Friday, May 1, 2020

YOU ARE NEW by Lucy Knisley

Title: YOU ARE NEW                               

Author/Illustrator: Lucy Knisley

Publisher: Chronicle, 2019
Intended Ages: 4-8 (I would say 2+)
Themes: Beginnings, Love

Opening Line (s): "HELLO, YOU! YOU ARE NEW.
WHEN YOU'RE NEW . . . WHAT CAN YOU DO?

 Synopsis: A slice of life look at the arrival of new babies, and all of the new situations they encounter and new skills they achieve.

 What I like About this book: While this is a perfect book for expectant parents, it's also a good read aloud for the toddlers that will recognize themselves in the illustrations and a reminder to children as they grow older that everyone is dealing with new things all the time. Even adults! The text is printed in big block letters with rhyme, repetition and simple illustrations, making it a good candidate for new readers.
 
Resources:


  •  Do something new! Can't leave your house because of COVID-19? Do something new at home. HGTV had a good list of activities for parents and kids recently. It made me want to make my own paper! Maybe look in the back of the pantry for something that needs to be eaten and try a Chopped style family cookoff. Be new!
I hope you enjoy this book. Happy reading!

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

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Papillon Goes to the Vet AND Max Attacks

The coronavirus has changed many things in our world. Luckily, humorous books for kids are out there, to keep their world less stressful.

I'm a dog person. I've been one for as long as I have memories. Maybe it's the Siamese that attacked me repeatedly. Maybe it was the kitten I rescued from a tree that clawed my neck in thanks. But--I'm a dog person. But these two books are so funny and sweet, I have to admit to a smile.

First Title:    Papillon Goes to the Vet               
Author/Illustrator: A. N. Kang

Publisher: Disney Hyperion, 2017
Intended Ages:4-8
Themes: Humor, Sickness

Opening Line(s):
"Papillon is a very fluffy cat. He can float like a cloud in the sky."
 
Synopsis: A playtime accident lands a cat at the veterinarian (no worries cat lovers--there's a happy ending!).

What I like about this book:
This story combines absurdity and reality in a charming way. A bird and a cat are best friends! And the cat--well, it can do things no real cat can, in a believable setting and story. The squirrel in the background of the illustrations adds more humor.

Second Title: Max Attacks
Author: Kathi Appelt     
                

Illustrator: Penelope Dullaghan
Publisher: Atheneum, 2019
Intended Ages: 4-8
Themes: Animals, humor


Opening Line (s): "This is Max. He attacks. In a bowl of water brimming . . . Fishes! Lots of fishes swimming."

 Synopsis: A slice of life look at a cat that fancies himself a predatory champ, but turns out to be a better napper.


 What I like About this book: Don't we all fancy ourselves a bit more skilled than we are in reality? I know I do! Max is an endearing look at an ordinary cat and his foibles. Told in rhyme, this story is a fun read aloud.

 
Resources:

  •  Compare and contrast the cats in these two books.
  • Make cat toys for a local shelter (call ahead to see if they're open, or deliver them later)
  • Read about animal "manners" and training methods. The ASPCA is one source for information.
  • If you have pets of your own, check your pet's toys for loose bits or hazards. Fix them or throw them away.
  • Play with your pet and see who tires out first!
  • Draw a picture of your pet, or one you'd like to have.
I hope you enjoy these books. Happy reading!

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Let's Dance!

Title:    Let's Dance                 


Author: Valerie Bolling
Illustrator: Maine Diaz   
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press, 2020
Intended Ages:3-7
Themes: Dance, Rhyme

Opening Line(s):
"Tappity-tap. Fingers Snap."
 
Synopsis: A rhyming survey of dance styles.

What I like about this book:
If you want a story time that leads into physical activity, this could be the book for you. The text is extremely spare, using lots of action verbs. Back matter provides information about each of the dances spotlighted in the text. The graphic style illustrations are vibrant and evocative.

Resources:
  •  Research the origin of a favorite dance.
  • Use the dances as an opportunity to practice writing directions. How would you describe the moves? 
  • Discuss who can do these dances, and why? (Hint: they may have regional origins but everyone can do them!)
  • Examine the endpapers and match the shoes to the dances you think they might be good for
  • If you live near Stamford, CT, attend the book launch on Saturday, March 7th! http://www.valeriebolling.com/events.html
  • Invent your own dance!
I hope you enjoy this book. Happy reading!

The reviewer was provided with an advance copy of this book. No payment was expected or received in exchange for an honest review. 
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 24, 2020

The Fishing Lesson

Title:  The Fishing Lesson                      


Author: Heinrich Boll

Illustrator: Emile Bravo
Adapted by: Bernard Friot (first published in German in 1963!)
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2018
Intended Ages: 5+
Themes: Ambition, Contentment, Humor

Opening Line(s):
"In a small harbor on the coast, a man in shabby clothes dozes in his tiny fishing boat."
 
Synopsis: This book explores what it means to be contented. What is "enough" in life. A bit deep for the youngest readers, but I believe they will see their busy schedules mirrored in the action.

What I like about this book:

This book works on many levels. What it means to look at another culture from the outside. Tourism etiquette. Even the existential question of what it means to be content. Told in a contemporary graphic format with multiple images per page, the text is still fairly sparse for easy comprehension. A friend who works at my local library shared this book with me. Thanks, Eric! I must admit that I didn't recognize the author's name as a winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1972.

Resources:
  •  Discuss what it means to be ambitious
  • Write a list of goals, then discuss how you will know when you achieve them. For example, if you want to be a singing star--do you need to have a number one hit? If you do, would you continue singing after your song reached number one? What would you sacrifice to achieve your goals? Compare your answers with a family member or classmate.
  • Enjoy your favorite seafood lunch!
  • Read about another country. How would you act differently if you visited there?
I hope you enjoy 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

Thursday, January 23, 2020

This Is Not That Kind of Book




Title:  This is Not That Kind of Book                       


Author: Christopher Healy
Illustrator: Ben Mantle
Publisher: Random House, Oct, 2019
Intended Ages: 3-7
Themes: Humor, Surprises, Friendship

Opening Line(s):
"Once upon a time, a brave little girl set off into the woods with a basket of goodies."
Speech bubbles on the page - Apple: I'm an apple! Girl: Hop in!
 
Synopsis: A fractured fairy tale combining familiar picture book characters such as pirates, detectives and superheroes.
(much of the pleasure of the book is in plot surprises, so I won't spoil it by giving you more)

What I like about this book:
As a special treat this week, this part of the review is provided by some of my #kidsneedmentors class! Real kids who read and enjoyed the book.

By: Londyn (2nd grade) and Kadynce (1st Grade) 
 
This Is Not That Kind of Book," by Christopher Healy is a great story! It is really funny. Everyone will enjoy it because it is not just one kind of book. It is a joke book, an alphabet book, a pirate adventure book, a mystery, a fairy tale, and a super hero story all in one. We have never read another book like this. It is unique because there is more than one story in it. You have to read this book!

Resources:
  •  Because this book has so many familiar characters, you can do an art project with any of them! 
  • Study other fractured fairy tale books. 
  • The book has several twists and turns. Discuss other options/endings for each situation. Maybe you'll write your own story in the process!
  • Brainstorm a different character that could have been in the story.
Enjoy!

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, 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