“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

The Wishing Stone

Book-WishingStoneWritten by: Steve Smallman

Illustrated by: Rebecca Elliott

Published by: QED Publishing (January 7, 2010)

Ages:   4 – 6 years

Theme:  Friendship, bravery, lonely

Opening Lines: Armadillo lived in the swamp. He was lonely and wished that he could find a friend.

Synopsis: Shy Armadillo always curled up into a ball when anyone came near him. He wished he could have a friend. When he overheard Mouse, Monkey and Flamingo playing and making wishes while sitting on his back, he decided to grant their wishes himself during the dark of night when no one is around. It is only when Armadillo leaves bugs for Flamingo’s wish that the trio discover the unusual stone they thought made wishes come true is actually a living animal, and so an unlikely friendship is born.

Why I like this: A sweet story of friendship and bravery. I loved when Mouse is sitting on the so-called stone watching the others play in the river and wishes he had a paddling pool. Unbeknown to them Armadillo is the stone Mouse is sitting on and he decides to help Mouse out. During the night he digs a small paddling pool for him. They all think the next day that the stone must be a wishing stone so next Monkey makes a wish which is granted the next day. When Flamingo grants a wish but is not what they expected they realise the stone is not a wishing stone. They realise that Armadillo was trying to please them and in doing so they become friends. I loved this feel good story written in prose. It also has a refrain worked in three.   This lovely story is complimented by beautiful illustrations.   There is also a teachers note/guide in the back page.

Resources/Findings: There are some lessons or teachers guide in the back pages of this book.

Cool insect and bug facts on this website….  http://a2zhomeschooling.com/explore/biology_kids/animals-biology_kids/bugs_insects_kids/insects_bugs_kids/

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

Where Is Home, Little Pip?

Book Where Is HomeWritten by: Karma Wilson

Illustrated by: Jane Chapman

Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 23 Sept 2008

Ages:   3 – 8 years

Theme:  Family, adventure, home.

Opening Lines: Pip was hatched in a nest made of pebbles on the cold Antarctic shore. She was as fluffy as new – fallen snow – and small even for a baby penguin.

Synopsis: From the jacket flap:   Little Pip knows that she is supposed to stay close to home, but really – what’s a baby penguin to do except give chase when a beautiful, glittery feather flutters by? And so Pip suddenly finds herself nowhere near her pebbly nest, nowhere near any penguins as far as the eye can see, and worst of all, nowhere near Mama and Papa. Where is home?

Why I like this: Right from the cover picture this book oozed cuteness. I was surprised at how cleverly Karma incorporated prose and rhyme and using the rule of three. She has our little lost penguin asking various critters she meets in her search where home is. Each animal tell where their home is, but not Pip’s home. Children will love Pip’s childish antics and in a tongue-in-cheek way will also learn that listening to parents, and obeying them can save a lot of heartache. I loved the overall theme of ‘Love is where the Heart is’ … mmm, they could have easily given that as its title, but then it would give the ending away. A lovely tribute is made inside the front page to someone we all know and love in the writing world, Emma Dryden.  Karma is known for her Bear books such as Bear Snores On, and lives in Montana.     Jane Chapman’s full page illustrations are gorgeous. She has been teamed with Karma on a number of books together. See the link below of Jane’s interview on Joanna’s website- Miss Marple’s Musings.

Resources/Findings: Here is a lovely teaching guide for the book Karma has provided… http://www.teachingoasis.com/Little%20Pip.pdf

Wonderful website of Karma’s with interesting titbits and insights….   http://www.karmawilson.com/books/pip/where.htm

Catch a wonderful interview with Jane Chapman on Joanna’s website …. http://joannamarple.com/2012/09/4341/

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

The House that Went to Sea

Book The House that went to SeaWritten by: Melinda Szymanik

Illustrated by: Gabriella Klepatski

Published by: Duck Creek Press an Imprint of David Ling Publishing Ltd NZ 2011

Ages:   3 – 7 years

Theme:  Family relationships, boredom, adventure

Opening Lines: Granny Gale’s house smelt of fish, and rocked with the booming of the waves. Built out of timber taken from old boats, the cottage leaned towards the sea, as if at a moment’s notice it would leap into the water and sail away.

Synopsis: Michael Mariner must live with his Grandma in her house by the sea, when his parents get lost in the jungle. Michael prefers watching television and playing on his computer and doesn’t care for trying new things or playing out-of-doors. Grandma thinks a trip on the ocean might be good for Michael and sets sail with Michael in her little cottage. Michael thinks life on the ocean is boring but Grandma loves adventure. When Michael finally takes a swim he finds a message in a bottle and the adventures begin.

Why I like this: When I saw this book I immediately thought of Melinda and her talk a few weeks ago. She was a guest speaker at our recent NZ SCBWI meeting here in Auckland. Melinda’s talk that day was of her journey of being a published author, a no-holds-bar-straight-up, sprinkled with quirky humour. Rather like this book, where the illustration on the front cover shares the hilarious and quirky captured by the illustrator Gabriella throughout the book of Melinda’s text. Imagine your house floating down stream and catching fish with stockings, not to mention shopping with mermaids, and meeting up with pirates. With each page turn you are wondering what is going to happen next. Most important was seeing Michael’s attitude change from being unsociable and bored, to joining in with his grandmother and their fun adventures at sea. I loved the pencil over watercolour illustrations, the expressions not only on the humans in the story and the mix of greys and blues. Beautifully done, this is a fun read and kids will really enjoy this.

Resources/Findings:  Here is Melinda’s Profile on the New Zealand Book Council… http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/Writers/Profiles/Szymanik,%20Melinda

Melinda’s resource for the book…   http://melindaszymanik.blogspot.co.nz/p/educational-resource-house-that-went-to.html

A great clapping sing along for kids….   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NEwPQUFHcc

Here are the words to the above clapping song…   http://www.gameskidsplay.net/games/ClappingRythmsGames/clap_a_sailor_went_to_sea.htm

Here is Gabriella’s profile on the Storylines website… http://www.storylines.org.nz/Profiles/Profiles+I-M/Gabriella+Klepatski.html

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

The BICYCLE

Book Chidren's Book Review, The BicycleProduced by: Colin Thompson and 14 well-known illustrators for Save the Children

Published by: Harper Collins Publishers Australia Pty Ltd in 2011

Ages:   3 + years

Theme:  the symbol of a bicycle, what it can represent in the world today

Opening Lines: One of the most important days of my life was when I learned to ride a bicycle – Michael Palin.

Synopsis: From the back of the book:- In a perfect world, this book would not exist. But we do not live in a perfect world. Even if we all learn to live in peace, there will still be millions of people who need our help. The Bicycle is collaboration between Colin Thompson and fourteen internationally acclaimed artists. By buying this book, you are helping those who cannot help themselves.

Why I like this: Within the first couple of pages of this book one comes across a moving note from Colin Thompson the author/producer of this book and a note from Suzanne Dvorak CEO of the Save the Children Org. Colin tells of his visit in 2008 with Save the Children to Cambodia, and learned that some children live in such remote areas that they never learn to read and write because they have no transport and too far to walk. Save the Children gave them each bicycles so they could go to school and learn to become anything they wanted to be. This is what inspired Colin to put together this book, a compilation of bicycle artworks by children’s book artists including Freya Blackwood, Quentin Blake, Shaun Tan and Sarah Davis sprinkled with quotes from famous people including children from Cambodia, regarding their bicycle as their “best friend.” Colin realised that the simple gift of a bicycle showed how much we have and how little it can take to change the world. Like the kids in Cambodia a bicycle is the key to their greatest dreams. Suzanne tops off this inspiring and creative project with a note on the wonderful work Save the Children are doing bringing the magic of childhood to children less fortunate.  There are also illustrator notes in the back, and not all pages have quotes on the full-page lavish illustrations donated free. A very thought-provoking book that leaves room for interpretation and discussion with children and adults, as well as a lump in your throat. Royalties from the sale of this book are donated to Save the Children.

Resources/Findings: Quentin Blake had also collaborated with Colin in illustrating another book for Save the Children called Dust. His best known work is for Ronald Dahl. Here is his website.. http://www.quentinblake.com/

Also some you tube links of Quentin Blake….     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CH6cCvW100

And another of Quentin Blake….   Story on a page…   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wo2Dn3gdK4

Colin Thompson talks about the book The Bicycle…     http://www.readings.com.au/news/the-story-of-my-book-colin-thompson-on-the-bicycle

Sarah Davis beautiful contribution to the book….     http://sarah-davis.org/soundsspooky-2/

Projects children could start at school such as sponsoring a child.   There are also projects children could make such as knitting a blanket or fundraising with stalls to raise funds for the Save the Children.

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

Zayde Comes to Live

Book - Zayde ComesWritten by: Sheri Sinykin

Illustrated by: Kristina Swarner

Published by: Peachtree Publishers Atlanta, Georgia USA 2012

Ages:   3 – 7 years

Theme:  death, memories, curiosity, questions

Opening Lines: Zayde comes to live with us. It’s because he is dying. No one says this, but I know from what they do not say. From what Zayde cannot do anymore, like play hide and seek around the house. Or ball in the yard.

Synopsis: Rachel’s grandfather, Zayde, has come to live with her family. Rachel realizes this is because he is dying. Rachel can’t help wondering where he will go when he dies. She asks her friends. She asks her rabbi. She asks Zayde. No one has the perfect answer, but eventually Rachel finds a way to make peace with the fact the her grandfather will soon no longer be with her. She learns to gather all the moments she can, and to honor his life one small memory at a time. In this sensitive portrait of a young girl and her grandfather, author Sheri Sinykin approaches the issue of death from a distinctly Jewish perspective while demonstrating respect for all beliefs. Kristina Swarner’s lush, soft, illustrations add layers of depth and wonder to the story.

Why I like this: With her grandfather moving in to live with her family, Rachel sees first hand his weakness and confusion and worries about what will happen to him when he dies. After asking her friends and Rabbi, Zayde himself tries to help her understand. Sheri takes on a very delicate topic not only from the view of a little girl but also through different beliefs. I love how within the first few sentences we are aware of how sensitive children are.  “I know from what they do not say..”  its true children are more aware these days and should be respected. Children will be comforted by the way Rachel discovers that just being together and making the most of each moment are precious memories in themselves. Kristina’s warm soothing illustrations reflect that comfort and understanding. Her artwork, linoleum prints touched with watercolor and colored pencil compliment Sheri’s text beautifully. Although she has written many books for young readers this was Sheri’s first picture book. She lives in Massachusetts and Arizona.   Kristina always wanted to be an artist since age four. She lives in Chicago.

Resources/Findings:  Here is Sheri’s website…   http://www.sherisinykin.com/ Here are also some valuable links for teachers and parents on loss and grief available at Sheri’s website…   http://www.sherisinykin.com/loss_&_grief_handouts.htm

Here is Kristina’s website…   http://www.kristinaswarner.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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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

Horsefly and Honeybee

BOOK HORSEFLYWritten and illustrated by: Randy Cecil

Published by: Henry Holt and Co.1 edition (March 27, 2012)

Ages:   3 – 8 years

Theme: adventure, sharing, friendship

Opening Lines: Honeybee was tired. So she stretched and yawned and plopped down inside a flower for a nap. But Horsefly was already inside.

Synopsis: When Honeybee decides to take a nap in the same flower as Horsefly, trouble ensues! They don’t want to share, and after quarrelling, run away in opposite directions. But it isn’t long until they meet again… They have both been captured by hungry Bullfrog! If Horsefly and Honeybee are to escape before dinnertime, they must find a way to work together.

Why I like this: Beautiful cute illustrations such as the one on the cover in bright colours of blues and greens with touches of pinks and oranges in full page spreads is a delight to look at, especially for little kids. Again another clever text in short punchy sentences this time with refrains. Sometimes in life we don’t realise our true friends until life throws us a curveball. I loved the quote at the end “We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.” -Luciana De Crescenza.

Again I have noticed when reviewing picture books how sparse the text is especially when the author illustrates their own books such as this one. There is so much that is left to the illustrations.

Resources/Findings:  Here is a reading of the book..   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlzR9vR5h10

Randy has a great website for this book. Loaded with activities, research links, nature studies on frogs, bees, flys etc… and games….     http://suzyred.com/pbks2013_Horsefly_and_Honeybee.html

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

Book-Two Little BirdsTwo Little Birds

Written and illustrated by: Mary Newell DePalma

Published by: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 14 Feb 2014

Ages:   3 – 7 years

Theme:  nature, adventure, wonder, growing up

Opening Lines: After much effort two little birds emerged from their eggs. “It’s very bright!” “There’s lots of room!”

Synopsis: Two little birds hatch and grow until one day, they see an amazing sight: hundreds of birds, all flying together in one direction. They decide to join in, and so begins an amazing and sometimes dangerous journey that they never could have imagined. Eventually they return home — and the cycle starts over again.

Why I like this: Beautiful cute illustrations such as the one on the cover in soft hues of blues and greens with touches of bright honey colour in full page spreads is a delight to look at, especially for little kids. With very sparse text in clever rhyme Mary makes use of different fonts to add umph. Mary has also included an Authors note about the migration of birds in the back cover.

One thing I have noticed when reviewing picture books is how sparse the text is especially when the author illustrates their own books such as this one. There is so much that is left to the illustrations.

Resources/Findings:  Book Trailer…     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlQEpRjvuPk  

Mary’s website full of information about Mary and her illustrations and activities….     http://www.marynewelldepalma.com/aboutmarynewelldepalma.html

Here is a great bird craft for kids….   http://www.jugglingwithkids.com/2012/07/summer-virtual-book-club-don-and-audrey.html

More ideas for crafts within the school on pinterest…..    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/118219558939615320/

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

My Bibi Always Remembers

Book - MyBibi Always RemembersWritten by: Toni Buzzeo

Illustrated by: Mike Wohnoutka

Published by: Disney Hyperion Books, New York, Sept 2014

Ages:   3 – 6 years

Theme:  comfort, security, family love, grandparents

Opening Lines: When Bibi calls, everyone comes – aunties, sisters, Mama – one by one. Step –step. Searching for wet.

Synopsis: When Bibi calls, everyone comes. Bibi is the grandmother elephant and the protector of the herd. She leads the family across the parched savanagh, because she remembers “the way to wet.” Sometimes little Tembo falls behind. Her own happy memories lead her elsewhere, like to the jackalberry tree for tender leaves, or on a lively stork chase. At sunset Bibi calls louder than ever. Could she have finally found water? Tembo’s wanderings cause her family to go looking for her, including Bibi. Amid the dangers lurking in the shadows security is soon re-established.

Why I like this: Another gorgeous cover that instantly says “pick me, pick me.”   Toni uses beautiful rhythm and refrains to build gentle momentum and tension finishing with a loving gentle conclusion. Almost like that of the gentle pounding of a Bibi (the word we are later informed means grandmother elephant) running to assist her young. There is an Author’s Note at the back giving us some information about elephants. The illustrations of Mike Wohnoutka, like that of the cover, are full-page beauties at times giving hints of danger and wonder, a window into the African wild. The theme of that special connection between the very young and their grandparents is beautifully whispered into the text, unspoken. And who doesn’t love elephants?

Resources/Findings: Take a look at the author’s beautiful website where you can also download a greeting card….   http://www.tonibuzzeo.com/MY_BIBI_ALWAYS_REMEMBERS.html

There are also Teachers guides and theatre scripts for this book on Toni’s website. Both Toni and Mike have collaborated on Stay Close to Mama and Just Like My Papa and Toni has won Caldecott Honor Book and New York Times best-selling for One Cool Friend illustrated by David Small.

Apart from the above books Mike is also best known for illustrations of Jack’s House by Karen Magnuson Beil and Moo! by David LaRochelle .

This is also Mike’s website, pop over and take a look at his sketchbook.   http://www.mikewohnoutka.com/pages/childbks/review.html

(And I just noted on Toni’s website a lovely review on Wendy’s blog Noodling With Words.)

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

BOOK   lITTLE pENQUIN LOSTLittle Penquin LOST

Written by: Tracey Corderoy

Illustrated by: Gavin Scott

Published by: Little Tiger Press This edition 2012. First published 2011 in UK.

Ages:   3 – 6 years

Theme:  Loss, comfort, found

Opening Lines: Three little roly-poly penguins were having their afternoon snack. Percy and Posy were eating up nicely. But Plip was too busy playing with his favourite toy.

Synopsis: When Plip the penguin loses his favourite toy, it seems like the end of the world! As the sky grows dark, Plip runs off to find it, all on his own. What will become of poor little Plip, out in the snowy storm?

Why I like this: Once again Tracey writes the kind of story that touches the heart. Sweet, simple theme, with characters with real attitudes. I read this a few times, out loud and found it such fun with playful words such as Plip’s lost “sockybug.” I loved how Plip is shown not only to be sweet and playful, but to be a gutsy, and fearless, determined to find his lost toy. Not to mention the surprise twist at the end.   The cover is just so gorgeous a ‘pick me up and hug me’ illustration, you could not walk past. Don’t you think? Gavin’s gorgeous illustrations throughout are large, simple and fun, complimenting the text. Even his near centre big spread of just the head of Plip with his eyes closed as he cries out three words, tells us how he feels, the heart in the mouth aww moment. You just want to cuddle him. (Again I am reminded of my dear friend Julie Rowan-Zoch’s whispy gorgeous illustrations.) Adults right down to the littlest kid is gonna love this one. I thought of this one for my dear writing buddies in the northern hemisphere suffering through their winter.

Resources/Findings: some facts on penguins for kids….   http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/animals/penguin.html           http://www.theanimalfiles.com/birds/penguins/little_penguin.html

A great thing to do with kids is visit a local zoo. Kids learn so much about the animals, feeding them, watching them play. See our local zoo here…   http://www.aucklandzoo.co.nz/sites/explore-the-zoo/Birds/little-penguin

Here is a way to teach kids to draw a cute cartoon penguin…     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev9BfgsziIo

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.

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

“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

book Peanut ButterPeanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches

Written by: Lisa Broadie Cook

Illustrated by: Jack E. Davis

Published by: G P Putnam’s Sons an imprint of Penguin Group USA Inc. July 2011

Ages:   4 – 8 years

Theme: Opening Lines: It was Monday, and all Martin MacGregor wanted to do was go to School. Mr Elliott was the coolest teacher ever, and this was the day he was going to bring in his pet – Harriett the tarantula.

Synopsis: All week Martin’s assignments keep getting lost, destroyed, and even blown onto the school roof – no matter how hard he tries to keep them in one piece. Mrs Payne (the substitute teacher) isn’t happy about his mishaps, and Martin is definitely not happy about having to miss recess every day. When Martin’s dog really does eat his homework, Martin gets creative and with a positive attitude, finds his own way to turn homework into fun – and turn it in on time.

Why I like this: Although I am not a lover of spiders this was indeed a fun read. Poor Martin, he really was having a week of it. I could relate to his uneasiness with a substitute teacher when you so enjoy your own teacher. A similar thing happened to me once which ended with me missing my bus and my parents looking for me in the rain after dark. My usual teacher knew my father preferred me to scribble down my homework instructions on a piece of paper and when I was at home my father would draw pencilled lines in my exercise book for me to write it in neatly and with the rest of my homework. But a substitute teacher would not allow it and made me redo it again causing me to miss my bus. Hence a tear-stained frightened girl and anxious parents turned up the next day to have a word with the teacher only to find my usual teacher was back again.   However in this story Martin gets creative with his homework and is delighted when his usual teacher returns. The book is wordy by picture books standard today, but the popping full-page illustrations by Jack would certainly keep children interested with oversized heads, popping eyes and oooh who doesn’t love peanut butter?

Resources/Findings: Here is a reading of the story…   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or762Ia9-Sc

Lisa’s website and inspirations for her books…. http://www.lisabroadiecook.com/author_website/Welcome.html

Here are some tips for classroom discussions and exercises….   http://dayinthelifeofschoolcounseling.blogspot.co.nz/2013/11/peanut-butter-homework-sandwiches.html

Lesson for classroom or homeschooling. Scroll down to Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches….   http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.maslonline.org/resource/resmgr/Orders/2013-2014_Show_Me_Reader_Pac.pdf

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.

Posted in Children's literature, Picture Book Review | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments