favorite? Which sheep would you like as a friend? 
  • Discuss other jobs dogs do
I hope you like this book as much as I did!

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

Friday, March 15, 2019

Cavekid BIrthday

Title: Cavekid Birthday                            

Author: Cathy Breisacher
Illustrator: Roland Garrigue
Publisher: Charlesbridge, 2019
Intended Ages: 4-8
Themes: Birthdays, Friendship, Humor

Opening Line(s):
"Caveboy and Cavegirl were born on the same day, in side-by-side caves."
 
Synopsis: Two friends, born on the same day, want to give their friend the perfect present - but without money to spend, they come up with a creative heart-warming bartering solution.

What I like about this book: This book may be set in the prehistoric age, but it provides kids with a fun, realistic story line. Kids do want to provide gifts for people they love, and they don't have money. At least my kiddos didn't when they were little - I saved allowance until they were old enough to do something to earn it. So, what can kids do? I loved the bold illustrations, too. I KNOW, cavemen didn't make pets out of most prehistoric creatures, but this isn't meant as a history book, it's FUN.

Resources:
  •  Cathy Bresiacher has a teacher's guide on her website
  • Talk about how to pick a present for someone else (it's a skill to empathize with what others want, and not what you want!)
  • Talk about what kids can give a friend/loved one that doesn't cost money and things or skills they could barter with if they wanted a store bought gift
  • Visit a museum and look at prehistoric creatures. Which one would you like for a pet?
  • Visit a professionally managed cave. (PA and VA have a lot of them) Note: Don't stick your heads into random holes! 
  • Throw a prehistoric/cave themed birthday party. (Google gives lots of ideas!)
This author has a second book, CHIP AND CURLY scheduled for release later this year. Racing potato chips, anyone?!


This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

Friday, March 8, 2019

Brave Ballerina - The Story of Janet Collins


Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet CollinsTitle: Brave Ballerina - The Story
of Janet Collins 
Author: Michelle Meadows
Illustrator: Ebony Glenn
Publisher: Henry Holt, 2019
Intended Ages: 4-8
Themes: Dance, Biography, Diversity

Opening Line(s):
"This is the girl who danced in the breeze to the swoosh, swoosh, swoosh of towering trees."
 
Synopsis:Born in the 1930's, Janet Collins was a pioneer in the world of ballet. The first African American prima ballerina to perform at the Metropolitan Opera House.

What I like about this book: I love learning about extraordinary people I'm not familiar with. I knew about Misty Copeland's rise to fame at the American Ballet Theatre, but I had never heard of the remarkable Janet Collins who broke the same barriers years before at a different ballet company. Author Michelle Meadows tells the story in lyrical verse that never feels forced. The text talks about Janet Collins' ability to convey emotions through her gestures and movements and Ebony Glenn's illustrations capture these emotions beautifully -- disappointment, joy, perseverance. A great book for any child with big dreams.

Resources:
  • Michelle Meadows has a teacher's guide on her website
  • Dance! and ask your audience to guess what emotion you were trying to portray
  • Go to watch a dance performance (ballet if you can find it nearby!)
  • Write a thank you to your family for supporting you in something you like to do


This author/illustrator duo has a book about Simone Biles scheduled for release next year!


Note: I received a copy of this book as a random winner of an online contest. No review was required or expected in return.





This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

Friday, February 8, 2019

This Book is Spineless

Title: This Book is Spineless          
       
AuthorLindsay Leslie

Illustrator: Alice Brereton
Publisher: Page Street Kids, Feb. 19, 2019
Intended Ages: 4-8
Themes: Fear, Humor, Books

Opening Line(s):
 "Whew! Thanks for turning on the lights! As I said, I'm afraid of the dark. Actually, I'm afraid of most things, because I'm spineless."

Synopsis:
An anthropomorphized book breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the reader, fearing the possibility of facing a terrifying plot, becoming braver with each page turn.

What I like about this book:
Don't you love this title!! Smart and sassy. The author peppers the text with fun language like zilch, smidge and whodunit, while weaving in the five senses as tools for exploring the book's possible subject. I was one of the shy kids that would have identified with this book's irrational fears! Adam Lehrhaupt's Warning: Do Not Open this Book would be a fun title to pair and compare.

Lindsay has two more books under contract with Page Street Kids (so far!). Keep a look out for this new talent.


This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

Friday, January 25, 2019

More-igami - Multicultural Children's Book Day

Title: More-igami                     
Author: Dori Kleber

Illustrator: G. Brian Karas
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2016
Intended Ages: 4-8
Themes: Multicultural play, Practice/Persistence

Opening Line(s):
Joey loved things that folded. He collected old road maps. He played the accordion. He slept in a foldaway bed.

Synopsis:
When a boy who loves folded things sees origami, he wants to learn how to make a crane. But origami takes practice and patience.

What I like about this book: Origami is fun! I got a set of instructions and a box of paper for Christmas one year. The author uses a quirky main character (the accordion and the bed are quirky!!) to introduce this fun craft. And the restaurant owner that helps Joey warmed my heart in this sweet, straight-forward story. Help in life does come from unexpected places sometimes. The illustrations capture Joey's moments of concentration and surprise. With the awww ending, a student becomes the teacher. Yay, Joey!


Resources and Activities:

Try some origami! The book has two pages of back matter that describe how to fold a ladybug! Other simple instructions (shapes I remember making!) can be found on the Origami for Kids website.


The Spruce crafts website has suggestions for how to throw an entire origami-themed kids party.

More-igami is part of one of Candlewick's story hour kits, including a traceable crane figure. They also suggest a study of the history of origami for older readers. Order the PBS DVD of their show "Behind the Folds" to learn the origin.

I hope you enjoy today's selection! It was one of Kirkus reviews Best Books of 2016, but I missed it when it came out. Never too late to find a great book like this. It's a fantastic book to look for on Multicultural Children's Book Day or any day!!

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

Friday, January 4, 2019

Meet--Honeysmoke!

Title: Honeysmoke

Author: Monique Fields
Illustrator: Yesenia Moises
Publisher: Imprint (Macmillan) , January 8, 2019
Intended Ages: 3-6
Themes: Family, Racial Identity, Language

Opening Line(s):
Simone wants a color.
She asks Mama, "Am I black or white?"

Synopsis:
A young biracial girl doesn't see herself as black or white and explores possible descriptions for herself.

What I like about this book: Without being preachy, this story about a biracial girl’s skin color encourages children to pause and reflect about the words they use and opens the door for lessons on family, heredity, and creative wordplay. The spare language is suitable for all ages. Most things in the world aren't black or white, and this book embraces children's individuality and empowers them to visualize who they are and how they want other people to see them. Arnold Adoff used a similar approach in the 1973 picture book black is brown is tan, told from the adult parents' point of view. Honeysmoke starts and stays with the child. Vibrant illustrations accompany the simple text.

Resources and Activities:

Play with fingerpaints! Mix the colors and make up names for the new combinations.

Brainstorm descriptors. Older readers can do this on their own. For younger readers, perhaps provide a stack of index cards with adjectives, colorful and otherwise, and let children pick and discard from the stack.

Older readers can also discuss the weight of words as descriptions. Are broad categories necessary? Why or why  not?

For educators--Washington State has an 86-page pdf to download on biracial awareness, biases, and counseling biracial children.

I hope you enjoy today's selection!
Another review of this great book is posted by Vivian Kirkfield.

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF


Friday, October 5, 2018

MAXIMILLIAN VILLAINOUS and HAMMERING FOR FREEDOM recommended!

A slew of great picture books have released in the last few months. I'm highlighting just two of them today, one fiction, and one nonfiction.

First up - for all the upcoming Halloween story times!

Title: Maximillian Villainous

Author: Margaret Chiu Greanias          

Illustrator: Lesley Breen Withrow
Publisher: Running Press Kids, 2018
Intended Ages: 4-8
Themes: Monsters, Humor, Kindness

Opening Line: "Maximillian Villainous came from a long line of famous villains. But Max was different from his family."

Synopsis: When a monster chooses a friendly bunny sidekick, he has to decide whether to follow his family's directive to embrace their evil nature or his own inclination to be good.

What I like about this book: The first reason is that the author is one of my critique partners and a friend! I love to see her great story-telling flair out in the world. More than that, this story is FUN! Sure, there's an underlying theme of being true to yourself, and good triumphs over evil, but the language is playful ("evil up!") and the characters' attempts to "reform" and become evil are delightfully silly. Paired with adorable illustrations, this book is a winner. The "monsters" are cute and shouldn't scare your little ones.


Resources and Activities:


  • The author has an extensive teacher's guide on her website, and two crafts.
  • The website PLAY IDEAS has a great compilation of easy monster crafts (I LOVE the paper roll monsters!) 
  • Would you want to be part of Maximillian's family? Why or why not?
  • Design a monstrous Halloween costume 
  • Read more monster books and compare-what makes a monster a monster? (some of my favorites include Tara Lazar's THE MONSTORE, Tammie Sauer's MOSTLY MONSTERLY and Anne Marie Pace's VAMPIRINA series)

 The second book I've got in the spotlight today is totally different in tone, but no less exciting. 

Title: Hammering for Freedom  
    
Author: Rita Lorraine Hubbard          Illustrator: John Holyfield

Publisher: Lee & Low, 2018
Intended Ages: 7-10
Themes: Slavery, Perseverance, Family

Opening Line: "One starry night in 1810, William "Bill" Lewis was born on a plantation in Winchester, Tennessee."

Synopsis: The true story of a slave who learned the blacksmith trade and worked to try to earn enough money to free his family.

What I like about this book: Inspiring true stories make my heart glad. Throughout history there have been people who toiled without need for public recognition or celebrity to achieve something amazing. I'd like to think these are the real celebrities that deserve our attention. The author and illustrator bring a time in history to life in an accessible story without glossing over the horror of people as property yet keeping a hopeful thread to pull young readers through those "bone-weary years." Readers will also get a feeling for how important a blacksmith was to the community during this time.


Resources and Activities:



  • Compare this book with DAVE THE POTTER by Laban Hill.
  • Google teaching resources for slavery to find resources available for your reader's age level
  • Brainstorm what you would want to do to earn money at your age now, and when you are in your twenties (like Bill).
  • Estimate how many tools a blacksmith could make in a day and then watch the TV show Forged with Fire to see modern day forgers in action (does it look easier or harder than you expected?). 
  • Find out how much $1000 in 1830 would be today
I hope you enjoy my reviews and look up these books for yourself!

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF