“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

Each Kindness

Written: Jacqueline Woodson

Illustrated by: E. B. Lewis

Published by: Nancy Paulsen Books, 7th Print edition of Penguin Group 2 October 2012

Ages:   4 to 8 years.

Theme: Friendship, opportunity lost.

Opening Lines: That winter, snow fell on everything, turning the world a brilliant white. One morning, as we settled into our seats, the classroom door opened and the principal came in. She had a girl with her, and she said to us, This is Maya.

Synopsis: from Amazon;- Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.

Why I like this: Wow! Simplicity with a punch! Winner of a CORETTA SCOTT KING HONOR and THE JANE ADDAMS PEACE AWARD! This award winning team have created an unforgettable book with a powerful message that will resonate with readers long after they’ve put it down. Packed full of life lessons we never know the full extent of damage done to Maya by the rejection of Chloe and her classmates as she eventually moves away. It is only when the teacher shows the class how a ripple effect of kindness can change the world does Chloe become aware of her own hurtful behavior. She is never able to make amends. Not a happy ever-after story but one that is sure to bring much discussion in classrooms regarding bullying, kindness, and empathy. The sentence – “Each kindness, makes the world a little bit better” couldn’t be truer. Just a smile, a hello, it doesn’t take much. Don’t lose that opportunity…

Resources/Findings:   The story read aloud on youtube…     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGKteT5KiSE

Love this teachers aid about random acts of kindness…. Such as a kindness act written on paper and each day pass one on to the next person. Or have a Kindness Day at school… https://www.pinterest.nz/pin/283445370270912662/?lp=true

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 Snow Lion

Written: Jim Helmore

Illustrated by: Richard Jones

Published by: Simon & Schuster, London, Uk. September 2017

Ages:   2 years and over.

Theme: Friendship, courage.

Opening Lines: Caro and her mum went to live in a new house at the top of a hill.

Synopsis: from Amazon;-

When Caro and her mum move to a new house, Caro becomes lonely. There’s only so much exploring she can do by herself! It’s not long though before she makes a new friend – The Snow Lion. He’s as white as snow, and together they have fun playing hide and seek, chasing and sliding. However, it’s soon time for Caro to venture out on her own

Why I like this: This is a beautiful timeless story that will touch your heart. Caro feels lonely and shy when she moves to a new house. But a snow lion that appears in the white walls of the house helps her overcome her shyness and encourages her to venture out. When her friends come over and help paint the walls in different colours the snow lion disappears, or has he? A classic story, with a touch of magic. Jim’s simple few lines of text on full page illustrations make this a treasure for all the family.

Resources/Findings:  I found this book along with other books by Jim Helmore on this Teachers Aid Blog with activities for kids 2 years and over…   http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/author-resources/jim-helmore-banner

This story took me back to primary school when I used to look after a younger class before my class started and I would draw lions (the only thing I knew how to draw back then) on the blackboard while we waited for the teacher to arrive. The kids loved it. So did the teacher. Here is a website on how to draw lions…     http://www.yedraw.com/how-to-draw-lion-for-kids.html#.Wr58essh3IU

Cool facts for kids about lions…   https://www.kidsplayandcreate.com/fun-cool-lion-facts-for-kids/

A lesson aid for teachers       https://study.com/academy/lesson/white-lion-facts-lesson-for-kids.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

I’ve missed a few weeks of PPBF due to visitors and life getting in the way, but I’m glad to be back and sharing this wonderful find….

PERFECTLY NORMAN

Written and illustrated by: Tom Percival

Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc UK 2017

Ages:   4 – 8 years.

Theme: different, unique, individuality

Opening Lines: Norman had always been normal – perfectly normal. Until one day…

Synopsis: From Amazon: Norman had always been perfectly normal. That was until the day he grew a pair of wings! Norman is very surprised to have wings suddenly – and he has the most fun ever trying them out high in the sky. But then he has to go in for dinner. What will his parents think? What will everyone else think? Norman feels the safest plan is to cover his wings with a big coat. But hiding the thing that makes you different proves tricky and upsetting. Can Norman ever truly be himself? A poignant yet uplifting story about individuality, with stunning artwork in a striking minimal palette from the author/illustrator of Herman’s Letter. Fans of Oliver Jeffers and Benj Davies, will love it.

Why I like this: This book has a very clear simple universal message. To be yourself, no matter what. In very few words Tom puts across a compelling story of a moment of joy and discovery to one of shame, doubt, fear of what others think and feeling miserable. Kids will relate to Norman. Especially when attending a new school or play group, or find it hard to fit in or to be accepted. The bold clean line illustrations with light touches of colour only add to the clear universal message that it’s okay to be different. I loved the touch of humour, such as having a bath with the coat on, and the sweet faithful dog that is added in the illustrations. Tom uses illustrations to show emotion and details. With mostly full page illustrations Tom uses minimal text, with rule of threes and great page turns. This is a great book for a parent to read to their child and also a wonderful tool for in the classroom opening up discussions on what is normal and being unique.

Resources/Findings:  Here is Toms website….     http://tom-percival.com/     with some yummy books of his.

Here is an interview with Tom about his illustration work….   https://design.tutsplus.com/articles/interview-with-illustrator-tom-percival–vector-5573

Here are some ideas on how to teach kids to be unique….   https://www.kcedventures.com/blog/teaching-kids-to-be-themselves-be-unique

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

SOMEONE LIKE ME

Written by: Patricia MacLachlan

Illustrated by: Chris Sheban

Published by: Roaring Brook Press July 2017

Ages:   4 – 8 years.

Theme: Thoughts, wonder.

Opening Lines: If you were a little girl who listened to stories over and over and over –

Synopsis: From Amazon: If you were a little girl who listened to stories

over and over and over;

and who read books every night, every day,

even as her mother led her across the street,

You might be me,

a writer.

Why I like this: Oh my!   What is there not to LOVE about this book. Beautifully written by acclaimed writer Patricia MacLachlan it is a semi biographical picture book of around two hundred and fifty nine words. The reader is taken on a journey with the author following herself as a young girl who read constantly, climbed trees, and tried “to teach her dog to talk by moving his lips like hers”―to see what made her the person she became. Like many of her books for children there is a thread of her own life running through them. I love the watercolour; coloured pencil and graphite illustrations by Chris. He uses light and shadow to give each page a warm, earthy glow. The images are soft and dreamlike in their gentleness, as if veiled by a scrim with an invitation to come and look closer. “You might be someone like me – A writer.”   I’ve already asked to have my time with this book extended from the library.

Patricia MacLachlan a Newberry Medial has won many awards for her books. She lives in Massachusetts and is also on the board of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance.

Resources/Findings:  This is a beautiful enlightening talk from Patricia of how her books evolved and how she came to write.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef1O6v0Wdf8

I can see this book being used in classrooms with teachers asking to list what actually had direct influence towards the girl becoming a writer.

Ask children to write what they would like or hope to become or do after leaving school and list what they can do now to influence/help that decision.

Maybe they could interview a member of their family or family friend who works and ask and list what they did that shaped their career. Was there anything they did as children that may have influenced the outcome.

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

FEARLESS

Written by: Colin Thompson

Illustrated by: Sarah Davis

Published by: First published in 2009 and then again in 2012 by Harper Collins, Australia

Ages:   4 year and over.

Theme: naming, fears, puppy, being true.

Opening Lines: When a new baby is born it’s difficult to tell if it will grow up to be BIG or small or brave or scared of the dark and spiders. So sometimes, babies get the wrong name.

Synopsis: (from the back cover) When a new baby is born it’s difficult to tell if it will grow up to be big or small or brave, or scared of the dark and spiders. So sometimes, babies get the wrong name. It’s the same with dogs. So when the Claybourne-Willments, who should have been called the Smiths, got Fearless as a little puppy, it seemed a good name for him. Except Fearless, wasn’t. How does Fearless finally live up to his name? By accident, of course!

Why I like this: Comical and adorably clever this story of being true to yourself has won many awards such as the Children’s Choice Award, Koala and Yabba to name a few. That adorable face begged to be picked up. In colourful pencil drawings of realistic humans and wonderful detailed expressions really helped you connect to the story even the dark colours used during the house break-in added great drama. They say bulldogs have big heads but small brains. Poor Fearless just didn’t understand why it was okay to go on the grass which the human Dad had spent hours mowing and not the carpet which Dad took no notice of at all. Then there’s the not going on the newspaper that was left out on the floor at night. In case his human mum wanted to read them, he thought. Older kids and adults will love the comical text while the younger kids will love the illustrations especially Fearless crossed eyes watching a fly on his nose. The book lends itself to a lot of discussion about being yourself not what others think you ought to be. Also this story certainly makes you look at your pet in a totally different light. What is your pet actually thinking when you are preparing his meal, or rubbing his tummy? I’m not going to give away how Fearless does live up to his name, or does he?

Resources/Findings:    Here’s a comical look at the story…     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GC5LjteEis

A great teachers notes on this link….     http://4edd9444c072ad07aff7-11d966b2703d5a5467932b6516b2610f.r67.cf2.rackcdn.com/teaching-guides/TG-9780733330827.pdf

A cute youtube video of the book..   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QC8GF5c9mE4

Teachers guide and workbook on fearless provided by the author…. https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Worksheets-for-FEARLESS-Colin-Thompson-Picture-Book-Literacy-1481040

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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A HALLOWEENSIE STORY COMPETITION

It’s the 7th Annual Halloweensie Contest over at Susanna Hills Blog and lots of wonderful prizes to be won. But best of all great stories to read and writerly friends aplenty. It’s like a bonfire explosion going on!

The rules should you wish to join in are…  (quoted from Susanna’s Blog)   write a 100 word Halloween story appropriate for children ( defined as 12 and under) (title not included in the 100 words), using the words candy corn, monster, and shadow. (Candy corn will be counted as 1 word.)  Your story can be scary, funny, or anything in between, poetry or prose, but it will only count for the contest if it includes those 3 words and is 100 words (you can go under, but not over!)  Get it?  Halloweensie – because it’s not very long and it’s for little people. ( I know 100 words is short, but that’s part of the fun and the challenge!  Also, you may use the words in any form – e.g. monsters, monstrous, shadowy, shadowed, whathaveyou 🙂  NO ILLUSTRATION NOTES PLEASE! (And yes, you may submit more than one entry if you’re so inclined 🙂 )

Here is my entry at 99 words…

MONSTER IN THE KITCHEN

POP! BANG! POP!

“There is goes again. Did you hear it?” said Mia to her little brother Jake.

He nodded furiously.

They tip toed down the hall.

“It’s coming from the kitchen,” whispered Mia.

As she peeked around the corner there suddenly lurked a huge shadow of a monster.

A scream escaped Mia’s trembling lips.

A blanket dropped to the floor beside the candle-lit pumpkin face.

“Papa, Papa!” yelled Jake. He ran into the kitchen and Papa’s arms.

“What are you doing Papa?” asked Mia gasping.

“Making Halloween Candy-corn for you children.” laughed Papa.

“Yum!” Mia and Jake cheered.

*********

Now if you are interested in entering just post your entry on your blog and link it back to Susanna’s blog.  You have until 31st October.  Good Luck!  Pop over to Susanna’s blog anyway and check out all the neat spooky stories. Great reading for a cool night in front of the fire while munching on Candy-corn.  😉

 

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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

FARMER JOHN’S TRACTOR

Written by: Sally Sutton

Illustrated by: Robyn Belton

Published by: Walker Books Australia 2012

Ages:   3 – 7 years

Theme: patience, determination, trusty

Opening Lines: Farmer John’s tractor lies locked in the shed. Rusty yet trusty and orangey-red.

Synopsis: From Amazon:   Farmer John’s tractor lies locked in the shed,rusty yet trusty and orangey red.

When the rain comes that season, it doesn’t let up, filling the river until it overflows, swirling and rushing and gushing. Down by the river, a car gets stuck, and the family inside shouts for help. As they climb to the roof, a series of vehicles — a speedy jeep, a strong tow truck, even a noisy fire engine — rush one by one to the scene. But each gets more stuck than the last. Is it possible that Farmer John’s ancient tractor, rusty as it is, could still be up for the job?

Why I like this: A rollicking easy read in lyrical rhyme. The refrain is one that kids will enjoy along with the gorgeous old fashion illustrations of farm life. Drama ensues with the rushing water and car being caught. Kids will love all the different vehicles turning up to help. I love the cute bits put in by the illustrator of the little dog with the farmer at the shed when he finally unlocks it and the ducks flying in all directions not to mention the expressions of the two little kids hugging on the roof of the car. The illustrations are done in soft coloured pencil are well done. It’s a book kids will want to read again and again. It’s timeless.

Sally resides in Auckland New Zealand.  Some of her stories are influenced by NZ culture.

Resources/Findings: Sally’s website….   http://www.sallysutton.co.nz/my-books/

More about Sally…   http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/writer/sutton-sally/

A little about illustrator Roby Belton….   http://www.pottonandburton.co.nz/about/our-authors-photographers-and-illustrators/robyn-belton/

More on Robyn …   https://www.storylines.org.nz/Storylines+Profiles/Profiles+A-C/More+in+Profiles+Profiles+A-C+temp/Robyn+Belton.html

More about the book and author and illustrator…   https://www.walkerbooks.com.au/Books/Farmer-Johns-Tractor-9781921150944

Ask the children what animals does Farmer John have on his farm?

Looking at the cover what do they think the story is about?

Why could the Fire Engine not be able to pull out the car?

Can you name all the vehicles that came to help?

How many firemen came to help?

Have the children draw a Tractor like the one Farmer John has.

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

A Letter to my Teacher

Written by: Deborah Hopkinson

Illustrated by: Nancy Carpenter

Published by: Schwartz and Wade Books, New York. An imprint of Random House. April 2017

Ages:   4 – 8 years

Theme: empathy, patience, inspire

Opening Lines: Dear Teacher, When ever I had something to tell you, I tugged on your shirt and whispered in your ear. This time I’m writing a letter.

Synopsis: From Amazon– This funny, touching picture book –the perfect gift for a child to give to his/her own teacher– celebrates the difference a good teacher can make. Written as a thank-you note to a special teacher from the student who never forgot her, this moving story makes a great read-aloud and a perfect gift for Teacher Appreciation Day or the end of the school year. 

Dear Teacher, Whenever I had something to tell you, I tugged on your shirt and whispered in your ear. This time I’m writing a letter. So begins this heartfelt picture book about a girl who prefers running and jumping to listening and learning—and the teacher who gently inspires her. From stomping through creeks on a field trip to pretending to choke when called upon to read aloud, this book’s young heroine would be a challenge to any teacher. But this teacher isn’t just any teacher. By listening carefully and knowing just the right thing to say, she quickly learns that the girl’s unruly behavior is due to her struggles with reading. And at the very end, we learn…   Oh I am NOT going to give the ending away, like amazon did.

Why I like this: This is a lovely book and as it has already been said in the synopsis it is both touching and funny. I found the illustrations to be cute with the way the young girl stands leaning and absorbing what the teacher is telling her during extra sessions. Or the time the teacher tries to explain that it takes time to learn to read just like growing seeds takes time to grow, you see the young girl’s hand nervously posed by her mouth, showing shyness and embarrassment (something I used to do.) Or maybe she is giggling, but the reaction is so true to life. I loved how the teacher knew just what to say and do at the right time. Like when the girl’s cat ate one of the mice and although she replaced without the teacher knowing – she guessed. Well sort of! The patience the teacher had when she slipped away during a field trip of the city and the ability to combine schooling with outside activity – such as growing seeds. I laughed out loud when at summer break up the kids made a salad of the veges they had grown and as the principle took a mouthful saying “splendid spinach,” the young girl replies “It’s because of the worms.” Hahaha! Apart from the wonderful text and large clean mostly full page illustrations, this story is surprisingly told in flash-back. A young girl who is a loner and struggles to learn yet, with guidance and patience of a special teacher, is inspired. A thank you note is written to a special teacher remembered long after school has finished. This is a MUST READ.

Resources/Findings: A great exercise for children at school to write a thank you note to their teacher for Teacher Appreciation Day. Maybe the children could write a thank you letter as a girft to Mum or Dad for Father’s or Mother’s Day.

First Day of school could be writing a letter to your teacher about yourself, what your favourite hobbies are, do you have pets, favourite colour etc…

Here is a great template of activites inside and outside the classroom for children….   http://www.twinkl.co.nz/resources

Here is a template for writing a letter to your teacher…     https://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Letter-to-Your-Teacher

Here are teacher aids for teaching gardening in school…   https://www.teachervision.com/gardening

And another…   https://www.wikihow.com/Teach-Kids-to-Garden

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

STAY A Girl, a Dog, a Bucket List

Written by: Kate Klise

Illustrated by:  M. Sarah Klise

Published by: Feiwell and Friends New York, Imprint of Macmillan Publishing Group, LLC. July 2017

Ages:   3 – 5 years

Theme: Memories, love and friendship

Opening Lines: When Astrid came home from the hospital, Eli was there waiting. He was Astrid’s first friend.

Synopsis: Astrid and Eli are best friends. Astrid is a girl and Eli is her dog. Eli’s also older than Astrid, so she decides to make a bucket list for her dearest and furriest friend. When Astrid realises her dog is getting older she decides to make a list to ensure Eli experiences everything before he gets too old. But what makes an old dog happy? In this tale, we celebrate people who love dogs and dogs who love people.

Why I like this: A very cute book with an adorable cover, this is all about heart. An emotional story simply told celebrating time spent with a friend and those we love and care about. Eli was a young dog already in the home when Astrid was bought home from the hospital. Astrid and Eli grow up together and are inseparable. I loved how Astrid realised that her dog was getting older and to ensure that he experienced everything that life had to offer she made a bucket list. When he was too old to go out they spent time together remembering the fun times. It’s only at the end when Astrid asks if there is anything else that Eli would love to do before it’s too late, do we view Eli’s thoughts. There is nothing like making the most of time spent with those we love.   *reaches for hankerchief.*

Resources/Findings: Kate Klise’s website….   http://www.kateandsarahklise.com/blog

And…     http://www.kateklise.com/

Reviews etc from publishers website…   https://us.macmillan.com/stay/kateklise/9781250107145/

Things you could do….

Make a bucket list of activites you would love to do.

What memories you would like to make with your dog.

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

Hi, I’m back!  Hubby and I have been on a whirlwind trip taking in ten countries in just over thirty days.  More about that later.  Right now I’m getting back into writing, catching up with my critique partners and I’m so glad to see PPBF is back too.   So let’s get to it…

Heather Has Two Mommies

Written by: Leslea Newman

Illustrated by:  Laura Cornell

Published by: Candlewick Press 2015

Ages:   3 – 7 years

Theme: families, two’s,

Opening Lines: Heather lives in a little house with a big apple tree in the front yard and lots of tall grass in the backyard. Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears, two hands, and two feet.

Synopsis: (from the flap) Heather’s favorite number is two. Apart from two legs, two arms etc… she has two pets, and two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy. Am I the only one here who doesn’t have a daddy? Heather wonders. This delightful edition of Leslea Newman’s modern classic featuring inviting, vivid illustrations by Laura Cornell will reassure a whole new generation of young readers that “the most important thing about a family is that all the people in it love each other.”

Why I like this: This is a lovely fresh look at a classic story first published back in 1989. (I was surprised to see that Google classed it as the first Lesbian themed book ever written for children.) The text is simple yet powerful and children learn that there is great diversity in what makes a family. I loved the teachers foresight in showing children that no matter what makes your family, the main thing they need to remember is the love within the family. A great story for all ages and will certainly make for great discussion in the classroom and at home.

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

Great back story about how the book came about by Leslea Newman…..   http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-ca-jc-heather-has-two-mommies-20170511-story.html

All you need to know about Leslea Newman….     http://www.lesleakids.com/aboutleslea.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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