Tag Archives: susanna leonard hill

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes by Kimberly and James Dean

16 Jun

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a nice story about forgiving others!

Pete the Cat and the Missing Cupcakes
By Kimberly and James Dean
40 pages – ages 3+
Will be Published by Chronicle Books on May 9, 2017

Theme/Topic- Forgiving
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Pete and Gus were as busy as could be. They were getting ready for the cupcake party. It started at three!”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Pete makes the best cupcakes!

Join Pete the Cat in a brand-new story and help him and his friends find the missing cupcakes! Pete the Cat and his friends are busy as can be baking cupcakes for a cupcake party, and Pete can’t wait to perform with his groovy band. But some of the cupcakes have gone missing. Who could have taken them? In this latest Pete the Cat picture book adventure, by New York Times bestselling authors James and Kimberly Dean, Pete and the gang solve the mystery of the missing cupcakes and learn that it’s cool to be kind.”

What I Thought- The Pete the Cat books are always top-notch, introducing great themes while having a great story and a groovy rhyme!  The Deans work well together, having created a nice book that talks about how you should always give others a second chance. The illustrations are the trademark groovy images that are always present in the Pete the Cat books, full of bright colors and funky patterns. I like that even though the cupcake thief is guilty, and knew not to eat the cupcakes, the other characters were a bit mad/upset, but then realized to give the thief another chance. It’s a great message, and it’s nice that the cupcake thief feels and looks happy after being forgiven. This is a really great series, and I cannot wait to see what else the Deans come up with!

Activities and Resources- Carmelmountainpreschool.com has a cute Pete The Cat cupcake craft HERE!

There are some cool cupcake coloring sheets at the Pete The Cat website – click HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! 7 Ate 9: The Untold Story by Tara Lazar

3 Jun

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a fun story involving numbers and word play!

7 Ate 9: The Untold Story
Written by Tara Lazar
Illustrated by Ross MacDonald
32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 16, 2017

Theme/Topic- Numbers
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I was dozing in my chair when an urgent banging on my office door bolted me awake.

‘7 is coming to get me,’ said 6.”

Synopsis from Publisher:

 “6 has a problem.

Everyone knows that 7 is always after him. Word on the street is that 7 ate 9. If that’s true, 6’s days are numbered. Lucky for him, Private I is on the case. But the facts just don’t add up.
 
It’s odd.
 
Will Private I put two and two together and solve the problem . . . or is 6 next in line to be subtracted?”

What I Thought- This is a great picture book collaboration from two great picture book creators! Lazar has a wacky sense for writing scenes kids will love, and MacDonald knows just how to bring those scenes to life. Lazar cleverly weaves the story with plenty of fun play-on-words, puns, idioms, irony, etc.  The illustrations utilize a lot of white-space, creating an old-timey feel; perfect for the detective-themed book.

The end pages are even really cool.

The story could teach kids a little bit about identifying numbers, and could introduce them to detective/private-eye stories too! The story is fun to read and I think adults will get a chuckle out of it as well as kids. I really like this picture book, and hope to see more from this great duo!

Activities and Resources- Handsonaswegrow.com has a nice list of number-activities for preschoolers HERE!

Learning4kids.net also has a good list of number activities HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer!

Want to learn more? Visit Tara Lazar’s website!
 

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Mine! by Jeff Mack

26 May

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a nice story about sharing!

Mine!
By Jeff Mack
40 pages – ages 3+

Will be Published by Chronicle Books on May 9, 2017

Theme/Topic- Sharing
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Mine!”

Synopsis from Publisher: “Start with one rock. Add two mice. The end result? A never-ending battle! Or is it? Using only one word, along with many brightly colored and lively illustrations, Jeff Mack brings his hallmark humor to this rollicking book that will have readers of every age reconsidering whether “Mine!” is the best answer.”

What I Thought- This was a fun book that had a theme on sharing. Mack has a way of using very few words to tell a story – in “Mine!”, he only uses the title word with varying repetition and punctuation to create the story. His illustrations are also very light-hearted, and read like a comic. Mack has a way of writing a wacky story that kids will enjoy reading.

Activities and Resources- There is a nice list of activities to teach sharing at Connectability.ca HERE!

Raisingchildren.net.au has a nice article with ideas on encouraging sharing HERE!

There is a good informational article from Handinhandparenting.org explaining about the psychological why kids want to share and act the way they do HERE!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Animal Ark by Kwame Alexander and by Joel Sartore

30 Apr

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is an awesome story about caring for animals in the wild.

Animal Ark
Written by Kwame Alexander
Photography by Joel Sartore
48 pages – ages 4+

Published by National Geographic Children’s Books on February 14, 2017

Theme/Topic- Animals/Endangered Animals
Genre- Nonfiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “chorus of creatures/singing our names/see what we can save-together

Synopsis from Publisher: “A howling wolf, a stalking tiger, a playful panda, a dancing bird – pairing the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore with the delicate poetry of Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander, this lush picture book celebrates the beauty, diversity, and fragility of the animal world.
Featuring more than 40 unique animal portraits, the pages invite kids to explore each creature’s markings, textures, and attributes in stunning detail, while calling on all of us to help protect each and every one. Three picture-packed gatefolds inside showcase even more familiar and exotic species. These images are part of Sartore’s lifelong project to photograph every animal in the world, with special attention given to disappearing and endangered species.”

What I Thought- This is a fascinating book. There is a poem that Alexander wrote that is throughout the book, that weaves together with the stunning photographs Sartore took of animals around the world. The reader easily gets lost in this wonderful visual spectacular and moving poetry! The poetry is all in haiku which (I think) makes it especially fun to read. There are a couple fold out pages where the photography spills out in an even larger visual display. The book will most certainly spark discussions about animal species and endangered species.There are author and illustrator notes in the back of the book which add to the meaning of the whole package  – also a section that lists the endangered species in the book as a summary. The book is a must read!

Activities and Resources- There is a good lesson plan for teachers on endangered species at Kidworldcitizen.org HERE!

There is also a good lesson plan for teachers on endangered species at Educationworld.com HERE!

Check out this video!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! I Am Not a Chair! by Ross Burach

1 Apr

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a fun story about speaking up!

I Am Not a Chair!
By Ross Burach
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on February 14, 2017

Theme/Topic- Speaking up for yourself

Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “On Giraffe’s first day in the jungle…
he felt something wasn’t right.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Grab the best seat in the house with this funny, touching picture book about a giraffe who keeps being mistaken for a chair!

From the acclaimed author-illustrator of There’s a Giraffe in My Soup, Ross Burach, comes a curious tale about finding one’s courage and standing up for oneself. Full of vibrant and playful illustrations and hilariously absurd logic, kids will want to read it again and again.

Could there be anything worse for Giraffe? Maybe being sat on by a skunk or smooshed by two hapless hippos, or worst of all—cornered by a hungry lion? No one seems to notice that Giraffe is not standing around just to be sat upon. Will he be able to find his voice and make his friends realize who he really is?”

What I Thought- Ross Burach already showed his prowess with creating picture books with “There’s a Giraffe in My Soup!” (see my review HERE!), and let me tell you – he hasn’t lost anything with his next! I like the whimsy of the story, and how it handles being assertive in a simple way. Kids will laugh at the complete improbable-ness and funny situations, and won’t even realize they are learning! Mr. Burach is a great author who really understands what kids want in a picture book. I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with!

Activities and Resources- There is a great article about why and how to encourage assertiveness HERE at Liveyourlifewithyourkids.com!

There is also a really good list at Momentsaday.com with games you can play to help build assertive qualities for children HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Are We There Yet? by Nina Laden

24 Feb

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a great story.

areweAre We There Yet?
Written by Nina Laden
Illustrated by Adam McCauley
36 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 1, 2016

Theme/Topic- Using Imagination

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Are you ready?

Synopsis from Publisher: “We’ve all been there. Or more accurately, we’ve all been with kids in the backseat clamoring (over and over!) “Are we there yet?” In this genius of a picture book, bestselling author Nina Laden combines forces with dynamic illustrator Adam McCauley to turn that dilemma on its head. Fun for kids and adults, the book is filled with details that readers will want to hunt for (over and over!). Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

What I Thought- I think that this book is a great tribute to the imagination. The book never goes out and states that the kid is imagining the things outside the car, but it can lead into a great conversation between parent and child! A great concept story, the book has minimal text, consisting mostly of the child asking the question “Are we there yet?” (and what parent hasn’t experienced this!) and his mother answering “No” – along with a few other word bubbles. The main focus is definitely the illustrations. The illustrations are a feast for the eyes. They are whimsical, having the essence of reality intertwined with the marvel of imagination.

arewe2 arewe3 The book is a fabulous collaboration between two very creative individuals, and I hope to see them working together again!

Activities and Resources- I found a great post about the importance of imagination, along with activities to spark it HERE at Parenting.com!

There is also a fabulous list of imaginative games you can play from Familyeducation.com HERE!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Mighty, Mighty Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker

10 Feb

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a sweet story about teamwork and who doesn’t like construction trucks?!

mightyMighty, Mighty Construction Site
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
40 pages – ages 5+

Will be Published by Chronicle Books on February 14, 2017

Theme/Topic- Teamwork
Genre- Fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Down in the big construction site,

five trucks wake to morning light,
It’s time to S-T-R-E-T-C-H, roll out of bed,
and gear up for the day ahead!”

Synopsis from Publisher: “At last—here from the team behind the beloved international bestseller comes a companion to Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. All of our favorite trucks are back on the construction site—this time with a focus on team-building, friendship, and working together to make a big task seem small! Down in the big construction site, the crew faces their biggest job yet, and will need the help of new construction friends to get it done. Working as a team, there’s nothing they can’t do! The millions of fans of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site are in for a mighty good time!”

What I Thought- Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site was fabulous and this sequel was no disappointment! Mighty, Mighty Construction Site is told in a rhyme that is gentle and playful. Lichtenheld’s illustrations pair perfectly with the rhyming, reflecting the warmth conveyed. The story shows the importance of working together, because then you get the job done. The story is especially sweet because it doesn’t have the negative aspect, just the original group knows when to ask for help, and they do so. The illustrations are all pleasant, and give you a very warm feeling inside when you look at them.

mighty2

Not only that, but Lichtenheld elaborates on the text with his illustrations, and adds in his own personal touch. It is truly a great collaboration.

Activities and Resources- There is a great list of things to build teamwork skills with kids from Online.Brescia.edu HERE.

KidsSoup.Com has a whole slew of construction crafts, games and activities – click HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson

3 Feb

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a neat interactive story!

seedPlant the Tiny Seed
Written by Christie Matheson
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by Greenwillow Books on January 24, 2017

Theme/Topic- Nature/Interactive

Genre- Non-fiction
Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “There’s magic in this tiny seed.

Press it down
and count to three.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “How do you make a garden grow? In this playful companion to the popular Tap the Magic Tree and Touch the Brightest Star, you will see how tiny seeds bloom into beautiful flowers. And by tapping, clapping, waving, and more, young readers can join in the action! Christie Matheson masterfully combines the wonder of the natural world with the interactivity of reading.”

What I Thought- This is a really cool book, and you could pair reading it with a book like Let’s Play by Hervé Tullet (see my review HERE). The book is written in rhyme, and done in such a way that doesn’t force the rhymes. Kids will love having this book read to them while they follow along, following the instructions. There is a nice reference page at the end of this book, filled with information about planting your own seeds, and with a more information about what was in the story. The illustrations are a neat combination of what looks like paper collage and paint. They give the book a warm feeling to it. I really like how this book takes you through the process of caring for a plant in a fun interactive way! It’s a nice way to start thinking about Spring!

Activities and Resources- The book itself is a good resource, where you can follow the steps in the back of the book to plant your own seeds.

If you want more things to do, Kidsgardening.org has a great list of activities, plus lots of information for teachers HERE!

You can read a sample of the book at the publisher’s website HERE!

 

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Apples and Robins by Lucie Félix

27 Jan

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is just plain cool!

applesApples and Robins
Written by Lucie Félix
56 pages – ages 4+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 8, 2016

Theme/Topic- Helping others/Creativity

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “All you need for apples are circles and the color red.”

Synopsis from Publisher: “All you need for apples . . . are circles and the color red. In this extraordinary book, one thing transforms into another as each page turns—a circle becomes an apple, an oval becomes a bird, winter becomes spring. Constantly surprising and brilliantly constructed, Lucie Félix’s Apples and Robins is full of the magic of shape, color, and imagination. All you need to do . . . is turn the page.”

What I Thought- This book is genius. Through use of holes and shapes and “white” space (it isn’t always white), Félix creates these objects, and the wonder of flipping the page to see what the object is never truly ceases. The book shows that anyone can draw, by taking simple shapes and making them into objects. The book’s art, of course, is simple, with lots of blankness, drawing focus to the pictures and words. The story is told in sentences, usually along the format of “All you need to make ___ is ___ and ___” [flip page, seeing end product]. See the trailer to get what I mean. The story is nice, but the illustrations are obviously the focus of the book. I really like how picture book’s like this one show the process of making it within the storyline. This is a great book to lead into discussions of art in school.

Activities and Resources- Besides the book itself (try to make objects like Ms. Félix does!), Activityvillage.co.uk has a great resource of teaching kids to draw HERE.

Because the book involves spring coming, HERE are some season-related educational computer games from Sheppardsoftware.com!
Check out the trailer!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Perfect Picture Book Friday! I Am A Story by Dan Yaccarino

22 Jan

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it’s a really profound story.

storyI Am A Story
By Dan Yaccarino
40 pages – ages 4+

Published by HarperCollins on Sept. 6 2016

Theme/Topic- The history of storytelling? It’s a bit hard to narrow down.

Genre- Fiction? Nonfiction?

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I am a story. I was told along a campfire, then painted on cave walls.

Synopsis from Publisher: “Internationally acclaimed author-illustrator Dan Yaccarino presents a powerful picture book that celebrates storytelling—from the past to the present and beyond.

From cave drawings to the invention of the printing press to our digital age, discover how a story has been told in many different ways from the past to today. It’s always been around, making us happy, sad, excited, or scared and bringing people together. With simple text and delightful illustrations, Dan Yaccarino reminds us of the power of story.”

What I Thought- I really like how this book recaps the history of storytelling in a simplified manner, taking you all the way from oral storytelling, through writing, printing, electronically, and then back to oral storytelling in a nice circular ending. The book has minimal text, making it a nice read-aloud for younger kids. Mr. Yaccarino’s illustrations are both detailed and simple, and kids will like looking at them. I mean, just take a look for your self!:

story2

Isn’t that great? I like how there is a detail that is shared with all of the pictures as they go throughout the timeline. This book is a nice transition into a topic on writing stories, or printing books as well. I really like how Mr. Yaccarino has found a way of writing a great book that takes your breath away as you read it and look at the illustrations.

Activities and Resources- Storyarts.org has a great list of activities for school kids that involve speaking/storytelling HERE.

Mensaforkids.org has tips on storytelling (good for kids and adults!) HERE!

Check out the trailer!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

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