“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

I had another book lined up for this week.  But after watching the news with the unexpected heavy snow falls in the USA and hoping friends are keeping safe and warm, I thought this gorgeously illustrated one was more in keeping with the theme.

The Little Eskimo Book  Little Eskimo

Written by: Davide Call

Illustrated by: Maurizio A C Quarella

Published by: Wilkins Fargo Pty 1st October 2013

Age: 4 – 7 years

Theme: knowing ones identity, seeking the future, inquisitive

Opening Lines: The Little Eskimo wanted to know two things: he wanted to know if he would be a great hunter when he grew up, and also what was on the other side of the Great Ice Lake.

Synopsis: The little Eskimo sets out on a quest to find the answers to his questions but none of the arctic animals can help him. Finally, a whale takes the brave little boy to an island in the middle of the lake to the one creature who knows all.

Why I like this: This is a beautiful story, though a little dark. It reminds me of the saying “curiosity killed the cat, satisfaction brought it back.”   The little Eskimo boy is so determined to find answers to his questions. However things are not quite what we expected. Even I was surprised at the ending of this one. I loved Maurizio’s illustrations with the cute little Eskimo and such expression in his eyes. The scenery in blues gives that icy feel.

Resources/Findings: Here is some Teachers notes on the Wilkins farrago website. http://www.wilkinsfarago.com.au/PDFs/Eskimo_teachers_notes.pdf

And if you have snow, now’s a good time to go out and make a snowman or join in a some snow fun.

I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.

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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

TITANICAT

BOOK  TitanicatWritten by: Marty Crisp

Illustrated by: Robert Papp

Published by: Sleeping Bear Press 2008

Ages:   6 and up

Theme: Instinct, superstition, heart

Opening Lines: Every time Jim glanced to the side, there was the cat, flashing the tip of her tortoiseshell tail at him, all the way to the shipyard. Some claimed a tortoiseshell cat could see the future. Jim, himself, believed only that cats were lucky. His Da worked in the Belfast shipyard, so Jim knew all the lore about ships and their cats.

Synopsis: from Amazon – Young Jim Mulholland can’t believe his good luck: He has signed on as a cabin boy to the world’s finest ocean liner, the Titanic, and can’t wait for the history-making voyage across the sea to America. As part of his duties Jim is in charge of the ship’s cat, a beautiful tortoiseshell that also appears happy to be on board. He calls the cat by the ship’s construction number, 4-0-1, certain that she will bring him good luck. And he’s delighted when 4-0-1 shortly gives birth to a litter of kittens. But once the ship’s trial runs are completed and it’s ready to launch to sea, Jim notices that 4-0-1 is nowhere to be found. He’s got to find her-the Titanic can’t cast off without her lucky cat. Jim is faced with a decision that will affect the rest of his life

Why I like this: I am totally surprised this one isn’t on the PPBF list. With such a rich story and out-of-this-world gorgeous illustrations and captive title, made this a must read for me. We all know the story of the famous maiden voyage that ended in disaster for the luxurious ship known as the Titanic. It was April 15, 1912 when it sank and there have been many unsolved mysteries that sank with her. With its discovery at the bottom of the ocean, stories have appeared giving insight into how people came to be on the ship, how lives were depicted back then, superstitions, miracles, and more mysteries about what happened having come to light. This story is one of them… An opening page spread introduces us to the Titanic, over page the story begins as above. Kids will love this heartfelt story, its history, and educational use. In the authors’ note we learn that there was a young Irishman who looked after the ships cat during its training run, and then decided to leave taking the cat and her kittens just before the ship set sail. The illustrations by Robert are soft and delicate with bright hues giving such depth and realism, that I just wanted to pick up a kitten and cuddle it.

Resources/Findings: This book is educational in itself with the authors footnote and has added links she used in her research. An award-winning author she has also written White Star a book about a dog on the Titanic, also interviewing the families of the Titanic survivors.

A teachers aid:   http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Titanic-Titanicat-by-Marty-Crisp-1169504

A PDF printout for teachers : http://museumvictoria.com.au/pages/15649/titanic_us-kit_student-activities.pdf

And another:   http://www.theteachersguide.com/Titanic.html

Another teachers aid:   http://heatherpearmansequencedocuments.blogspot.co.nz/p/reading-lesson-plans.html

http://suzyred.com/2010_titanic.html

Marty’s website:   http://www.martycrisp.com/books.html

View some of Roberts’ beautiful artwork and go aww… like I did here… http://www.robertpapp.com/

I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.

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Kiwi SCBWI Workshop 201

Spring is a lovely time of year, don’t you agree?

On a sunny spring day last weekend I attended the Kiwi SCBWI Picture Books 201 workshop headed by award-winning author and illustrator, Sally Sutton and Nina Rycroft. After attending last year’s SCBWI workshop 101 having had such fun, I had no intention of missing this one. I was not disappointed!

Geared at editing, Sally had us slashing prose and reworking rhymes. Boy, this was no mean feat for someone who shires away from rhyming text, I can tell you! Sally also provided us with checklists for both prose and rhyming text as well as a storyboard to work with. It was interesting hearing about changes one has to be aware of should you choose publishing internationally.  Even in one of her books sounds such as ‘ping’  ‘ring’ etc had to be changed as they sounded like tin (something sharp) and therefore considered unsafe for kids. Interesting also to hear of what we considered as perfect rhyming words were changed for international publishing due to different dialect in, say, USA and Canada.  I loved seeing how one of her stories changed, from its original draft to the finished product. From the title, to the changed words, sentences, dialogue, deleting and rewriting. I always come away with new thoughts on how I can improve my own work.  Check out her lovely website.

IMG_5666

Nina took over with displays of her wonderful, colourful illustrations. Explaining the process from idea and interpretation of a text to pencilled drawing, from thumbnail to A3 watercolours. Nina has illustrated a number of award-winning books and also is author and illustrator of the richly produced Ballroom Bonanza. Look at this and her other illustrations here, they are such a delight. As you see in the picture above Nina happily guided us through a number of drawings with such ease. I so enjoyed this as I loved drawing at school as a kid.  Below was my attempt.  I so hope they have another workshop next year!

IMG_5668

 

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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

MILO and The Magical Stones

Book   Milo and the Magical StonesWritten/Illustrated by: Marcus Pfister

Translated by: Marianne Martens

Published by: North-South Books Inc

Ages:   3 – 8 years

Theme: gratitude, consequences, environmental

Opening Lines:   In the middle of the sea there was an island, and on this island lived Milo and the other cliff mice. They loved their island. It provided them with food and shelter and protection from the rough storms that pounded waves against the cliffs.

Synopsis: From back of book – On a small island in the middle of the sea, a mouse named Milo makes an extraordinary discovery – a magical stone that gives both light and warmth.

How will this discovery change the lives of Milo and the other mice? Will it bring delight or environmental disaster? The reader must decide. Halfway through the story, the book splits into two sections, each offering a different ending.

Why I like this: Well it’s different, plain and simple. While it has the most cutiest cover, the story inside cleverly allows the reader to decide how it should end.   Half way through the pages are purposely split in two with the top pages stating ‘The Happy Ending’ the bottom state ‘The Sad Ending,’ it’s your choice where you go from here. The book is also taller than the normal size one would expect of picture books, but then it allows not only the splitting of the pages, but also allows us to enjoy the fuzzy sweet water based illustrations with shiny gold stones sparkling off the page. Marcus brings environmental issues to the young in a very subtle way, showing them not only the effect today’s environmental choices can have on the future of your planet, but also the consequences in all decisions. It’s about making wise decisions. At the end of the book Milo leaves us with a few tips such as ‘turning off the tap while you brush your teeth and only turn it back on to rinse,’ and ‘turn off lights when you’re not using them.’

Resources/Findings: This book is a great intro for discussions in schools on environmental issues, field trips, etc… Maybe a class project in cleaning up a park or beach, of litter.

Also a great discussion on what are the consequences when something is taken not just in environmental issues but in our everyday life. What resulted? Was it replaced with something else? What harm would it do, or has it done? What can be done to repair this?

“Adopt a piece of earth” is a project suggested by Milo in the back of the book. Plant a vegetable patch or provide food area for birds, bees and butterflies.

This a very cute retelling of the story with props by a young student…     http://www.schooltube.com/video/f2cabed46a05f3213d0f/Story-Can-Milo-the-Magic-Stone

Great teachers aid in discussing the book…   http://www.tlpeace.org.au/stories/milo.htm

A CD game of the story is available here…   http://www.amazon.com/Milo-Magical-Stones-PC-Mac/dp/B00005O6QH

Here is Marcus’s beautiful website and his other books…   http://www.marcuspfister.ch/books%202.htm

I’m always pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.

 

 

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HALLOWEENSIE CONTEST!!!!!

Oh my! It’s that time of year again and our lovely writing buddy and friend, Susanna Leonard  Hill never misses an opportunity to run a competition.  In fact this is the 4th year she has run the Halloweensie Contest on her blog.  So if you want some good-ole spooky reading with all the trimmings, then head on over to her blog, here.  We have already celebrated Halloween here last night (being time zoned in the future…hehe).  Although it’s not so widely celebrated here we did have a number of cute Spidermen, even a Spiderwoman, witches, devils, spacemen, fairies and princesses knock on our door.  Of course I had my basket of sweets waiting.  You should have seen the look on a couple of faces when I asked a couple of real cuties what their trick would have been.  Their parents standing at the top of the drive laughed as the little ones full of hopeful smiles, shrugged! haha!

Well it’s getting late posting this but here is my entry (100 words as required with the words; pumpkin, creak, and broomstick) with a twist, guess who?  Enjoy!

                                 Polly’s Walkabout!

Polly heard the creaking floorboard, peering out she sees a cape-like shadow with broomstick move along the walls. Polly waits, and then creeps out of bed, past lighted pumpkin, past sleeping brother and into Mum and Dad’s room.

Polly nudges Mum awake. Mum picks her up and takes her back to bed.

Later Polly hears the creaking floorboard, and sees the cape-like shadow move along the wall again.

Polly nudges Mum awake. Mum picks her up and takes her back to bed.

Later, too tired and without looking Mum moves the covers of her bed. The cape-like shadow slides in.

 

Thank you for stopping in.  Happy Halloween!

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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

Tough Chicks

BOOK, Tough ChickWritten by: Cece Meng

Illustrated by: Melissa Suber

Published by: Clarion Publishers, New York 2009

Ages:   4 – 8 years

Theme: Girl power, being unique

Opening Lines:   From the moment Mama Hen’s eggs burst open, she knew she was dealing with some pretty tough chicks. Penny, Polly, and Molly shook out their wet fluff and immediately began to strut around the farm. Peep, peep, zoom, zip, cheep.

Synopsis: From Amazon - From the moment Penny, Polly, and Molly hatch from their eggs, the whole farm knows they are truly tough chicks. They wrestle worms, rope roosters, and are often found under the hood of the tractor. All the other animals and even the farmer himself tell Mama Hen to make her chicks good. “They are good!” Mama Hen replies. But could her chicks be too loud, too independent, and too tough? Lively language and bold illustrations capture all the fun and humor of this delightfully different farmyard romp that’s also a resounding endorsement for letting girls be girls (even if they’re loud and tough and like to play with tractors.)

Why I like this: Don’t we just love anything that shows what girls can do, who dare to be different? Yay for Girl Power!   The picture doesn’t do it justice of the colourful illustrations of the farm animals and the cute expressions on the chicks faces even when covered in mud. (Reminds me of Julie Rowan-Zoch’s gorgeous works of art.)   I noticed throughout the rule of three both in the text and even in the illustrations with cow, pigs and sheep. Even though from the moment they hatched everyone including the farmer were wishing the chicks weren’t so loud, independent and causing such trouble. Their mother still thought they were good, in their own way, (though she did have her doubts and worries.) But when a runaway tractor gets caught in the mud it is the girls wit, independence and smarts that come to the rescue. This is a delightful read with humour, that even the guys are gonna love. Where would they be without us “tough chicks” huh?

I love that saying:- Girls can do anything!

Resources/Findings: Can catch Cece Meng here….     https://twitter.com/iwrite4kids

I can think of a number of activities where both girls and guys can mix in, compete and even surprise. Such as a bake-off, tug of war, craft making, design a mini garden, etc. Many of these can be done in groups in the classroom. Whether it’s an indoor activity or outdoor, such as a nature trek, one can never assume girls are weak of stomach or body. These days many girls are interested in technical design, wood work, mechanics, even space, etc.

Here are some links to other activities … http://www.parents.com/fun/activities/unique-family-activities/

http://www.pinterest.com/desertrio/fun-activities-for-kids/

I’m so pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.

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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

Harry & Hopper

BOOK  HARRY AND HOPPERWritten by: Margaret Wild

Illustrated by: Freya Blackwood

Published by: Omnibus Books an imprint of Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd 2009 and again by Feiwel & Friends (January 18, 2011)

Ages:   2 – 5 years

Theme: Loss, connection, love

BOOK HARRY AND HOPPERAOpening Lines:   When the puppy came to live with Harry and Dad, he was as jumpy as a grasshopper. So that’s what Harry called him. Hopper.

Synopsis: From the back of the book – Harry and his dog Hopper have done everything together, ever since Hopper was a jumpy little Puppy. But one day the unthinkable happens. When Harry comes home from school, Hopper isn’t there to greet him. Hopper will never be there again, but Harry is not ready to let him go. This story tenderly demonstrates the shock of grief and the sustaining power of love.

Why I like this: This moving, heart-wrenching story shows the power of love between a boy and his beloved dog. The two were inseparable until an accident killed Hopper. Not wanting to say goodbye before he is buried, Harry cannot accept Hopper is gone, and the puppy appears each night to keep him company. It is obvious that Harry must eventually come to accept what’s happened. Hopper eventually leaves when Harry is ready to let him go. This story will not leave you dry-eyed, take my word for it. Having lost my father nearly three months ago it was only the other day I managed to watch a recording of the funeral. This book which I had lying around seemed appropriate somehow (no matter what age the reader is.) It’s about accepting loss, but also about accepting loss in your own time, in your own way, and about learning to grieve. Realising the time you had together is what you must hold on to, not what you won’t have. We always want to hold on to someone a little longer when they have passed, and that’s okay, too.

Resources/Findings: Here’s an interview with the author….   http://us.macmillan.com/author/margaretwild

Here is some pictures from the book and a little about the illustrator Freya Blackwood..   http://www.theguardian.com/books/gallery/2010/jun/24/kate-greenaway-medal-freya-blackwood

Here is some great tips when dealing with children and grief…   http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/griefwar.pdf

Here is some activities from Margaret and Freya in relation to the book… http://www.scool.scholastic.com.au/schoolzone/toolkit/assets/pdfs/Harry_and_Hopper.pdf

A wonderful blog by fellow writer and dear friend Patrica Tilton, also has wonderful books about loss and healing…   http://childrensbooksheal.com/

I’m so pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.

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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

Steam Train, Dream Train

BOOK STEAM TRAINWritten by: Sherri Dusky Rinker

Illustrated by: Tom Lichtenheld

Published by: Chronicle Books LLC 2013

Ages:   4 – 6 years

Theme: Trains, animals, night-time

Opening Lines:   Through the darkness, clickety-clack…   coming closer, down the track… hold your breath so you can hear hugging, chuffing drawing near.

Synopsis: From Amazon – The team behind the #1 New York Times bestseller Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site returns with another fabulous book for bedtime! The dream train pulls into the station, and one by one the train cars are loaded: polar bears pack the reefer car with ice cream, elephants fill the tanker cars with paints, tortoises stock the auto rack with race cars, bouncy kangaroos stuff the hopper car with balls. Sweet and silly dreams are guaranteed for any budding train enthusiasts!

Why I like this: This richly coloured in midnight hues book by the #1 New York Times bestseller duo Sherri and Tom, of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, is a treasure for those young train lovers. I loved how the illustrations showed the animals putting everything on to the train, from the juggling monkeys and the stacking of blocks on the camel’s hump to the elephant’s pouring the paint into the tankers, even the giraffe had a place. The enchanting rhyme is catchy and kids will love this to be read to them night after night before bed.

Resources/Findings: Beautiful Trailer for the book.. .     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48PD91_hB9w

Interview with Sherri here…     http://www.fairytaletown.org/meet-sherri-duskey-rinker/

A great story on Tom Lichtenheld here…   http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/54742-steam-train-dream-train-the-evolution-of-a-cover.html

Here are some colouring pages of trains …. http://www.hellokids.com/r_711/coloring-pages/transportation-coloring-pages/train-coloring-pages

Facts about trains….   http://www.kidsdiscover.com/spotlight/trains-for-kids/

I’m so pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.

 

 

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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

Fly Free!

BOOK FLY FREEWritten by:   Roseanne Thong

Illustrated by: Enjin Kim Neilan

Published by: Boyds Mills Press 2009

Ages: 7 – 9 years

Theme: kindness, karma, paying it forward

Opening Lines: It was early morning, and the sun had just risen round and red as a parasol. The earth under Mai’s toes was cool, but the sun’s first rays cast a warm, golden glow on pagoda eaves. Mai looked for the familiar cage of sparrows for sale by the temple gates.

Synopsis: From Amazon – When you do a good deed, it will come back to you. Mai loves feeding the caged birds near the temple but dreams that one day she’ll see them fly free. Then she meets Thu and shares the joy of feeding the birds with her. This sets a chain of good deeds in motion that radiates throughout her village and beyond. Set in Vietnam, Roseanne Thong’s inspiring story, an Asian-Pacific American Librarians Association Honor Book, is elegantly illustrated with watercolor on wood by Eujin Kim Neilan.

Why I like it: This is a beautiful warm story of beginning a cycle of doing good deeds.   Written to illustrate the Buddhist philosophy of karma, the lesson of this simple story, that helping others is helpful to you, is universal. A little girl wishes she could free some caged birds, invites another child to help feed them. The second girl gives her red slippers to another with an injured foot, and so the cycle goes until it comes back to the birds. The beautiful warm, gold, orange and reds of watercolour illlustrations on wood, yes wood, sets the story in Vietnam. Roseanne is known for her multicultural themed stories, and from the dramatic cover to the simple refrain she teaches us the value of kindness. As one reviewer on Amazon put it; Children and adults will do well to be reminded that it is important to practice “random acts of kindness” and that this behavior will be rewarded, eventually, in some way. Creating a culture of kindness has never been needed more than it is today.

Roseanne spent fifteen years teaching and writing in Asia and trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Burma have inspired most of her award winning stories such as Red is the Dragon, Round Is a Mooncake, One is a Drummer, Wish, Gai See; What You Can See in Chinatown, The Wishing Tree among others. Enjin is also the illustrator of Imagine a Dragon by Laurence Pringle and many others was born in Korea now lives in Natick, Massachusetts.

“Fly free, fly free, in the sky so blue. When you do a good deed, it will come back to you”

Findings/Resources”   Here is Roseanne’s website…   http://www.greenfield-thong.com/

Youtube Read aloud…. http://www.schooltube.com/video/ccc4b3bac51f4fd9ae2c/Fly%20Free!

Here are some random acts of kindness kids can do… http://www.eatsleepbe.com/2012/02/acts-of-kindness-for-kids/

Love the acts of kindness activities here… http://www.kidactivities.net/category/random-acts-of-kindness.aspx

I’m so pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.

Posted in Folklore / multicultural, Picture Book Review, What moves me | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

“PERFECT PICTURE BOOK” – Friday

When No one is Watching

BOOK- When no on is watchingWritten by:   Eileen Spinelli

Illustrated by: David A Johnson

Published by: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers Imprint of Eerdmans Publishing Co 2013

Ages: 4 – 6 years

Theme: Shyness, friendship

Opening Lines: When no one is watching, I dance. I leap and I spin and I prance round the room. I twirl with my pillow and whirl with the broom. When no one is watching, I dance. But…

Synopsis: From Amazon – When no one is watching, it’s easy to be brave — to dance and sing, growl and cheer. But when everyone’s watching, this book’s shy young narrator finds it far easier to hide. With her best friend, Loretta, though, she doesn’t feel shy, embarrassed, awkward, or odd — not one bit. Together they’re like two peas in a pod, whether anyone’s watching or not.

Why I like it: I loved this book the minute I picked it up. I suppose it’s because told in first person this shy character is sharing her thoughts and private moments with me. Anyone, like myself, who knows what it’s like to be shy will understand her need to hide away when people are around. Alone we are treated to her real abilities to shine. We are introduced towards the end to her equally shy friend whom she shares her active and quiet times with, and it is great to see her not feeling so shy around someone she obviously trusts. This book shows how it is okay to be shy and that with time and in the right place, one learns to shine. The illustrations are warm, earthy and colourful, attracting the eye with lovely rhyming text.

Edit:  Eek! I forgot to add:

Resources/Findings:   Here is the book trailer…    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cBRYeMP4j4

This was also an interesting program to come across should your child be suffering from fear or anxiety causing the shyness.  http://www.turnaroundanxiety.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwnZShBRDfxqzr55rcyMEBEiQA1iRNP0uedXsNI7VNetMR0zQh3D85kZbX6bwLwukVSxdYa3AaAjCz8P8HAQ

A fun exercise I thought kids could do in the classroom is to write down ten things they would do when no one is watching and have them explain  why they would do these things.

I’m so pleased to be able to bring you some more special books that have come my way and be able to share them with you and join other great writers over at Susanna’s Blog, where there are literally hundreds of book reviews to view.  So pop over  and visit the lovely author, Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with books reviewed by many authors.

I’m also off to enjoy some Birthday time with family this weekend, since it’s Saturday already.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Posted in Children's literature, Picture Book Review | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments