Posts tagged ‘perfect picture book friday’

October 25, 2013

People

peopleTitle: People
Author & Illustrator: Peter Spier

Publisher: Doubleday, 1980
Book Type: Non-Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Diversity, Population, Individuality

Excerpt:

“People around our world wear different clothes — or none at all.

All of us want to look our best. Still, what is considered beautiful or handsome in one place is considered ugly, and even ridiculous, elsewhere.”

Synopsis:

Celebration of people everywhere around the world, reminding us that we are all unique, different from one another – each deserving respect.

Activities:

There are many, many activities, classroom plans available on-line. I have listed just a few here.

Why I Like This Book:

I loved that my 7 year old poured over the pages of this book for over half an hour, looking at the myriad of detailed illustrations, and most importantly learning about the world’s people. Mr. Spier goes through all sorts of physical and cultural attributes – appearances, clothing, homes, jobs, food, religion – while constantly reminding the reader that what may appear strange to one culture is completely normal to another. As we become a tighter global community, the importance of books like this will continue to grow. This is a must have book for every classroom.

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

October 10, 2013

Miss Maple’s Seeds

Miss Maple's SeedsTitle: Miss Maple’s Seeds
Author & Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler (interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast)

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2013
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Nature, Seeds

Excerpt:

She learns each seed by heart, all similar yet none the same. “Take care, my little ones,” Miss Maple says, “for the world is big and you are small.”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Fans of Miss Rumphius will adore this gorgeous picture book which introduces the kind, nature-loving Miss Maple, who celebrates the miracle in each seed.

Miss Maple gathers lost seeds that haven’t yet found a place to sprout. She takes them on field trips to explore places to grow. In her cozy maple tree house, she nurtures them; keeping them safe and warm until it’s time for them to find roots of their own, and grow into the magnificent plants they’re destined to become.

Eliza Wheeler’s luminous paintings feature gorgeous landscapes, lush foliage and charming details. Her tender story celebrates the potential found in each seed—since even the grandest tree and most brilliant flower had to grow from the smallest of seeds.

Celebrate every season with Miss Maple, from Earth Day to graduations to harvest festivals.

Activities:

  • Activity sheets which include coloring sheets, filling in the missing items for Miss Maple’s house and garden, and a seed fact sheet.
  • Booklist of additional “seed” related books, fiction & non-fiction.
  • Plant something with your kids.

Why I Like This Book:

A magical, timeless book that leaves the reader with a sense of calmness that everything  will be okay and the world is as it should be. There  really is a Mother Nature and she is Miss Maple.

Miss Maple searches for lost seeds and takes them to her home. Where she cleans them up, teaches them about being a seed, reads stories to them, and eventually one day near the end of spring she sends them on their way, so they can find their own roots. Kids will enjoy the whimsicality of the story and the illustrations, such as the seeds taking a bubble bath or being snug in bed. Older readers and adults will appreciate the metaphor of the story, of nurturing, teaching young kids and then having to let them go to discover their own path. The artwork is gorgeous with its pen, ink, and watercolor drawing. Checkout Ms. Wheeler’s portfolio and be amazed.

wheeler_bathtime_2My favorite parts from the book are:

  • Near the end “take care , my little ones, for the world is big and you are small. But never forget …” (I love the next part but I’m not going to spoil it.)
  • “In bustling gardens, seeds must take care to stay clear of weedy characters.” And there is a picture of some creepy weeds.
  • The picture of all the different seeds: pine, water lily, pea, pumpkin, and more.
  • Miss Maple giving the seeds a bath and reading bedtime stories by firefly light.
  • Miss Maple’s teaching the seeds of what they will be doing next summer, traveling by air or water and learning to grow big and strong.

This book is good for storytime. It can also be used in classroom to complement science units about seeds and plants.

wheeler_storiesatnight

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

September 26, 2013

Hank Finds an Egg

Hank Finds an Egg

Title: Hank Finds an Egg
Author & Illustrator: Rebecca Dudley

Publisher: Peter Pauper Press, 2013
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-6
Themes: Kindness, Nature

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

While walking through the woods, Hank finds an egg all alone on the forest floor. Spotting its home high up in a tree, Hank diligently tries to return the egg to its nest, but is met with failure each time. After keeping the egg warm overnight, he returns to the scene the next morning. To his surprise, he is met by another forest creature. Will they find a way together to see the egg safely home?

Artist Rebecca Dudley crafts each tiny leaf, flower, and creature that appears in Hank’s forest in breathtaking detail, bringing the sunlit woods to life. From delicate ferns to the glow of Hank’s little campfire, Hank Finds an Egg immerses you in its vivid miniature world.

In this charming tale, told without words, Hank’s endearing and genuine kindness will inspire readers young and old alike to believe in themselves and the goodness of others.

Activities:

- Have the child “tell” the story for the pictures.
- Discussion questions for students.
- Make a diorama. ocean diorama ideas. forest diorama ideas 

Why I Like This Book:

hankmomA simple tale of kindness brought to life in a wholly original fresh new way. Ms. Dudley’s talents as a diorama artist blended with her photographic skills are a winning combination. I was blown away the first-time, second-time, even the tenth-time I read this story. Her individual panels and full-page shots tell a complete story that need no words. She uses different angle shots and changes her focus on near and faraway objects to bring about the key elements and pacing in the story. One of my favorites is the top-down shot with the nest of eggs in focus and Hank fuzzed out below.

I liked that this was a simple story and easy to follow making it perfect for young tikes to ‘read’. (in case Peter Pauper Press or Ms. Dudley stop by – this story needs to be made into a board book!) Older kids will be amazed at the artistry and the “how did she make it” factor. Personally, I would love to know how she made those hummingbird wings.

This wordless, simple story of kindness with fairy tale like scenery makes me feel happy and hopeful. I love how the innocence of children is portrayed through Hank. I do hope there are more adventures for Hank in the near future. I for one will be anxiously waiting.

This book is good for story-time, lap-time and especially for a child to read on their own.

Interviews:

Learn about Ms. Dudley’s unique writing journey (making dioramas, learning photography, self-publishing) to landing a traditional publishing deal.

The Many Paths to Publication Part 3: An Interview With Rebecca Dudley
Rebecca Dudley Author Interview

Also checkout Ms. Dudley’s website Storywoods to see more stories of Hank and his friends.

A behind the scenes video at how Ms. Dudley creates these amazing dioramas and learn about her source of inspiration.

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

September 12, 2013

Robots, Robots Everywhere!

Robots Title: Robots, Robots Everywhere!

Author: Sue Fliess (listen to her fantastic interview-episode 12 at Part Time Author Podcast)
Illustrator: Bob Staake
Publisher: Golden Books, 2013
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-5
Themes: Robots

Opening Lines:

“On the ground and in the air,
Robots, robots, everywhere!
Up in space, beneath the seas,
Robots make discoveries.”

Synopsis (from Amazon Website):

So begins this rollicking Little Golden Book featuring robots of all kinds, from ones up in space to the ones we use at home. With bold, colorful artwork by award-winner Bob Staake, it’s a perfect introduction to the fascinating subject of today’s real robots!

Activities:

Why I Like This Book:

One of the things I love about picture books is it makes learning so much fun. Who wouldn’t want to look at colorful illustrations with to the point text instead of reading some dry technical article with no pictures. That is exactly what Ms. Fliess has done with this high-energy book. She has made it fun to learn. It looks like a fiction book, but shhhh … it’s really non-fiction. There was a lot of research and most (maybe all) of the robots mentioned are either in-use today or there are prototypes.

Mr. Staake’s whimsical, bold colored illustrations captivate the eye while the rhyming text keeps the reader zipping along (and learning). There are deep-sea robots, vacuum robots, even planting crop robots. The only thing that upset me was there was no bibliography at the end so I could go read more on all these interesting robots. But alas this is a picture book for the little ones, for them it’s perfect. For the older kids (adult kids) go check-out Wikipedia.

Check-out this awesome book trailer, I love the music.

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 Golden Books. This review nevertheless reflects my own and honest opinion about the book.

May 9, 2013

On a Beam of Light

On a Beam of LightTitle: On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
Author: Jennifer Berne
Illustrator: Vladimir Radunsky
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2013
Book Type: Non-Fiction
Ages: 6-9
Themes: Physicists

Opening Lines:

Over 100 years ago, as the stars swirled in the sky, as the Earth circled the sun, as the March winds blew through a little town by a river, a baby boy was born. His parents named him Albert.

Synopsis (from Chronicle website):

A boy rides a bicycle down a dusty road. But in his mind, he envisions himself traveling at a speed beyond imagining, on a beam of light. This brilliant mind will one day offer up some of the most revolutionary ideas ever conceived. From a boy endlessly fascinated by the wonders around him, Albert Einstein ultimately grows into a man of genius recognized the world over for profoundly illuminating our understanding of the universe.

Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky invite the reader to travel along with Einstein on a journey full of curiosity, laughter, and scientific discovery. Parents and children alike will appreciate this moving story of the powerful difference imagination can make in any life.

Activities:

Young Kids:

Discovery Station – Compass and magnet games. Good for preschoolers – 2nd grade.
The Why Files - Einstein’s theories are presented in a simple and straightforward manner. The site includes articles about the speed of light, gravity, black holes, and space-time. Recommended for 4-6th grade students.

For Teens & Adults:

Einstein: Image & Impact – Explores Einstein’s life through historical accounts, photographs and sound clips by the American Institute of Physics.
Einstein Archives Online – Comprehensive information about Einstein’s life. Digitized manuscripts.

Why I Like This Book:

When I first heard of this book, I was like I HAVE to read it. I mean it’s about Einstein!!  Then I was like wait it’s about Einstein … there is so much to cover and a lot of it is theoretical physics. How in the world is the author going to discuss that in a picture book, it seemed like a very daunting task to me. But I had faith since this book was written by one of my favorite authors Jennifer Berne (Manfish, Calvin Can’t Fly). Ms. Berne DELIVERED on writing a book that is informative and captivating and sure to engage scientists young and old.

Kids will be engaged from the beginning when they learn Einstein didn’t talk until he was three, or that he loved to asks questions all the time much to the chagrin of his teachers. Kids will learn that Einstein was always wondering about the world around him, whether it be about a beam of light or how sugar melts in tea. It was this inquisitiveness that propelled Einstein to keep learning and questioning and eventually discovering some of nature’s secrets.

The illustrations are quirky and whimsical, appropriate for describing Einstein and his eccentricities. I particularly enjoyed the spread discussing atoms where the illustrator use “dots” to color in the pictures instead of a solid color. See illustrations from the book at Chronicle’s website.

The endpages contain additional information on Einstein’s theories, personality, and pacifism.

This book can be used in elementary science classrooms.

Check-out these other great reviews.

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.

I have a special treat this time. I have an extra copy of this book that I will be giving away. Leave a comment by May 16th 9pm PST for a chance to win.

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