"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

4/17/15

Come On, Rain! Perfect Picture Book Friday

Here's this week's fabulous pick for Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday. And, by the way, fabulous is NOT an understatement. And it is an "older" one (well, older than current, anyway) that is well worth reading.

Title: Come On, Rain!

Author: Karen Hesse

Illustrator: Jon J. Muth

Publisher: Scholastic Press, 1999, fiction

Age Range: 4-8 years

Theme/Topics: city life, heat, rain, relationships

First Spread:"Come on, rain!" I say, squinting into the endless heat.
Mama lifts a listless vine and sighs. "Three weeks and not a drop," she says, sagging over her parched plants.

Synopsis (from Google Books): Come on, Rain!" Tess pleads to the sky as listless vines and parched plants droop in the endless heat. Then the clouds roll in, and the rain pours. And Tess, her friends, and their Mamas join in a rain dance to celebrate the shower that renews both body and spirit. Through exquisite language and acute observation, Karen Hesse evokes this refreshing experience, and Jon J Muth's lyrical artwork perfectly reflects the spirit of the text.

Resources: A read-aloud lesson and paired text questions for this book are here. Kids could also make up their own rain dance, and talk about the differences between wet and dry, the water cycle, and what needs rain to grow.

Why I LOVE it: The language. The imagery. Absolutely masterful. This is truly poetry in prose. Lyrical, lovely, and magical. And, of course, the artwork is also gorgeous (just look at the cover!). A wonderful picture of urban life, diversity, longing, relationships - and so much more. I talk a lot - and this one had me speechless for a good amount of time. (and I just saw this one has already been put on the PPBF list a few years ago - but I can't resist reminding folks of it!)

Hope you'll give this book a look - and check out the OTHER perfect picture books for today at Susanna's blog - and Susanna's ever-growing list of wonderful picture books



My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

4/10/15

Don't Turn the Page! - Perfect Picture Book Friday

Here's this week's fabulous pick for Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Don't Turn the Page!

Author: Rachel Burk

Illustrator: Julie Dowling

Publisher: Creston Books, 2014, fiction

Age Range: 3-8 years

Theme/Topics: bedtime, rhyme, story within a story

First Page: "How about a bedtime story?" Mama asked.
Sami shook her head. "I don't want to go to bed. I'm not tired yet."
"All right," said Mama. "Why don't you pick out a book to read later?"

Synopsis (from Amazon): Like most children, Sami puts off going to bed for as long as possible. But reading a story about Little Bear's bedtime ritual inspires Sammy, just as the young reader will be inspired by this soothing story and clever book-within-a-book concept. A bedtime book that both parent and child will relish reading one more time, Don't Turn the Page! features a surprise ending that reinforces the sense that it's bedtime for everyone.

Resources:Rachelle Burk has several activities to go along with the book (including coloring pages, a maze, and creating your own "bedtime buddies") at her website. Check them out!

Why I LOVE it: It is SUPER creative. It's a bedtime book that is actually calming - AND fun (VERY hard to do!). The illustrations are beautiful. The book within a book is sweet. The kids' delay tactics are SO typical. Mama is clever. The end is cute. It's lovely. What's NOT to love.

Hope you'll give this book a look - and check out the OTHER perfect picture books for today at Susanna's blog - and Susanna's ever-growing list of wonderful picture books

 
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

4/3/15

A Fine Dessert: Perfect Picture Book Friday

I know. I haven't been here in a while. But I've been busy. And this book has been sitting beside my laptop for WEEKS, waiting for me to have time to write up a PPBF post for it. And today is that day! And so, I present to you another fabulous book to add to Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Book Friday list.

Title: A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat

Author: Emily Jenkins

Illustrator: Sophie Blackall

Publisher:Schwartz & Wade, 2015, fiction

Age Range: 4-8 years

Theme/Topics: cooking, family life, history,

First Page:A bit more than three hundred years ago, in an English town called Lyme, a girl and her mother picked wild blackberries. Their hands turned purple with the juice. The thorns of the berry bushes pricked the fabric of their long skirts.

Synopsis (from Amazon): In this fascinating picture book, four families, in four different cities, over four centuries, make the same delicious dessert: blackberry fool. This richly detailed book ingeniously shows how food, technology, and even families have changed throughout American history.

In 1710, a girl and her mother in Lyme, England, prepare a blackberry fool, picking wild blackberries and beating cream from their cow with a bundle of twigs. The same dessert is prepared by a slave girl and her mother in 1810 in Charleston, South Carolina; by a mother and daughter in 1910 in Boston; and finally by a boy and his father in present-day San Diego.

Kids and parents alike will delight in discovering the differences in daily life over the course of four centuries.

Resources: There are fabulous notes in the back from both the author and illustrator about their research that can be used. Talk about all the different changes that are shown from one century to the next - in technology, food, etc. AND of course, there is a recipe for blackberry fool in the book too - make some!!

Why I LOVE it: This is a FABULOUS look into our history - both visually and through the words. The four families are so different, and that is shown in the wording and illustrations - but they also have much in common. The repetition is beautifully done. The whole BOOK is. Definitely a keeper (and I WILL try the recipe myself - maybe over Spring Break, which starts today here!). And if you pick it up, be sure to check the illustrator note out to find out how she created the endpapers. (Not saying any more!)

Hope you'll give this book a look - and check out the OTHER perfect picture books for today at Susanna's blog - and Susanna's ever-growing list of wonderful picture books


My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. Psalm 45:1

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