Its Back, its Back , YAY, YAY…. she says jumping around her living room…. LOL yes “Perfect Picture Book Friday” is back and we can enjoy once again, spending many hours blog hopping from Susanna’s blog enjoying reading from a wonderful selection of book reviews, books PERFECT for schools, at home, in librarys, for not only kids but teachers, parents, grandparents… everyone! Many with resources and crafts, ideal for in school, in homes, on holiday, for the long car ride, or simply to while away a rainy day for those young creative minds eager to absorb all that a writer or illustrator has to offer.
Here is a very special book to kick start my season on PPBF…..
“A Present from the Past”
Illustrator: Lindy Fisher
Published: 2006 by Scholastic New Zealand Ltd
Dedicated in memory of women in wartime.
Ages: 6 and up
Theme: Wartime, history, giving, positivity, compassion, understanding, values.
Opening Lines: It was Christmas Eve. Emily was thinking about the beautiful Christmas tree that she had just finished decorating at home. How she wished she were there. Instead, Emily and her parents were standing in the airport terminal, waiting for someone they’d never met before.
Synopsis: Emily is a young girl eagerly looking forward to Christmas day and the opening of presents. A relative, her father’s Aunt Mary, whom neither she nor her family had seen before arrives with a special gift. Why had she travelled so far and what was so special about a small damaged box that was placed under the Christmas tree? When Emily opened the present on Christmas morning Aunt Mary tells her of a young Princess Mary of the King and Queen of England and about the war during 1914. The young Princess wanted to give all the soldiers and nurses who had travelled from far away a special gift to cheer them up she said. Aunt Mary told Emily that her own mother was one of those nurses working alongside the soldiers on the front line, and her box carried chocolates. One day a bullet hit her small box which she kept in her pocket, saving her life, while tending a wounded soldier. Hence the bullet hole in the top of the box. Emily learned that the young nurse married the soldier is her Great Grandmother and that Princess Mary’s birthday is the 25th April, which is New Zealand’s Anzac Day. Aunt Mary had thought Emily would value such a special gift.
What I liked: just a few pages we learn a great deal about history, compassion of a young Princess Mary, only seventeen years at the time, during the outbreak of the First World War In the back of the book is a lovely factual piece about the “Princess Mary Gift Boxes” that were commissioned and paid for by donations. Each small box had the image of the princess on the lid were given to allied troops from Commonwealth countries, and inside were either gifts of tobacco, cigarettes for the soldiers, or sweets or chocolates for the nurses. These have become treasured keepsakes for families all over the world, even today. This book would be a great resource in History classes enticing conversations about war, troops overseas, and families dealing with loved ones during war time in the past.
It seemed particularly fitting to showcase such a beautiful and gratifying book at a time when here in New Zealand we have in the past two weeks lost five young soldiers, one a woman while in the line of duty assisting other soldiers in Afghanistan.
Findings/Resources: Here are a couple of links to factual pages great for students studying history.
I know its early days, but it is never too early to think of craft ideas for kids to do in preparation for Christmas, from Piñatas, advent calendars, to gift boxes to send to love ones overseas. From wreaths and tinsel right down to the potato-stamped wrapping paper, this link has it all.
About the Author: http://www.bookcouncil.org.nz/Writers/Profiles/Beck,%20Jennifer
For more books with resources please 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 the books reviewed by many authors.