Posts tagged ‘perfect picture book friday’

October 8, 2014

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

samdavedighole

Title: Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2014
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Friendship, Irony

Opening Lines:

On Monday Sam and Dave dug a hole.

“When should we stop digging?” asked Sam.
“We are on a mission,” said Dave.
“We won’t stop digging until we find something spectacular.”

Synopsis (from Amazon’s website):

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

Activities:

  •  Check-out the Story-Hour Kit from Candlewick. Contains a game idea that will have kids on their feet, discussion questions and a drawing exercise. Pages 4, 11, & 12.
  • Learn about the layers of the Earth at Easy Science for Kids.
  • Questions: Discuss what would be the challenges of actually trying to dig a deep hole like Sam & Dave. What would happen if you could dig through the earth?

Why I Like This Book:

The duo that brought us Extra Yarn (one of my all-time favorites) are back with a charming story about two boys on a mission to find something spectacular. They dig and dig and then dig some more but are always missing that something “spectacular”, though the dog always seems to have a sixth sense about it. This visual irony is the gem of the book and is what kids will find most appealing. My 6yr old was talking back to the book saying “it’s right there!” I enjoyed how Mr. Barnett has captured the authenticity of young children so accurately from just the idea of let’s dig for treasure, to the back-n-forth dialogue that fills the book, to being happy with chocolate milk and animal cookies. The only area that the creators may have missed the boat is in the cryptic spectacular ending; was it the falling from the sky, spending a day digging with your best friend, or something else. Would love to hear your thoughts on this. (Check-out this interesting post by Travis Jonkers at 100 Scope note about 6 theories on the ending)

The subdued colors and dead-panned expressions, classic Klassen, complement Barnett’s wry humor and together work beautifully to convey the visual irony. Do take notice of the beginning and ending scenes.

 

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher Candlewick Press. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

September 19, 2014

Hooray for Hat!

hoorayforhatTitle: Hooray for Hat!
Author & Illustrator: Brian Won

Publisher: HMH Books, 2014
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-6
Themes: Friendship, Kindness

Excerpt:

It was hard to stay grumpy now.
“HOORAY FOR HAT!”
Elephant cheered. “I will show Zebra!”

 Synopsis:

Elephant wakes up grumpy—until ding, dong! What’s in the surprise box at the front door? A hat! HOORAY FOR HAT! Elephant marches off to show Zebra, but Zebra is having a grumpy day, too—until Elephant shares his new hat and cheers up his friend. Off they march to show Turtle! The parade continues as every animal brightens the day of a grumpy friend. An irresistible celebration of friendship, sharing, and fabulous hats.

Activities:

  • Have a Hat Parade! Download and print this colorful activity kit with hats from the book!
  • Have kids Read and Act out the story. This tale is laid out well for Reader’s Theater.
  • Have kids do a Random Act of Kindness. Here is a link to my past blog post to get some ideas.

Why I Love This Book:

I love, love, love this book! It is perfect for story time and preschools, but will certainly bring a smile to anyone that reads it.

  • I love the simplicity of the story, that can be summarized with three keywords, grumpy – hat – friends.
  • I love that sheer joy and innocence in the characters, that represents young kids so well.
  • I love the repetitious lines “GO AWAY! I’M GRUMPY!” and “HOORAY FOR HAT!” that help to provide a strong story structure.
  • I love the bright, colorful illustrations and the use of white space to make the art eye-grabbing. Also the use of colored letters for HOORAY throughout the story.
  • But most of all I love that it teaches kindness and sharing.

Enjoy this adorable trailer:

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

September 12, 2014

Flora and the Penguin plus a Giveaway!

florapenguinTitle: Flora and the Penguin
Author & Illustrator: Molly Idle (interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast)

Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2014
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-6
Themes: Friendship

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Having mastered ballet in Flora and the Flamingo, Flora takes to the ice and forms an unexpected friendship with a penguin. Twirling, leaping, spinning, and gliding, on skates and flippers, the duo mirror each other’s graceful dance above and below the ice. But when Flora gives the penguin the cold shoulder, the pair must figure out a way to work together for uplifting results. Artist Molly Idle creates an innovative, wordless picture book with clever flaps that reveal Flora and the penguin coming together, spiraling apart, and coming back together as only true friends do.

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:

A year ago I was amazed with Ms. Idle’s book Flora and the Flamingo, a beautifully crafted visual tale about making friends involving a girl, a flamingo, and ballet. Ms. Idle’s latest book in the series is just as gorgeous, this time through ice-dancing and a penguin friend, while exploring a different aspect of friendship. “What happens when two friends want different things?”

Flora and penguin glide, twirl, and pirouette on the ice as any great ice-dancing duo. But Flora is left befuddled during her sit-spin when penguin abandons her to leap down into the ice hole after a fish. Could it be just that the two friends aren’t on the same wavelength, for Penguin returns offering her a gift, a fish. Flora behaves much in the way any child does when they get something they don’t want (my girls certainly behave this way), she simply tosses it away. How will the duo find their way back, well you’ll have to read it to find out.

Ms. Idle has created a story arc about the natural, undulating waves in friendship. The subdued color palette of white, yellows, and pale blues lends a soft, innocence touch to the story. The flaps move from right-left allowing the characters to glide back and forth across the page. I love how moving the flaps reveal a new emotions or actions to move the story forward. Do take notice of the fish swimming in the opening scenes and how they mirror the skating movements above.

fp_glide1

fp_glide2

Flora and Penguin is a charming tale and a great addition to the series.

I have a special treat this time. I have an extra copy of the book that I will be giving away (yes, before the release date!!). Leave a comment stating what animal you would like Flora to be friends with and what activity they would do together. Deadline to enter is September 19th 9pm PST.

Be sure to check-out Ms. Idle’s interview on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, to get a behind the scenes look at her thought process into making this book. Also find out about the next book in this series!

Enjoy the delightful trailer.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher Chronicle Books. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

February 13, 2014

Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears

Goldi Rocks and the Three BearsTitle: Goldi Rocks and the Three Bears

Author: Corey Rosen Schwartz and Beth Coulton
Illustrator: Nate Wragg
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’ Sons, 2014
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Fractured Fairy Tale, Music

Opening Lines:
“Once upon a rock-and roll time,
three bears in a band jammed with ease.
The Papa Bear drummed,
the Mama Bear strummed,
and Baby bear ticked the keys.”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear know how to rock! But they need a new singer, so they audition everyone—the Three Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, and more. To their dismay, no one seems just right. Could the perfect lead singer be the mysterious girl sleeping on Baby Bear’s keyboard?

Activities:

Have kids make their own musical instruments, guitar, bells and drums, and more. Then have a jam session.
Lesson plan on writing fractured fairy tales for 3rd-5th grades.

Why I Like This Book:

Goldilocks and the Three Bears has to be the most popular story to do a fractured fairy tale. I’m not sure why but this rhyming version by Ms. Schwartz rockets to the top of the charts for sheer originality and fun. The rhythm and pop feel of this rendition will engage today’s kids and their American Idol watching parents. This book is a pure read-aloud joy that is enhanced by the colorful pencil and digital illustrations.

gold_tryouts

Picture Book Writers: Check-out this wonderful post by Ms. Schwartz at the Writerly Wisdom blog where she discusses Rhyme and Meter in Goldi rock style!

One lucky winner will receive their choice of a signed copy of this book OR a free picture book critique from Ms. Schwartz. In the comments answer “What favorite pop song do you like to sing or bee-bop too?” Deadline to enter is February 20th 9pm PST.

My favorite song to rock out on these days is “Safe and Sound” by Capital Cities.

This review is part of Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book series. Visit her site to see the other books recommended.

Disclosure: I received a F&G (fold and gather, not bound) copy of this story from the author. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

January 23, 2014

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac (Multicultural Children’s Book Day)

The Great Race, Story Chinese ZodiacTitle: The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Author: Dawn Casey
Illustrator: Anne Wilson
Publisher: Barefoot Books, 2006
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 5-8
Themes: Folktale, Chinese Culture

Opening Lines:
“Many moons ago, the people of China had no calendar. With no way to measure time, nobody could tell one year from the next.

Synopsis (from Barefoot Books website):

Race with the animals of the Zodiac as they compete to have the years of the Chinese calendar named after them. The excitement-filled story is followed by notes on the Chinese calendar, important Chinese holidays, and a chart outlining the animal signs based on birth years.

Activities:

There are tons of Chinese Zodiac and New Year’s activities on the Internet. Below is just a sampling.

Snake Mobile Craft
Chinese New Year’s Activities for Kids – Pinterest Board
Chinese New Year Lesson Plans, Printables, and Crafts
More Chinese New Year Printables – puzzles, word searches, coloring sheets.

Why I Like This Book:

A simple, colorful re-telling of the origin of the Chinese zodiac and why cats hate rats.

The Jade Emperor decided to name each of the 12 years after an animal. To decide the order he announced The Great Race, the order in which the animals finished would determine the order of the calendar. Cat and Rat were best friends and also the smallest animals in the race. Clever Rat got them a ride on Ox. However, over-ambitious Rat pushed his friend Cat in the water and later ran-ahead of Ox to win. Cat never gets over the betrayal and this is why cats hate rats.

The text and artwork do a great job of engaging young readers. The artwork is done with paper collages and acrylics which works well in keeping the artwork simple, colorful, and childlike. The back matter contains information on Chinese festivals and more characteristics about the twelve animals and the people born in those years.

GreatRace_HC3

(Click to see a larger picture)

As a picture book writer, I know every word has to be carefully chosen to convey the right meaning and tone. For this reason I was somewhat bothered by the line below, which follows the scenes of Rat consciously pushing his friend cat into the water and running ahead of Ox to win the race.

“Rat may be small but he is also smart!” the Jade Emperor laughed.

I do realize the author can’t deviate from the original story, however it’s the subtext (probably unintentional) that it was okay for the rat to be mean and sneaky that bothered me. Maybe if the cat gave chase to the rat at the end I would have felt a little better.

Regardless of my pet peeve I do think this is a lovely book and is still good for introducing kids to the Chinese zodiac. Perfect timing with the Chinese New Year coming up.

This is review is a part of Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF) and Multicultural Children’s Book Day! To see additional PPBF recommended books please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book.

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I am very excited  to be a book reviewer participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature on January 27th, 2014Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump into a Book have organized this event to raise awareness for children’s books that celebrate diversity and to get those books into more classrooms and libraries so more little eyes can see them. Proudly sponsored by Lee & Low Books, Wisdom Tales Press, Chronicle Books, and author Susan Fayad.

Why is Multicultural Children’s Book Day so important?

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.

More than 60 bloggers are joining together to share books and ideas to celebrate Multicultural Children’s Book Day.  Please join us on January 27, 2014 for book reviews and multicultural activities.

Visit our collaborative Pinterest board, Multicultural Books for Kids, to see more great books and check out all of these amazing blogs participating in the event!

2GirlsLostInaBook · 365 Days of Motherhood · A Bilingual Baby · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica ·  Books My Kids Read · Bottom Shelf Books · Cats Eat Dogs · Chasing The Donkey · Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac · Children’s Books Heal · Church o Books · CitizenBeta · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes · Early Words · Flowering Minds · Franticmommy · Gathering Books · GEO Librarian · Gladys Barbieri · Going in Circles · Growing Book by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom ·Just Children’s BooksKid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews · Mrs AOk · MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter · Ms. Yingling Reads · Multicultural Kids Blog · One Sweet World · Open Wide The World · P is for Preschooler · Rapenzel Dreams · School4Boys · Sharon the Librarian · Spanish Playground · Sprout’s Bookshelf · Squishable Baby · Stanley and Katrina · Teach Mama · The Art of Home Education · The Brain Lair · The Educators’ Spin On It · The Family-Ship Experience · The Yellow Door Paperie · This Kid Reviews Books  · Trishap’s Books · Unconventional Librarian · Vicki Arnold · We3Three · World for Learning · Wrapped in Foil 

Disclosure: I received my copy of this book from the publisher Barefoot Books. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

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