Archive for ‘Concept’

August 29, 2016


KidsLogoORIGINALFILETitle: Beautiful

Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Publisher: Running Press Kids (September 13, 2016)
Editor: Lisa Cheng
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 3-6
Themes: Identity, Girl Power, Self-Esteem

Opening Line:

“Beautiful girls … have the perfect look.”

Synopsis (from Amazon’s website):

Every girl is unique, talented, and lovable. . . .Every girl is BEAUTIFUL.

Much more than how one looks on the outside, true beauty is found in conquering challenges, showing kindness, and spreading contagious laughter. Beautiful girls are empowered and smart and strong!

BEAUTIFUL breaks barriers by showing girls free to be themselves: splashing in mud, conducting science experiments, and reading books under a flashlight with friends. This book will encourage all girls to embrace who they are and realize their endless potential.

Why I Like Love This Book:

This book takes the sugary, sweet, stereotypical praises and compliments for little girls and turns it on its head in a superb way! This is a must have book for any young child. I think it’s important not only for girls to see who they can be, but also for boys to realize it too.

I love the interplay between text and art. The text contains the typical saying while the art shows a new and smarter interpretation of the words. Take a look at the examples below.



I love the energy, enthusiasm, and contentment of the girls enjoying the activities they are partaking in. This is where their beauty shines.

The large type and big illustrations make it perfect for a group read-aloud. Use the book as a conversation starter on breaking gender roles and asking what is beautiful.

Find Beautiful at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 0762457813
ISBN-13: 978-0762457816

The review is part of the BEAUTIFUL BLOG TOUR. Do check out these other stops over the next two weeks.

8/29 Flowering Minds
8/30 Kids’ Book Review
8/31 My Word Playground
9/1 Stacking Books
9/2 Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books
9/3 MomReadIt
9/5 Enjoy Embrace Learning
9/6 Geo Librarian
9/7 A Foodie Bibliophile
9/8 MamaBelly
9/10 Diapers and Daydreams
9/11 The Late Bloomer’s Book Blog
9/12 Unconventional Librarian

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

August 4, 2015

Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle

Hope your summer has been relaxing and enjoyable. Can’t believe kids’ school starts in less than three weeks. In light of that I will be reviewing fiction and non-fiction books this month that can be used in classrooms. Enjoy!

water_is_water Title: Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle

Author: Miranda Paul (interview)
Illustrator: Jason Chin (interview)
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2015
Book Type: Non-Fiction
Ages: 4-8
Themes: Water Cycle, Seasons, Weather

Opening Lines:

Drip. Sip.
Pour me a cup.
Water is water unless…
it heats up.

Whirl. Swirl.
Watch it curl by.
Steam is steam unless…
it cools high.


Synopsis (from Amazon’s website):

This spare, poetic picture book follows a group of kids as they move through all the different phases of the water cycle. From rain to fog to snow to mist, talented author Miranda Paul and the always remarkable Jason Chin (Redwoods, Coral Reefs, Island, Gravity) combine to create a beautiful and informative journey in this innovative nonfiction picture book that will leave you thirsty for more.



  • The Classroom Bookshelf – Lessons on written responses, visual narratives, finding rhymes, the hydrologic cycle, drama, and more are available for grades PreK-5.
  • Sally’s Bookshelf – Questions and Water Mapping activity for kids / STEM Friday


Why I Like It:

I love this book for oh so many reasons. This is a MUST HAVE for any home or school library. I predict this book will become a mainstay. Here are my reasons why.
– It’s creative non-fiction book about the water cycle!!
– And it’s in rhyme with great page-turns. Picture book writers pay attention, the “unless …” is a great cliff-hanger to get the reader to turn the page.
– The watercolor and gouche illustrations are gorgeous and beautifully capture the wholesome and simplicity of kids playing outdoors. (see more inside pages here) The art reminds me of growing up in rural Pennsylvania. I can almost smell the fresh air of spring or the icy chill of winter as I look at the illustrations.
– Aurally pleasing rhyme with kid engaging visuals – a perfect combination to enrapture young minds.
– Extensive backmatter to complement lesson plans on the water cycle.


Find WATER IS WATER at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound | Goodreads
ISBN-10: 159643984X
ISBN-13: 978-1609055301

Disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher Roaring Brook Press. This review nevertheless reflects my own honest opinion about the book.

December 7, 2014

One Big Pair of Underwear

onebigunderwearTitle: One Big Pair of Underwear

Author: Laura Gehl
Illustrator: Tom Lichtenheld
Publisher: Beach Lane Books, 2014
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 3-6
Themes: Counting, Sharing

Opening Lines:

ONE big pair of underwear.
TWO brown bears who hate to share.
ONE bear wears the underwear.
ONE bear cries, “That isn’t fair!”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

What’s one thing that two bears, three yaks, four goats, and six cats have in common?
They hate to share.
But look out—here comes a pack of twenty pigs ready to prove that sharing makes everything twice as fun!


– Kindergarten Common Core Curriculum Guides for Math and English Arts.
– Printable activity sheets

Why I Like This Book:

Let me ask what is NOT to love about this book … Nothing.

  • I love that this is more than just a counting book from 1-10. It is has an underlying theme of sharing!
  • I love the front cover definitely an eye-catcher.
  • I love all the silliness: big underwear, cooking hippos, pigs on a slide, etc.
  • I love the use of poetic devices to create engaging and sometimes tongue-tied text.
  • I love the colorful, engaging, humorous illustrations of Tom Lichtenheld. The art was rendered in pencil and digitally colored.

This is a great book to use in any preschool classroom, storytime, for lap-reading.

Check-out Laura Gehl’s guest post on writing with kids!

Picture Book Analysis:

It’s been a while since I have done an analysis, but this is a great book to apply some of the tools I recently learned from the Pacing Picture Books to WOW class and the Lyrical Language Lab.


Spread 2


Spread 3


  • WORDS: The title of “One Big Pair of Underwear” is a memorable catchphrase. Definitely a ‘hook’.
  • REPETITIVE STRUCTURE:The first ten spreads have a repetitive structure that acts as a pacing marker.
    • Line 1 – Introduce number ‘N’ and desired objects
    • Line 2 – Animals (N+1)
    • Line 3 – ‘N’ Animals get the desired object
    • <page turn>
    • Line 4 – Reaction of the extra animal that didn’t get the desired object
  • PAGE TURN: Due to the repetitive structure above the reader KNOWS there is going to be some silly sad animal after each page turn.
  • WHITE SPACE: When showing the sad animal, it is just the one animal in that illustration which really makes the reader ‘feel’ the animal’s loneliness in being left out.
  • POETIC DEVICES: Rhyme, Alliteration, Assonance, Consonance. While this isn’t a ‘rhyming’ book (doesn’t have consistent meter) it does make use of end rhyme.
    • Rhyme – yaks.. snacks.. packs, seals .. wheels
    • Alliteration – young yaks, small sacks .. salty snacks
    • Assonance – black backpacks
    • Consonance – seals steal
November 16, 2012

Tons of Trucks

Title: Tons of Trucks

Author: Sue Fliess
Illustrator: Betsy Snyder

Publisher: HMH Books, 2012
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: Birth – 4
Themes: Trucks, Rhyming, Interactive

Opening Lines:

“Tons osf trucks before our eyes, in every color shape and size.

Big trucks, strong trucks, scoop and dig trucks.”

Synopsis (from Amazon website):

Big trucks, small trucks, dump trucks, tow trucks, and all kinds of other trucks can be found in this playful touch-and-move book. A backhoe scoops and digs, a cement truck spins, a tar truck oozes sticky tar, and tabs pull up and out to reveal surprises. The trucks eventually slow down for a rest, where little hands can lift the flaps to see animals snuggling up for sleepy-time—under a rising moon. Filled with vibrant art and adorable characters, this book gives a child everything he’s looking for when he presses his face against the fence at a construction site!


Read more truck books, sing truck songs, or do truck crafts! (see this awesome post by Playing by the Book)

More links for truck crafts, printables (coloring sheets, mazes, word puzzles), and Pinterest boards on Cars & Trucks and Transportation.

Why I Like This Book:

Colorful, engaging concept book about trucks which have cute animals too. I fell in love with this book right away. The rhyming text has a good cadence, and the illustrations are just gorgeous. I love the way the colors just pop and the animals have a roundness to them making them appear child-like. The best part is the interactive aspect. The reader gets to pull, push, spin, swing, and lift as they explore all the different trucks. A unique aspect of the book design is that in some of the “lift” or “slide” parts, you don’t just see the rest of the truck but also the characters doing something fun or silly. Good feature which increases the re-readability and play-ability. Each spread shows the trucks at work. The final spread is a bedtime scene with parked trucks under a full moon. Lift the flaps to see how the animals are getting ready for bed.

Perfect holiday gift for any toddler, girl or boy!

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

September 13, 2012

Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch

Title: Piggies in the Pumpkin Patch

Authors: Mary Peterson and Jennifer Rofe
Illustrator: Mary Peterson

Publisher: Charlesbridge, 2010
Book Type: Fiction
Ages: 2-5
Themes: Concept-Prepositions, Farm Animals

Opening Lines:

Piggies in the pumpkin patch
peak and sneak,
under crinkly clean sheets,
over growing, green beans
behind snoring, sleepy sheep,
into the clover field.

Synopsis (from Charlesbridge website):

Two little piggies run amok on the farm, as they travel from the pumpkin patch, through the garden, into the black bull’s pen, and back to mama pig in time for a nap. The piggies’ antics introduce young readers to prepositions of direction. Alliteration, assonance, and rhyme in each of the three stanzas make for a great read-aloud.


Why I Like This Book:

A simple, short jam-packed story with action words like sneak, peek, crash, dash and a slew of prepositions. But it is not boring, no way, these little piggies are off on a chase which leads them into trouble.

This concept book has the perfect combination of story and education value. Kids will be engaged with the story of the chase wondering where the piggies will end up next, while adults will appreciate the vocabulary building aspects of the book. The text is short and descriptive; one of those books where each word is pitch-perfect.

The illustrations are colorful and the animals have a cute roundness to them. The layout of the text was creatively interspersed within the images. For example the text “between teasing tabby cats” splits the group of animals in half, or the text “along winding wagon tracks” is actually printed out along the curve of the wagon tracks. The endpapers contain a map of the piggies chase around the farm.

This book is sure to delight young readers and can be used for storytime or in classrooms to teach prepositions.

Check out the book trailer below.

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

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