Friday, June 8, 2018

This Story Is For You by Greg Pizzoli #PPBF Review

2018 Picture Book Recommendations - Perfect Picture Book Friday

This Story Is For You by Greg Pizzoli

If you're expecting another quick read like Number One Sam, slow down and take your time with this next book. Greg Pizzoli's illustrative style remains, but the story here is a subtle meditation that deserves a contemplative visit.

Title: This Story Is For You
Author/Illustrator: Greg Pizzoli
Publisher: Disney Hyperion, April 2018
Intended Ages: 3-5 (I would peg it slightly older)
Themes: Friendship, Separation

Opening Line: "This story is for you. You and only you."

Synopsis: A celebration of friendship, noting that distance is no obstacle once friendships are formed.

What I like about this book: Despite the simple text and illustrations, this is't a simple story. In fact it isn't a story at all but more of a journey through many moments of possibility. Discussion of the book post-read or a "pre-reading" of the pictures may help younger readers comprehension.
     Our family moved a lot when our children were younger and this story of enduring connections and friendship is one I would have shared with them, and the friends they were leaving behind.
     Note that the book is 48 pages, longer than most picture books, but with the spare text it doesn't read long. It's a great end of the school year read when some kids may not be returning to the same school the following year.

Resources and Activities:

  • Draw a picture for a friend. Maybe you can even draw a picture of them like the characters did in this story (the simple body, stick arms and legs) 
  • Make a list of the ways you and a friend are the same.
  • Make a list of the ways you and a friend are different.
  • Make the lists above with another friend--did the lists change?
  • If you have a friend that lives farther away, can you think of a way to connect with them? Send a snail mail letter/picture/photo, call them on the phone, email of Skype/Facetime/what's app (with a parents help!) or even plan a visit!
  • Find a dark place and make shadow puppets with a friend (maybe a grownup can hold the flashlight). Giggling together is one of the best ways to make friendship connections. :)


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 review copy received 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.”

Thursday, May 10, 2018

drawn together by Minh Le #PPBF Review

2018 Recommendations-- Perfect Picture Book Friday


drawn together by Minh Le

The pace of technological inventions creates a generational divide for everyone, even if there isn't a language barrier. If children are lucky enough to have living grandparents, and to live close enough to see them, it's heart-breaking to think that anything else could stand in the way of a relationship between them. Today's rec is a sparse text with gorgeous illustrations that spoke to me on several levels. This book releases next month but is available for pre-order now.


Title
: drawn together                          
Author: Minh Le
IllustratorDan Santat
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion, June 5, 2018
Intended Ages: 4-6 (note: theme/art for all ages)
Themes: Grandparents, Art, Communication

Opening Line: "So . . .what's new, Grandpa?"  Note: this line of text comes after multiple wordless spreads that set the mood and scene.
Synopsis: Spare text married with a mix of graphic novel style panels and traditional picture book spreads explores the emotional distance a young boy feels when his mom drops him off to visit his Grandpa. Although family, the young boy and Grandpa don't speak the same language--or do they . . .?

What I like about this book: While the story uses multicultural multi-generational characters, the message about building bridges of communication applies to all people of all ages. Silence may be golden for some, but often it's a painful reminder that we don't know what to say. I'm a huge fan of double entendre titles, and this one doesn't disappoint.
     The illustrations carry much of the story in sly glances, frowns and smiles, making clear that neither character is comfortable in the situation. Cultural and language barriers divide them. Yet by finding a common passion, two people gain a new understanding and appreciation for each other. The use of color and chaotic complex illustrations bring the flood of emotions to life. Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat does not disappoint! I think I like this one better than Beekle (and that's saying a lot!) I was reminded of the scenes from the movies The Matrix and Lucy where everything whirls and falls into place. 
     Note: the cover actually gives away the story ending, but I didn't notice it on my first reading, so don't look too hard at it! And if you're wondering what Grandpa is saying, there is a "translation" on the title page. I didn't see that in my first reading either, and it didn't matter. This book is one that can seriously be described as breath-taking and one that invites readers to revisit it again.

Resources/Activities

  • Brainstorm ways to communicate without using words.  If you have never played charades before, give it a try!
  • Pick one subject and then draw pictures together as a family. Do the pictures all look the same? Why or why not?
  • Do something nice for someone you don't usually talk to. Does your kind action start a conversation?
  • Get out crayons, markers, pencils, collage materials or whatever different types of art supplies are available and color in the same picture (or if you don't have the same picture printed off to color in, make a similar picture with each medium). Which do you like best?
  • Try eating food from a different culture than what you're accustomed to.
  • Call/visit your grandparents and give them a hug. Talk about what you have in common. If you don't have grandparents available, ask anyone you want to know better to participate.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy my selection this week.  I'd love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments!
Note: May 23, 2018 Cynthia Leitich Smith has an interview with Minh Le about this wonderful book

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 review copy received 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.”

Part-time Mermaid by Deborah Underwood #PPBF Review

2018 Recommendations-- Perfect Picture Book Friday

Part-time Mermaid by Deborah Underwood

Like many writers, I'm a daydreamer. It's almost part of my job description! And the book rec today is a great "what if" for  kids.

Part-time MermaidTitle: Part-Time Mermaid                            
Author: Deborah Underwood
Illustrator: Cambria Evans
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion, March, 2018
Intended Ages: 3-5 
Themes: Bedtime, Imagination, Siblings

Opening Line: "During the day, I am a regular girl."
Synopsis: At bedtime, a girl imagines she is a daring mermaid, and her younger brother a merboy--and they awaken with wet hair!

What I like about this book: Okay--this isn't very "deep" as reasons go (but there's a sea pun already!) --I love the sparkly cover! If I was going to be a mermaid, I'd pick the shimmery pink tail, too.
     The story has a Clark Kent/Superman feel to it as a mild-mannered girl by day transforms into a brave mermaid at night. With cleaner shrimp for my bedroom and the gumption to stand up to the sea witch I can picture myself in this deep sea world.
      I also love the second layer to the plot, the sibling element of the story, as the MC's pesky younger brother during the daytime becomes her partner after visiting this imaginary world where humans (in her dream world) are nonplussed by mermaids and octopuses and turtles eat strawberry ice cream!


Resources/Activities

  • Deborah and Cambria combined on a partner title--Part-time Princess. Read both books and talk about which character you would like to be, and why
  • Come up with other "part-time" jobs you would like to have
  • If you were a superhero, who would be your sidekick?
  • Draw a picture of your favorite sea creature
  • I love the jellyfish lunch by Deirdre at http://jdaniel4smom.com/2013/05/lunch-for-kids-jellyfish-for-lunch.html ! Getting hungry . . .
  • Go swimming and practice your mermaid/merboy moves

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoy my selection this week.  I'd love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments!

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 review copy received 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.”