“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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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

The Great ZOO Hullabaloo

Written by: Mark Carthew

Illustrated by:  Anil Tortop

Published by: New Frontier Publishing Pty ltd, Australia 2017

Ages:   3 – 6 years

Theme: animals, music, mystery

Opening Lines: When Jess and Jack opened the gates to the Zoo, it was strangely deserted. Nobody said BOO!

Synopsis: (From back of book) When Jess and Jack opened the gates to the Zoo, it was strangely quiet and deserted. Can Jess and jack discover the mystery of the missing animals?

Why I like this: This magical picture book by award-winning author Mark Carthew, brought to life by Anil Tortop’s illustrations, evokes the spirit of adventure in enchanting rhyme. It turns out the animals would rather play instruments and celebrate the birth of a new kangaroo than spend time in the zoo. The simplicity of the story in matter-of-fact, sing-song rhyme will certainly appeal to young children. While characters seem cartoonish the beautiful illustrations including a couple of birds-eye-views give readers eye appeal in rich colours. A must for both school and home it will open up discussions about animals and music.

Resources/Findings: Book trailer….     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ5xXNMWUDY

Mark Carthew has a great website here dedicated to this book with some illustrations, Study Notes, Activities and more. …     http://www.markcarthew.com.au/teachers/The_Great_Zoo_Hullabaloo_Teachers_Notes.pdf

Here is a Youtube piece from Anil Tortop….       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsUidqVDaeE

A reading of the book by the author Mark is scheduled for July 6th at the Melbourne Zoo. See info here….   http://www.markcarthew.com.au/   and if you can’t go you can download a poster from this website.

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

Holly’s Day at the Pool

Written and Illustrated by: Benson Shum

Published by: Disney – Hyperion 2017

Ages:   3 – 8 years

Theme: fear, swimming,

Opening Lines: When Piggy Wig is stuck in a tree, Holly is the only one who can save him. Piggy Wig is Dottie’s favorite toy.

Synopsis: “NOOOOOOO! I don’t want to go to the pool. What if . . . the water is too cold?” says Holly.

Holly the hippo imagines the worst: icebergs and icy water, penguins and seals! Her imagination bursts at every turn, making it harder and harder for her to step foot in the pool.

Until she get the chance to be a hero. Holly may be scared, but she is a very brave girl.

Why I like this: Beautifully illustrated in bright fresh colors. This is a Walt Disney Studio Artist Showcase book and one can easily see why. Cute overload this story has great value on helping kids who fear water. Holly has the “what if…” fear but deep down she is a brave girl and learns to overcome her fear of the water. Kids will relate to Holly and I’m sure many parents are baffled at how to help them overcome their fear of the water.    I know one of my brothers was scared of the water and it was because he had been struck by a wave, me on the other hand loved the water.  This is so adorable and a great gift for mums with toddlers, and young children.

Resources/Findings: This is Benson’s website showing clips and processes on such other projects he has worked on such as Frozen, Big Hero 6, and Moana to name a few. …     http://bensonshum.com/contact-us/

Great ways of overcoming a child’s fear of the water….   http://www.wikihow.com/Ease-a-Child%27s-Fear-of-the-Water

Getting kids used to water can start in the backyard with games such as water pistols and small paddling pools and blowing bubbles. This gets kids used to water and having water over their faces which is often one of the main reasons they don’t like to get into a pool. The fear of water in their eyes or nose.         https://www.popsugar.com/moms/6-Tips-Helping-Kids-Overcome-Fear-Water-27331161

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 MOUSE SO SMALL

Written by: Angela McAllister

Illustrated by: Caroline Pedler

Published by: Little Tiger Press 2015

Ages:   3 – 6 years

Theme: size, friendship, caring

Opening Lines: A cold wind rustled through the wood. “Autumn is nearly over,” Bear told Millie Mouse. “It’s time for my long winter sleep.” Millie gave Bear a hug. His tummy rumbled. “Are you hungry?” she asked.

Synopsis: It’s time for Bear to go to sleep for the winter, and even though he’s hungry, he doesn’t have time to eat first. His best friend, Molly, wants to help him and decides to gather food for him — a task that proves to be very tricky for a small mouse! She might be small but she has a BIG heart.

Why I like this: Caroline’s soft coloured pencil and watercolour illustrations are gorgeous adding a whimsical touch to an already very cute story. The story has everything, heart; right from the first page little Molly the mouse gives Bear a hug and shows concern for her big burly friend. An unlikely friendship; no matter size, shape or colour, friendship knows no bounds. The rule of three’s appearing; in Molly’s attempt to pick the blackberries, then the offers of help from three friendly critters. Her attempts to get the fruit to Bear before he takes his winter nap and there are even three blackberries. The tension builds when she loses the fruit down the hill and Molly learns it’s the thought that counts. Such an awe ending and a cover that you just have to pick up, kids will love this.

Resources/Findings: Angela McAllister is a published adapter, author (over 30 books), illustrator, and a narrator of children’s books. Some of the published credits of Angela McAllister include Blue Rabbit, Jack and Lily, Adventures of Little Wombat, and Digory and the Lost King. A link to other books you may wish to locate…   https://www.jacketflap.com/angela-mcallister/8234

A great link on how to be a good friend, what to do and not do…   http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&id=1636&np=286

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

At 12.51 pm on the 22nd February 2011 a magnitude 6.30 earthquake struck Christchurch.  Five months previously a magnitude 7.1 quake rocked the city and the Canterbury region.  The children of Christchurch and of Canterbury have suffered greatly as a result of these earthquakes and this book is dedicated to them.   Royalties from this book will be donated to support the Save the Children Journey of Hope Programme in Christchurch and other related New Zealand projects.

The above notation is from the inside front cover and back of the following book written by a Nelson (NZ) woman who wanted to do something to help the children of Christchurch.

The Butterfly and the Earthquake

Written by: Carol McKeever

Illustrated by: Ned Barraud

Published by: First Edition Ltd 2011

Ages:   2 – 6 years

Theme: earthquake, fear, butterflies, hugs, awareness

Opening Lines: Tuesday morning was a very ordinary morning except that Tom was not at school. He had the chicken pox and even though he was feeling fine, he wasn’t allowed back to school.

Synopsis: Tom’s experience of the Christchurch Earthquake leaves him feeling frightened, angry and sad, but with the help of his parents he knows that he will be okay. The story is designed to be read to children by a supportive adult who can help with any memories or emotions that may arise as a result of the story.

Why I like this: In a clear, no-nonsense way this story unfolds of Tom’s day. Ordinary except that he had chicken pox so had to stay home from school. His sister went off to school his Dad to work in the city. His Mum was in the kitchen and Tom decided to check on his swan plants which were being stripped bare. There were some cocoons attached and he was sitting watching a Monarch butterfly flying about when it suddenly dropped to the ground. An earthquake erupts. What appears as only a minute to an adult can feel like hours to a child. Tom remembers what he had learnt at school in the event of an earthquake. I loved how it showed that in the moment Tom is brave and together, comforting his mum, going with her to pick up his sister and checking on a neighbour. It’s only later while checking on the Butterflies that his real feelings surface and his Dad knows what to do to make him feel safe. Adults will pick up on the analogy with the Butterfly that life does go on   The big bold illustrations in soft pencil colours are full page, again depicting the simplicity of this story with a strong message.

Resources/Findings: Throughout New Zealand in schools, the workplace and in the home we are encouraged to have a container of emergency supplies in the event of an earthquake. Do you have one?

Here are five fun ways to help small kids prepare for an earthquake…. http://storethisnotthat.com/5-ways-prepare-children-earthquake/

Here is a great little video for kids in class to watch…..     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmFHOgP35vo

This is a lovely post about the author Carol McKeever why she wrote the story and in how she felt it was important for adults to know their role is in ensuring a child feels safe and overcomes the experience of an earthquake.  Also this book maybe out of print now, but there is a further link within this post where you may be able to obtain a copy.    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU1110/S00046/childrens-book-released-the-butterfly-and-the-earthquake.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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