Friday, April 22, 2016


   As a writer, you probably hear the phrase "take an old theme and make it new." I know I hear it. And this book is a perfect example. As a parent, teacher, reader, you just want a fun book with re-readability. Check!

Title: The Perfect Dog                               

Author/Illustrator: Kevin O'Malley
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers, May 31, 2016
Intended Ages: 3-7
Themes: Dogs, Grammar
Synopsis: Using comparatives and superlatives, a young girl imagines the qualities she'd like in the perfect dog, and then her family heads to find the perfect match.
Opening line(s): "My parents said we could get a dog. And I know the perfect dog . . . ."
What I like about this book: If there is a dog on the cover, I want to read it. I'm a dog-lover. Okay, a HUGE dog-lover. So the Brady Bunch type cover brought a smile to my face. It's a big doggie world out there! The endpapers carry that theme forward with two dozen thumbnail sketches of various dog breeds. I personally wish the Pit Bull had been given a "full" sketch, and wondered where the All-American mutt was, but understand that this is a story, not an encyclopedia of the dog world. It's great to see the pet picking process explored in a thoughtful manner. I believe readers will be left feeling that this is going to be a happy life-long match.
     Dog breeds are a fun way to learn comparatives and superlatives! Grammar and fun are not exclusive! Do you want a big dog? Bigger? Biggest? The words, the dogs--and even the font itself reinforces the curriculum concepts. The illustrations support the text so this book could transition quickly from read-aloud to read-alone. And the ending brings the main character into the real world where serendipity trumps the best laid plans.
     I'm not an artist so the technique escapes me, but the characters pop off the background. Perhaps it's the black outlining? Taking a closer look I wondered if it is a shadow or leggings that seem to move/disappear on the first spreads? And a beret changes color in the final ones. Of course, these may be modified in the final bound copy.
No dog in this spread, but lots of fun!


Make a list of attributes your perfect pet would have. Is it a dog, or something else?

Make a game of finding objects in your home and have someone else guess how they link together. Is it big, bigger, biggest? Funny, funnier, funniest? Purple, purpler, purplest? 

Learn everything you can about one dog breed. 

Make homemade dog biscuits and take them to share at your local shelter. Nope, there is nothing about feeding dogs in the book, I just think any excuse to have kids helping shelter animals is justified! (be sure to use a recipe from a trusted source--dogs shouldn't eat some people foods)

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

Note: My review is based on a Folded and Gathered review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thanks for stopping by! I love to know what you think of my selections.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Two titles next week!

     Sorry, there's no post today. My perfect picture book Friday posts will double up next week. I'm just back from a wonderful workshop. (more about that later!)
     Bonus brownie points to #kidlit writers who know where I went just by looking at this photo. :)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Where's the BABOON? #PPBF

     Hold onto your seats. I usually gravitate toward story-driven books, so this choice is an unusual one for me. Except that I loved the last book from this team, too. Seeing a pattern for this duo . . .

Title: Where's the Baboon?                                

Author: Michael Escoffier (click on the British flag
to see the book list in English! Author is French)
Illustrator: Kris Di Giacomo
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books, 2015
Intended Ages: 4-8
Themes: Word games, Clues, Animals
Synopsis: The answers to a series of questions about the illustrations is hidden in the wording of the questions themselves.
Opening line(s): Let's go search for hidden words! Who is the headmaster?"
What I like about this book:  The illustrations in this book are tremendously fun, yet simple enough that children just learning to decode letters as well as early readers can figure out the answers to each question. The "clue" word uses red and black lettering, with the "important" letters in red, and in order. No scrambling required. Ex. headmaster
The first one, in my opinion, is the hardest since kids this age in the United States are probably more familiar with the terms principal and teacher and may not know what a headmaster does, nor recognize the small bell-ringing creature as a hamster. But cows, apes, etc are easy game!
The illustrations look like they were painted on brown craft paper, adding texture and mottled color variations. Two thumbs up!


Practice more wordplay! Googling wordplay for kids or preschoolers brings up a host of possibilities. I especially liked the series at that lets you pick easy and hard settings.

Scholastic has a good article about making up your own word games.

Visit the Zoo and try to find hidden words in each animal's name!

Are their hidden words in your own name? (you might need to scramble the letters!)

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
Thanks for stopping by! Is this book new to you?