Archive for the ‘Perfect Picture Book Fridays’ Category

Get out your pencils, crayons and journals – you’re going to want to write after you read this book.   It makes you feel like everyone can have fun writing a book and even illustrating!!  My Perfect Picture Book pick is…..

Title:  Bunny Loves to WriteBunny Loves to Write (Parragon Read-Along)

Author:   Peter Bently

Illustrator:   Emma Foster & Deborah Melmon

Publisher: Parragon Books 2013

Genre: Fiction

Audience Age:  2-10

Themes/Topics: Creativity/Friends

Opening Sentences: One day, Buster was going out to play.  “Always carrying a book!” chuckled Mom.  “What is it this time, Buster?

Synopsis: Buster Bunny has  to write a story for school.  He can’t think of any ideas until his friends give him plenty of ideas.

Why I like it:  Mr. Bently has written a wonderful story that inspires creativity using everyday things around us.  When I read it to my grands they immediately wanted to draw and write.  Buster  and his friends write a story together and illustrate it in his journal.  The journal becomes a story within a story.  The illustrators use beautifully bright, large watercolor illustrations combined with a collage feel of photos and textures.  The journal looks like a real handwritten journal and is illustrated with line drawings.  It even inspired me with an idea for a classroom project.

 Activities & Resources:   Give your child a simple journal or blank book and let them write their own story.  Cut out some magazine pictures or textures and let your child glue them in the journal to illustrate their story.

Here is a link to some wonderful story starter pictures for young children.

Availability:  Major Booksellers.   Also available as a Nook book from Barnes & Noble.

(Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)

Enjoy the read and blessings on your creativity today!!

Laura (Grandmamiller)


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I hope no one is allergic to cats – but even if you are….grab a kleenex and enjoy this wonderful little book.   You’ll probably have to grab it at the library – but you will enjoy the wonderful illustrations.

Title:   Cats Know Best

Author:   Colin Eisler

Illustrator:   Leslie Anne Ivory

Publisher: Dial Books, 1988

Genre: Fiction

Audience Age: 2-8  

Themes/Topics: Cats

Opening Sentences: Cats know the best places to be.  Where to stay warm…or keep cool.

Synopsis: A simple story of the sometimes silly, lazy, indifferent behavior of cats and their day complemented with beautiful illustrations.

Why I like it:  At only 103 words, it is a lovely, quick read that leaves you with a cozy feeling.  The illustrations are gorgeous.  Ms Ivory loves cats and you can tell. I’m sure I hear purring every time I read it.   The backgrounds vary from quilts and rugs and trees and barnyards to indoor parlors and china teacups to outdoor kittens and snowflakes.   Each page invites paying attention to details.  On the quilt page for instance my grandgirls have to find the hidden pictures in the quilt.   My grandchildren know this is a special Grandma’s book and they like to ask for it.  They enjoy tracking and finding all the little kittens and their particular favorite cat.  They range from tuxedo cats, to tabbys, longhair, to Siamese.  There are kittens in dresser drawers and cats in the barn.  The cats on the inside covers beg to be counted each time.  And if you want to know all the names of the cats,  those are listed under the author’s thank yous.

Activities/Resources:  Catly activities of course.  Here is a link to cat crafts, cat games, cat math, cat science and even cat treats!

Availability: This is an older book but well worth seeking out at your library or used book store.  Some used (inexpensive paperback)and new (pricey) copies are available through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

 (Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)

Enjoy the read!

Laura (Grandmamiller)

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While I was deciding which picture book to recommend for this final week before summer break, I seemed to develop a headache between my eyes.  It was then I noticed the cat had come into the den and was sitting on the piano bench (which she never does).  She was decidedly staring at the spot between my eyes.  I tried rubbing, no good.  It was then she (the cat) seemed to communicate, ‘You’ve written about  dogs, the rabbit (multiple times-ugh), and not at all about cats!  What gives?’   More thudding between my eyes.   I could take a hint……  So this weeks pick, not at all influenced by any outside source is:

Title: Curious Kitties, A colors bookCurious Kitties: A Color Book

Author:   Sam McKendry

Illustrator:   Melanie Mitchell

Publisher: Piggy Toes Press (don’t you love that name?) 2005

Genre: fiction

Audience Age: 2-5

Themes/Topics: Colors, Kittens

Opening Sentences: “Curious kitty playing on the floor.  Do you know what the yarn is for?”

Synopsis: A litter of kittens discover different colors of yarn while playing.  A fun book to learn colors.

Why I like it:  This large board book has a delightful feature.  As you open 100_9690each page a new string of yarn appears and runs from the left to right.  Each successive page an additional  string appears in a new color (6 altogether).

The kitties have their own story about guessing what the yarn will make.  The story itself is done in rhyming couplets without mention of the colors, which is left to you to name.  The final page has a fun pop-up of all the kitties rocking in a basket with mama kitty.

The art, by Melanie Mitchell, has cute kitties with a soft fuzzy pastel appearance.  The background colors change to match the new yarn color.

This book has a place on “Grandma’s Shelf” of picture books (those special books that we want to preserve.) Curious Kitties  has been in our family for about 3 years and is now on its 4th grandchild.    The grandkids love turning the pages and touching the strings of yarn.  They  like to turn to their favorite color page and as they get older they start counting the number of yarn strings.  Myself – I’d like to take the book apart just to see how they cleverly got all the strings to work.  But I can’t do that because it goes on the ‘special shelf.’

Activities/Resources: 1)You could play I spy with your child, naming the color they need to find.   2)Name a color and see how many things you can think of that are that color.  Also here is a wonderful resource page that has multiple color lessons and even other color related books.   http://www.perfectlypreschool.com/Preschool-Lesson-Plans/Colors/index.php

Availability:   Major booksellers

(Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)  We will all be taking a summer break from PPBF and will be back in the fall.

Well that’s all for this week….hmmm…my cat seems satisfied–she left the room….and I think my headache is going away……

Blessings and enjoy the book!

Laura (Grandmamiller)

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I’ve been playing catch up all week from being gone last weekend (that’s why I couldn’t do PPBF).  If you didn’t know, my hubby received his Doctorate in Ministry from Newburgh Theological Seminary in Indiana.  We drove down to Evansville and attended the ceremonies. His mom was also able to attend with us.  Here’s a picture of Tom and I after the event.

"Dr." Tom and Me

“Dr.” Tom and Me

Tom did not announce his calling into ministry until late, he was 37. [I guess that’s customary in our family…I didn’t pursue this career until Sept of 2011 (at age 57).]  He has continually studied.  He got his bachelors in religious education, then a master’s in Divinity and then another master’s in religious education.  His studies have never stopped.  And he’s already planning, researching and praying about what comes next.

I think that’s why I love Perfect Picture Book Friday so much.  It’s like studying and research, with beautiful pictures and THERE’S NO TEST!!!  And I have all of you as fellow friends and students.  And here’s my research for this week…

Title: Dewey (There’s A Cat In The Library) Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library!

Author:   Vicki Myron and Bret Witter

Illustrator:   Steve James

Publisher: Little Brown & Co. , 2009

Genre: Fiction

Audience Age: 2-8

Themes/Topics: Cats, Library, Kindness

Opening Sentences: Every night, people left books in the return box of the library in the small town of Spencer, Iowa.  Funny books, big books, truck books, pig books – they left them all.  But one night, on the coldest night of the year, someone left a strange surprise…A tiny kitten.

Synopsis: A tiny shivering kitten left in the book drop box becomes a library cat.  He warms not only stacks of books, but the hearts of all the visitors.  But how does he adjust to the children who like to chase him, pull his tail and squeeze too tight?

Why I like it:  Having read the original “Dewey,”  a true story written for adults, I was thrilled to find this adaptation for children.  The story of an abandoned kitten who becomes the town’s library cat is wonderful at any age and better with gorgeous illustrations.  Cat lovers will appreciate his antics especially when he has to get a shy little girl to warm up to him.   Dewey also has to adapt to a few problems, like being pulled and poked and carried upside down,  which he manages to figures out on his own.   The illustrations, by Steve James,  are beautifully done in Corel Painter X.  They have the appearance of soft pastels so it looks like you can pet Dewey’s soft fluffy fur.

Activities/Resources:  Dewey has his own website, and you can find some  related activities for kids based on  Dewey.  And if you’d like another Dewey book check out my Christmas review of  Dewey’s Christmas At the Library.

Also discuss the problem of people abandoning animals.  Talk about the importance of being responsible with pets and caring for them.  Also talk about animal rescues and adopting animals like the library adopted Dewey.

Availability:  Major Book Sellers

(Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)

Enjoy the book and blessings on your day!

Laura (Grandmamiller)

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For Doodle Day May #16 our topic was SPACE.  Alison (the creator of Doodle Day May) put no constraint on our imaginations for this doodle.   I decided to doodle this in photoshop.   I’m still familiarizing myself with it’s features so this was a good practice.  Several things in this that I would change, some proportions (those tiny images were hard with the wacom).  I would probably do the skyline in pencil and paper and scan it in next time – but I was at 30 minutes – so I made myself stop.

Short funny story about comets-My husband and I love star gazing (as long as the mosquitoes aren’t too bad, or it’s not too cold.)  The last time Haley’s comet was around our youngest was an infant.  We bundled her up and drove into the country away from light pollution,  and sat for 2 hours in the middle of the night trying to see the comet.  No luck – the only thing we got was a wide awake baby when we got home.  A couple weeks later – my husband worked nights at the time – about 3 in the morning, hubby comes home,  wakes me up and says – you have to get up you can see Haley’s comet plain as day!  So bleary eyed and staggering I got dressed…socks…boots…extra layers…it was COLD…Tom kept urging me to hurry….mittens….scarf…..’C’mon, you’ll miss it’…..stiff-walked into the back yard, squinting at the sky…. “Where is it??   I don’t see it,” I said.   Several yards from me my dear, loving, considerate husband shouts, “APRIL FOOL’s!!!”

Anyway…  on to my Perfect Picture Book pick for the week.

Title: Baby Brains and RoboMom    (Note:  in the UK it is RoboMum)

Baby Brains & RoboMom by Simon James

Author/Illustrator:                        Simon James

Publisher: Candlewick Press (2008)

Genre: Fiction

Audience Age: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Problem Solving, Family

Opening Sentences: Before Baby Brains was born, Mrs. Brains ate lots of fish and nuts, which are good foods for brains.

Synopsis: The smartest baby in the world builds a robot mom to give his tired mommy a break from the chores, but things don’t go as planned.

Why I like it:  This was my introduction to ‘Baby Brains.’  which is actually the third book in the series. The others are Baby Brains: The Smartest Baby in the Whole World and Baby Brains: Superstar.    I definitely plan to find these first two to enjoy.  The Brains parents seem to be an average, loving  and hard working couple who have the smartest baby around.  They patiently hold pencils while Baby sits at the drafting board planning and creating his newest invention… like a remote-controlled, self-rocking cradle or a motorized stroller.   Baby notices how tired his mommy is so he lovingly creates RoboMom.  The busy metal mom hustles to do all the chores and then some.  However, we see Baby Brains missing the human touch and the parents perplexed at how to intervene.   When an explosion occurs (don’t worry everyone is safe–well almost everyone)  the problem resolves itself and Baby Brains learns to be a little more careful with his inventions.

Despite the difference between Baby’s extreme intelligence and his average parents you are able to discern the family’s love for one another.  The parent’s acceptance of their unique child and his desire to help give his parents a much needed rest and provide the heart of the story.  James’ illustrations are delightful sketchy, watercolor and ink.  One comment I read said they have a Quentin Blake (Big Friendly Giant) quality to them and I agree.

My granddaughters  (almost 3 and 4 1/2) liked the story and were really intrigued by Baby’s inventions, wanting to know what he was doing at the drawing board and how he could make those things.  It was also a requested re-read.

Activities/Resources:   Mr. James has an awesome website (check it out), a demonstration page on Youtube and he has colouring pages available.  There is one of Baby Brains where Mr. James leaves it to you to draw in YOUR picture of Baby’s invention. (I ran off one for myself  🙂 )

There are sooo many online resources about inventors and inventions.  Start by talking about what an ‘invention’ is.  Ask your child if they can think of something to invent that would help around your house.  Perhaps a machine to put away the toys.  What would they make it out of?   Have then draw a picture of what it would look like.  Here is a simple lesson plan  to help spark creativity using boxes, pipe cleaners, glue tape and all kinds of scrap material.

Availability: Major book sellers.

(Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)

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Critters (Monet & Sully)

Critters (Monet & Sully)

Critters Playing & Ignoring

Critters Playing & Ignoring

Double the fun today!   Doodle Day May courtesy of Alison Hertz  is still going on….yesterday’s doodle prompt was critters.  Since our house is crawling with them (the good kind, not the creepy kind), I picked our cat and rabbit to doodle.  They play every evening together.  The bunny whose name is Sully, chases the cat down the hall.  The cat, Monet, will then stop, turn around and chase the rabbit.  Then she’ll bat Sully on the head, sometimes hug him and then it usually ends with the cat sitting on the rabbit’s head.  It all takes place in about 2 minutes time while the dog, a choc. lab watches.  She wants to get involved, but she’s afraid the cat will sit on her head.

Now on to the double part of the fun,  my pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday, another book about a bigger critter:

Title: Farley Follows His NoseFarley Follows His Nose

Author:   Lynn Johnston & Beth Cruikshank

Illustrator:   Lynn Johnston

Publisher: Bowen Press, 2009

Genre: Fiction

Audience Age: 2-8

Themes/Topics: Dogs, Senses

Opening Sentences:  “It was a beautiful summer morning, and Farley’s bath was over at last.  Farley shook himself and drew in a deepbreath.  Baths always made Farley hungry, but in the breeze he smelled [and this is the way the book presents them] rosesfreshcutgrasssweatypeoplethecatnextdoor and….HOT DOGS!”

Synopsis: Farley, the dog, from that wonderful comic strip, “For Better or Worse,” follows his nose from one good smell to another all over town.  Along the way he finds a little lost boy and helps to return him home by using his sense of smell.

Why I like it:  When I found this at the library, I squeaked with delight.  Farley is an old friend of the family.  As our girls were growing up we would read the comic strip ‘For Better or Worse’ to them.  When I found this on the shelf I knew I would love it – and I did.  And when my now grown daughters saw the book they both squealed too.   In the book Farley turns out to be an accidental hero. Fresh from a bath and without his collar he takes off when he smells hot dogs.  Farley goes from one smell to the next becoming an unacclaimed hero while he’s at it.  In an interesting and humorous way the story teaches about a dog’s  amazing sense of smell.     The illustrations are wonderful – I love the one of Farley jumping in a kiddy pool, then shaking off.  When I read this to my grands they loved it.    As a matter of fact, before our reading session ended, the 4 year old pulled it from the stack and wanted it re-read. Reading advice:  make sure when you read you do lots of sniffing, snuffling and snorfing sound effects.  (If you’re reading to children that is – otherwise you’ll just look silly.)

Activities/Resources:  I wanted to note that ‘Farley’ has his own foundation in Canada.  http://www.farleyfoundation.org/ assists people in need by subsidizing the cost of veterinary care for their sick/injured pets.

Teachers and Moms can also discuss animals’ very important sense of smell.  There is a lesson plan here about using your sense of smell.  Another set of lesson plans, and a recipe to  make chocolate scented play dough. (Are you listening, Susanna?)

Availability: From the Author,  Library, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.  (I couldn’t determine for certain, but it may be out of print.  However there were multiple copies available in new and used condition at these two sellers.)

(Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the book!

Laura (Grandmamiller)

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Itty-bitty Bounce

Itty-bitty Bounce

Regular PPBF readers will note a short addition to today’s post.  I’m also participating with  Alison Hertz‘ (author of FLAP!) challenge to Doodle every Day in May.  Alison has created a FACEBOOK GROUP called DOODLE DAY MAY so join the challenge and the group.  It’s for ALL ages and ALL abilities.You can even still join in the fun.

Here is today’s doodle from me (you can scroll backwards to see my other doodles.)

Now on to a delightful pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday:

Title: Big Chickens Fly the Coop  Big Chickens Fly the Coop

Author:   Leslie Helakoski

Illustrator:   Henry Cole

Publisher: Penguin Books 2008

Genre: Hilarious Fiction

Audience Age: 2-8

Themes/Topics: Bravery, Chickens

Opening Sentences: Four big chickens sat on their nests and sighed.  It’s nice and safe at home in the coop said one chicken.  Yes, said the others.  We should always stay home.  We could always stay home.  We would always stay home except…we’ve always wanted to see the farmhouse.

Synopsis: This is a sequel to the cowardly Big Chickens.   Once again the fearsome feathered friends step out of their comfort zone to explore the farmyard.

Why I like it:  I have to admit that this was not a favorite when I read thru the first time by myself…but when I read it to my grandchildren  I couldn’t control my giggles and chortles and guffaws!  Right away they got the silliness of the caper and were delighted by the goofy getups the chickens wore (skirts, aprons, and even boots).   It has become a repeat request from my 3 yr old granddaughter.  She asks for ‘the big scared chickens.’   You can almost hear the squawking and flapping just by looking at the lively, bright and humorous illustrations.  The expressions are comical in their wide eyed, wide mouthed panic as they explore the farm and encounter dogs, dirty tractors, and stampeding horses.   And don’t miss what these laughable ladies use for nesting boxes.  It is a fun barnyard adventure.

Activities/Resources:  The author, Leslie Helakoski, has lots of suggested activities on her website, from songs, fingerplays, popup cards and even lesson plans for older students on modifiers and figurative language.

Availability: Major booksellers  

(Susanna Leonard Hill is the originator of PPBF and you can find all the other PPB recommendations and links  on her blog.)

Enjoy the read and don’t forget to take time to doodle!!

Blessings, Laura (Grandmamiller)

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