“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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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

I thought it was about time I reviewed and shared another lovely kiwi picture book. This is true kiwi fun.

A Hippo Lives in Havelock

Written by: Brett Avison

Illustrated by: Scott Tulloch

Published by: David Bateman Ltd, New Zealand 2015

Ages:   2 – 6 years

Theme: fitting in, being accepted.

Opening Lines: When the hippo came to Havelock, no one quite knew what to do. There are no hippos in New Zealand. Well, only in the zoo.

Synopsis: Imagine the reaction when a hippo comes to live in the little South Island town of Havelock!

Brett Avison’s witty text and Scott Tulloch’s (no relation) irresistible illustrations reflect the small-town life we Kiwis are familiar with – the postie on a bike, our wildlife and seashells, the town hall and community gardens – making it a quintessential New Zealand story.

Why I like this: I couldn’t help but giggle at the idea of a hippo strolling into town anywhere in New Zealand let alone the small country town of Havelock. The rollicking rhyming text with typical kiwi humour and yes we can even make use of hippo poo. And although we might complain a little, kiwis are known for having everyone’s best interest at heart and hippo becomes a part of the community, even the tourists join in Scott Tulloch’s detailed illustrations depict things us Kiwis are familiar with: the NZ Post postie on a bike, camping scenes, the Cook Strait ferry, campervans, our wildlife and seashells, colonial wooden buildings, town halls and community gardens. Brett Avison is the author of bestselling children’s titles – A Bigger Digger, Stuck in the Muck and Ducks to Water. He lives in Havelock with his wife, cat and dog. This is a great book for kids and reading in class.

Resources/Findings: http://www.fishpond.co.nz/Books/Hippo-Lives-Havelock-Brett-Avison-Scott-Tulloch-Illustrated-by/9781869539313?gclid=CjwKEAjwr_rIBRDJzq-Z-LC_2HgSJADoL57HkC0aHg2-jJMBJzA-bgRx9sMCiQQNZOBfdAiScdsrShoCbCfw_wcB

Illustrator’s blog…   http://scottlucyt.wixsite.com/scotttulloch

Ask the kids to write down a favourite animal they would like to come and live in their town and why? Now write how that animal would be able to help their community.

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

Charley’s First Night

Written by: Amy Hest

Illustrated by: Helen Oxenbury

Published by: Walker Books Ltd 2012

Ages:   3 – 7 years

Theme: pet, responsibility, home

Opening Lines: It was snowing that night and Charley wanted me to carry him home.

Synopsis: From Amazon…   Two of our most beloved picture book creators team up to tell a classic story of a child, his new puppy, and a first night home.

On Charley’s first night, Henry carries his new puppy in his old baby blanket all the way to his house. He shows Charley every room, saying, “This is home, Charley.” He says that a lot so that Charley will know that he is home. Henry’s parents are very clear about who will be walking and feeding Charley (Henry will, and he can’t wait). They are also very clear about where Charley will be sleeping: Charley will be sleeping in the kitchen. But when the crying starts in the middle of the night, Henry knows right away that it’s Charley! And it looks like his parents’ idea about where Charley is going to sleep may have to change. With warmth, humor, and endearing simplicity, Amy Hest tells a tale familiar to everyone who has loved a puppy, while Helen Oxenbury renders each tender gesture and charming detail in a beauty of a book that children will be eager to take home.

Why I like this: In a word – Timeless. The gorgeous soft coloured illustrations, the simple text of a boy and a dog’s first night are touching. Children will love this story. They can see themselves in this. (if they don’t already have a puppy they are gonna be asking for one.) I loved that it gently teaches responsibility and rules. Although, there may be exceptions. Who can resist the cute expressions and realistic actions of Charley Right to the end you will be saying aww…

Resources/Findings:

Here is a reading of the book….   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg3gGJHn6jY

Puppy’s first night home tips….     https://www.puppyspot.com/content/2016/04/18/make-puppy-feel-at-home/

Good training tips with new puppies… http://www.perfectpaws.com/frstwk.html#.WRYtK8u1tjo

Teaching preschool children how to make 3D pets…   http://www.brighthubeducation.com/preschool-crafts-activities/39784-preschool-pet-crafts-make-a-3d-pet-and-a-pet-bulletin-board-for-your-preschoolers/

In my researching I came across a lovely review from my buddy Joanna, (we both love animals)…   http://joannamarple.com/2013/01/11/charleys-first-night-perfect-picture-book-friday/

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 Little Piano Girl

Written by: Ann Ingalls and Maryann Macdonald

Illustrated by: Giselle Potter

Published by: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 2010

Ages:   5 – 8 years

Theme: music, jazz, acceptance, non-fiction,

Opening Lines: The night she left Georgia, Mary couldn’t see anything but lights out the train window…but she could hear. She listened to the train and clapped out its sound on her knees. She sang the sound of its whistle. “Chug-ga, chug-ga, chug-ga…Toot! Toot!”

Synopsis: From Amazon – What if you loved music more than anything? Suppose you had just learned to play the piano. Imagine that your family has to move to a new city and you have to leave your piano behind. People don’t like you in the new city because of what you look like. How will you make yourself feel better? Mary Lou Williams, like Mozart, began playing the piano when she was four; at eight she became a professional musician. She wrote and arranged music for Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and was one of the most powerful women in jazz. This is the story of Mary Lou’s childhood in Pittsburgh, where she played the piano for anyone who would listen.

Why I like this: This is a beautiful story about the music legend Mary Lou Williams. Her love of Jazz, especially at a very young age, shifting from home to home and being accepted. I loved how the story concentrates on her childhood (as one reviewer on amazon put it… the story is upbeat and there is no unnecessary background information) showing how the piano was her life, it made her happy when she was sad. It brought people into her life, and helped her through difficult times as a child. She realized how powerful music was and enjoyed playing to anyone who would listen. A small Afterword near the back of the book gives a brief overview of Mary Lou Williams music career. Giselle’s illustrations of the doll-like figures and patterned background give a period look in deep colours. This is an excellent book for use in the classroom giving children an introduction to Jazz music and accepting others of diverse backgrounds. The authors  of this book are sisters and love music.

Resources/Findings:  Hear the story being read here…   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrEnqpZvHig

A Teachers guide in first lessons in teaching beginner piano players…   http://www.alfred.com/img/pdf/Piano/8889_TchGde_PrepA.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

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“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

THAT’S WHEN I KNEW A Big Sister’s Tale

Written and Illustrated by: Claire Alexander

Published by: PaRragon Books; 1st edition (December 13, 2013)

Ages:   3 – 6 years

Theme: Siblings, Connection, new baby

Opening Lines: My name is Poppy, and I am the smallest bunny in my family. Everyone called me Baby until…

Synopsis: From Amazon – All the family loves the new baby. But Poppy isn’t sure … Her baby brother just sleeps and eats and cries and cries! But one night his crying suddenly stops: Poppy’s baby brother reaches out to her and, holding him close, she realizes something very special … A sincere and tender celebration of sibling love.

Why I like this: Oh this is such a cute story. The soft colourful fluffy illustrations are perfect for the text. The youngest member of the family is a little unsure of the new arrival especially when everyone’s attention is focused on the bundle that won’t stop crying. But then there is a moment, a connection….   This will appeal to kids and adults alike. A great read aloud.

(This story so resonated with me. As an older sister devastated the new baby wasn’t a sister at first, I suddenly had this connection. I could get him to smile at the right time, go to sleep at the drop of a hat and he would run to me for a cuddle or be picked up. Through nappy changes and feeding times we grew up very close.)

Resources/Findings: I found some websites regarding preparing your child for the new arrival….     http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sibling-prep.html

http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/preparing-for-a-new-baby-sibling

Such cute pictures of siblings with the new arrival… https://nz.pinterest.com/explore/newborn-sibling-pictures/?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

BEFORE I LEAVE

Written and Illustrated by: Jessixa Bagley

Published by: Neal Porter Book – Roaring Brook Press 2016

Ages:   5 – 7 years

Theme: friendship, separation, endurance

Opening Lines: I found out we’re moving. Mom said I needed to pack.

Synopsis: From Amazon – How do you say goodbye to your best friend?

When a little hedgehog’s family tells her they’re moving far away, she and her anteater best friend decide to play one last time, like nothing is changing. And though it’s hard, they discover that while some things have to change, the most important things find a way of working out.

Why I like this: Families move from house to house for many reasons, upgrade, better housing, work, schools etc… and kids will find themselves in this position at some time having to say goodbye to a best friend. When Zelda the hedgehog tells Bagley an anteater that she is moving, she decides they should play just one last time as if nothing has changed. By doing so, they make memories that they can share and remember long after they have moved away. The whole story told in one line sentence per page from Zelda’s thoughts, is incredibly touching and the finer details, the playfulness, and tender moments are all captured in the illustrations. The less than one hundred word text spread through forty pages is accompanied by wistful watercolour illustrations and fine pencil lines. I loved the seesaw page as I don’t think Bagley ever gets to sore through the air like we see Zelda doing. A great book for both home and in school libraries. The message is clear and simple

Resources/Findings: If you wanna catch up with Jessixa her blog is…..   http://www.jessixa.com/about-native/

Some great activity ideas for kids about best friends.   Such as writing down what makes a friend. Or write and draw an activity they love to do with a friend. Here is the website….   https://www.curiousworld.com/blog/projects-for-building-friendships

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 Green Umbrella

Written by: Jackie Azua Kramer

Illustrated by: Maral Sassouni

Published by: North South Inc 2017

Ages:   4 – 8 years

Theme: Imagination, Friendship, Sharing, Adventure

Opening Lines: One rainy day an Elephant was taking a walk with his green umbrella. Along came a Hedgehog.

Synopsis: From Amazon – When Elephant takes a peaceful walk with his green umbrella, he’s interrupted by Hedgehog, Cat, Bear, and Rabbit—all claiming that they’ve had exciting adventures with his umbrella. After all, it is an umbrella, and it certainly hasn’t been on any adventures more exciting than a walk in the rain. Or has it?

Why I like this: I don’t just like it. I love this gorgeous story, a debut between Jackie and Maral of imagination, sharing and friendship. Firstly the cover is gorgeous and I first giggled thinking the elephant was flying with his green umbrella. With colourful illustrations of animals with such cute expressions, there is a magical feel right down to the “Mary Poppin-like” umbrella in the umbrella stand. Jackie uses imagination to the max as Elephant comes across Hedgehog, Cat, Bear, and Rabbit on his walk with his umbrella. Each tries to explain that the umbrella is theirs and the adventures they have had with his umbrella. But Elephant is not so easily fooled. Things aren’t always what they seem in this charming tale and fun read aloud.

Resources/Findings: Here is a beautiful animated trailer of the book….   https://vimeo.com/198642637

Jackie’s website – learn more about Jackie and The Green Umbrella…     https://www.jackieazuakramer.com/new-page-c18i6

It wasn’t till I was about to post this on my blog that I remembered where I had first seen this story and the lovely Q and A with the author. Oh well I couldn’t resist reviewing it too…   Here she chats with Joanna on Miss Marple’s Musings… http://joannamarple.com/2017/02/07/q-a-with-jackie-azua-kramer-and-maral-sassouni/

Great video on making paper elephants… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t-c5w3ux2U

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

Dormouse Dreams

Written by: Karma Wilson

Illustrated by: Renata Liwska

Published by: Disney Hyperion February 2017

Ages:   2 – 5 years

Theme: Dreams, Friendships

Opening Lines: Deep in the woods, in a pine tree house, curled up in a ball sleeps a little dormouse.

Synopsis: From Amazon – As Dormouse dreams–and snores–his way from winter to spring, he imagines going on fantastical adventures with his best dormouse friend. Whimsical illustrations feature other animals entertaining themselves with dart games, cross-country skiing, flying airplanes, and more while Dormouse hibernates. Readers can also follow the friend’s journey to Dormouse’s house, where she wakes him up for some real life pleasures, including daydreaming. This is the perfect bedtime book to snuggle up with when spring isn’t coming fast enough.

Why I like this: The gorgeous soft wispy, brush illustrations give a soft magical feel to this sweet text written by Karma. In smooth unforced rhyme the young critters play in the snow while Dormouse dreams on. Cleverly the illustrations show his little friend prepares and then travels through the snow to visit Dormouse. He is woken when she arrives at his door and they scurry off to play – or do they? Is it just a dream? Guess you will have to check out this beautiful story and curl up with a small child and read it to them as they drift off to sleep. A perfect story while waiting for spring in your part of the world. Night everyone.

Resources/Findings: Here is Karma’s website…. http://www.karmawilson.com/

Some fun facts about Dormouse…   http://ipfactly.com/dormouse/

Here is a step by step sheets on how to draw a dormouse…   https://www.drawingtutorials101.com/how-to-draw-a-dormouse-printable

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

LITTLE OWL’S EGG

Written by: Debi Gliori

Illustrated by: Alison Brown

Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing London 2016

Ages:   3 – 6

Theme: Love, sibling rival,

Opening Lines: Little Owl’s mummy had some very exciting news. She had laid a beautiful egg.

Synopsis: From Amazon – I’m your baby owl. You don’t need a new one. Little Owl isn’t pleased to hear that there’s a baby owl in the egg Mummy has laid. So Mummy pretends it might be a baby penguin …or crocodile …or elephant. In the fun of imagining different kinds of siblings, Little Owl realises that a baby owl might just be the best thing of all. A gentle, lovely story about the arrival of a new sibling, addressing fears that Mummy’s love will stop.

Why I like this: The beautiful cover, of pop-eyed cute owls looking at the new egg in the nest and the title of the book in gold lettering, screamed pick me, pick me. The full page illustrations are gorgeous, bright and expressive. Little Owl becomes fearful his mum will not love him as much when the new baby arrives. When she talks to him about what the new arrival might look like his imagination runs away and soon teaches him that a baby owl will be the best thing of all. I loved the way the text first has Mum suggesting what the new arrival might be and then the role is reversed with little owl suggesting what the new arrival might be. (a kind of reverse psychology) Very cleverly done with an aww… ending.

Debi Gliori is a bestselling author/illustrator of over 75 books for children, including the bestselling No Matter What and the Mr Bear series. She lives near Edinburgh.

Resources/Findings: Here is Debi’s website where you can view the pages of this beautiful story….     http://www.debiglioribooks.com/little-owls-egg

Here is a great video of Debi telling us about herself and her writing and painting…   http://www.culturestreet.org.uk/channel_artist.php?channel=book&id=5

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

KITE DAY – A Bear and Mole Story

Written and Illustrated by:   Will Hillenbrand

Published by: Holiday House New York 2012

Ages:   3 – 6

Theme: friendship, teamwork, possibilities, fun

Opening Lines: Bear looked at the sky. Could it be? He wondered. He tilted his head up. Whiff. Whiff. Whiff.

Synopsis: Bear pops outside to check on the weather and declares it Kite Day. So with the help of his good friend Mole they construct a kite and set off to fly it. When a storm erupts and the kite string breaks Bear and Mole chase after it only to discover there are more possibilities in flying a kite.

Why I like this: Now if you’re looking to write a kite story and you know that spare text is essential and use of three’s encourages participation and fun, not to mention a little tension to build anticipation with a satisfying unexpected ending. Then this is an ideal book. Will’s simple pencilled coloured drawings of soft colours are beautiful and go hand in hand with the sparse text. With often only two lines a page one is forced to turn the page to see what happens next. I loved the team work of Bear and Mole working to make the kite. A universal theme, an unexpected ending and an eye catching cover this is one kid friendly book to be enjoyed again and again.

Goodness me if Bear and Mole can make a kite and fly it then so can you…. And me!

Resources/Findings: A lovely reading of the book here…     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_2yndbysJg

A great read for Kite day at school.

How to make a simple kite….     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfYeel7L8rU

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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