Posts Tagged With: Perfect Picture Book Friday

PPBF: Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen

Perfect Picture Book Friday is here with the adorable Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen.

Check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog feature Perfect Picture Book Fridays. She has compiled a complete list of recommended picture books with links to resources for home and the classroom. It’s awesome!

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Title: Guji Guji

Author/Illustrator: Chih-Yuan Chen

Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2004

Fiction

Ages:  4 and up

Themes: humor, animals, family, love, differences and acceptance, nature vs. nurture, adoption

Opening: “An egg was rolling on the ground. It rolled through the trees. It rolled across the meadow. It rolled all the way down the hill. Finally, it rolled into a duck’s nest.

Synopsis:  (Adapted from the New York Times) When fate rolls a crocodile egg into Mother Duck’s nest (she is too busy reading to notice), her three ducklings end up with a strange sibling. The fourth ”duckling” is the biggest of the brood. He’s less an ugly duckling than a clumsy one, however, and as his brothers learn to swim, dive and waddle, he makes the biggest splash of all.

Enter three conniving crocodiles with plans for the odd ”duck.” Since crocodiles eat ducks, they explain, it is Guji Guji’s duty to deliver his family to them. Our hero wanders off to hatch a plan. ”I am not a bad crocodile,” he thinks. ”Of course, I’m not exactly a duck either.”

The next day, when Mother Duck and her family go to practice diving, three bad crocodiles are waiting under the bridge, jaws agape. Guji Guji is ready for them. Instead of ”fat, delicious ducks,” the crocodiles get a very unappetizing surprise: ”three big, hard rocks” from the top of the bridge.

Resources and ideas: Teaching plan from Kane Miller; Lesson plan from StorylineOnline; Reading comprehension questions from TeachersPayTeachers

What I thought: Chih-Yuan Chen is an author and illustrator from Taiwan and has won the Hsin Yi Picture Book Award three times. I can see why! I love the style of the art, and I love the fact that Guji Guji makes the most of the fact that he is different from his duck siblings. Instead of feeling bad about himself, he shows those crocodiles the difference between right and wrong. Chen said, “It is my hope that children from all over the world can learn to accept different people and things, and see the world with broader views and minds.”

See also: Reading and discussion by Daniel Pinkwater and Scott Simon of NPR

And here is a video reading from StorylineOnline:

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

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Categories: Perfect Picture Book Friday | Tags: , , , | 16 Comments

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Elise Broach’s Wet Dog!

Perfect Picture Book Friday is here with Wet Dog! by Elise Broach, illustrated by the much-loved David Catrow.

Check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog feature Perfect Picture Book Fridays. She has compiled a complete list of recommended picture books with links to resources for home and the classroom. It’s awesome!

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Title: Wet Dog!

Author/Illustrator: Elise Broach and David Catrow

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin), 2005, reprinted in 2007

Fiction

Ages:  5 and up

Themes: humor, animals, weather, summer, manners, perseverance (and personally I would like to add facial expressions!)

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Opening: “He was a good old dog and a hot old dog, as he lay in the noonday sun. And he dozed and he drowsed in the beating-down sun, with his long pink tongue hanging out.

“Well, that too-hot dog in the too-hot sun just had to cool off somehow. So he heaved to his feet, and he sniffed the air, and he trotted off down the road . . .”

Synopsis:  On a hot, hot day, a good old dog just has to get some relief! Around the steamy country lanes, he sniffs and searches until he finds a chauffeur washing a shiny car, a baker scrubbing some sticky pans, and a florist spraying a pink bouquet. they’re all getting ready for a country wedding, and this overheated pup just wants to plunge into the fun! and water! but will the wedding party in their fancy finery welcome this gotta-be-cool pooch?

Resources and ideas: draw-your-own facial expression chart for emotions; discuss hot-weather issues like heat exhaustion, sunburn, plants withering, and drought; discuss ways to warm up in a cold winter; discuss how other mammals regulate their body temperature

What I thought: HILARIOUS! The story is cute, but the illustrations really make the book what it is.

Wet Dog! was also reviewed in 2010 on Kate’s Bookery Blog.

Enjoy and let me know what you think! 

Categories: Books we love, Perfect Picture Book Friday | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Janell Cannon’s Stellaluna

Perfect Picture Book Friday is here with Stellaluna by Janell Cannon, one of my household favorites. I have saved the book and the little Stellaluna finger puppet for my future grandkids.

Check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog feature Perfect Picture Book Fridays. She has compiled a complete list of recommended picture books with links to resources for home and the classroom. It’s awesome!

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Title: Stellaluna

Author/Illustrator: Janell Cannon

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (Harcourt), 1993

Fiction

Ages:  4 to 8

Themes: adoption, differences, animal adaptations

Opening: “One night, as Mother Bat followed the heavy scent of ripe fruit, an owl spied her. On silent wings the powerful bird swooped down upon the bats.

Dodging and shrieking, Mother Bat tried to escape, but the owl struck again and again, knocking Stellaluna into the air.  Her baby wings were as limp and useless as wet paper.

Down, down she went, faster and faster, into the forest below.”

Synopsis:  Knocked from her mother’s safe embrace by an attacking owl, Stellaluna lands headfirst in a bird’s nest. This adorable baby fruit bat’s world is literally turned upside down when she is adopted by the occupants of the nest and adapts to their peculiar bird habits. Two pages of notes at the end of the story provide factual information about bats.

Resources and ideas: Storyline online video of Pamela Reed reading Stellaluna (also featured on SchoolTube); simply type Stellaluna Lesson Plans into Google to find tons of lessons and activities

What I thought: My kids and I loved the sweet story of the lost baby learning how to get along with new siblings who try to understand her but aren’t like her at all. She learns to eat food she doesn’t like and follows the rules of her new home. But as she matures, she discovers how to be herself as well as how to let her bird siblings be themselves. She still visits her bird family after she has found her way back to her bat family. The illustrations show details about the differences between bat bodies and bird bodies. Stellaluna is a beautiful, well-loved book.

I need to add that not everyone appreciates the way Stellaluna is treated by her bird family. I read about more than a few negative reactions from mixed-race families. The mother bird accuses Stellaluna of teaching her bird babies to do bad things, and she agrees to keep Stellaluna only if she will deny her bat instincts. The situation is hard for Stellaluna, gagging down the bugs instead of the fruit she likes, and not being allowed to hang upside down. In a discussion about the story, I would include ideas about how the mother bird could have been more open-minded or might have helped Stellaluna find her bat family. I would definitely talk about how difficult survival can be for animals and how sometimes they have to adapt to circumstances that are less than ideal just to stay alive. I know this book is used as an adoption story, but the animal survival element should be emphasized to balance out what comes across as prejudice from the bird mother. Those are just my thoughts about a book that we really love for its storytelling more than anything else.

What do you think? How has your family discussed Stellaluna? 

Categories: Books we love, Perfect Picture Book Friday | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Cinco the Clinic Cat

Perfect Picture Book Friday is here with Cinco the Clinic Cat/Cinco, el gato de la clínica by Carol Brickell and illustrated by Jim Hastings. Cinco is a bilingual book in English and Spanish, and all the proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to charities that support medical clinics and provide medical supplies to those in need in Latin America. Cinco has received the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and the Mom’s Choice Award.

Check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog feature Perfect Picture Book Fridays. She has compiled a complete list of recommended picture books with links to resources for home and the classroom. It’s awesome!

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Title: Cinco the Clinic Cat/Cinco, el gato de la clínica

Author/Illustrator: Carol Brickell and Jim Hastings

Publisher: Brown Books, 2010

Fiction

Ages:  4 and up

Themes: friendship, helping others

Opening: “I wonder if my wish will come trueAlisa lives in a country called Honduras. When there is no school, Alisa goes with her sister Karen to a clinic in their neighborhood. I’d like to help Karen, but I only get in the way. I wish I had a friend.

Synopsis:  When school is out, Alisa spends each day with her sister, who works in a medical clinic. But Alisa feels alone and out of place. One day, she sees a new face — a stray cat. After five days, they become friends and she names him Cinco. Together, they get involved in the activities at the medical clinic — and make more friends along the way. (from Amazon)

Resources and ideas: video of the author presenting the book to a group of children at the mall; can be used in discussions about geography, culture, Latin America, bilingualism, poverty, friendship, anti-bullying, therapy animals, medical clinics.

What I thought: Cinco is a lovely book that provides a window into the friendships and lives of people around a medical clinic in Honduras. The watercolor illustrations are airy and bright and portray the clinic as a welcoming, open place to visit. The text is spare enough for a small child, and I laughed when the boy who needed glasses said he thought the cat was a dog. Check out my favorite illustration, which shows so well a little kid’s perspective on the world (I remember what that feels like, does anyone else?).

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Check out a video featuring the author talking about the clinic and the book and working with kids (The Advocate magazine page with the video is here).

And here is the story behind the story:

Enjoy, and let me know what you and your kids think!

Categories: Perfect Picture Book Friday, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Day the Crayons Quit

Perfect Picture Book Friday is here with The Day the Crayons Quitthe delightful, laugh-out-loud creation of Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (it took me an extra few seconds to figure out who the illustrator was because his name is upside-down on the cover). The book is so funny that when I was reading it aloud to my 11-year-old (yes, he is very patient with me … he sat with his new James Dashner book in his lap and listened to me read), my 14-year-old walked into the room and asked why we were laughing about a beige crayon. Then he sat next to me for the rest of the book!

Check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog feature Perfect Picture Book Fridays. She has compiled a complete list of recommended picture books with links to resources for home and the classroom. It’s awesome!

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Title: The Day the Crayons Quit

Author/Illustrator: Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

Publisher: Philomel Books (Penguin), 2013

Fiction

Ages:  3-7 years

Theme: colors, jobs, drawing, creativity, labor relations

Opening: “One day in class, Duncan went to take out his crayons and found a stack of letters with his name on them.

Synopsis: Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best? (from Amazon)

Resources and ideas: Literature response; writing; classroom use ideas; discussions could be generated about science (ROY G BIV, visible and invisible parts of sunlight), animals, seasons (colors change, snow happens, etc.), labor law and fairness, compromise, friendship, self-esteem or self-acceptance

What I thought: We loved this clever book. All the colors have different personalities and different problems being the color they are. I tried to choose a favorite spread to share with you, but I couldn’t do it. I just ended up reading the book again, and then again. Just for fun, here is the gray spread.

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Check out an informative interview with Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers at the blog Omnivoracious!

Enjoy, and let me know what you and your kids think!

Categories: Books we love, Perfect Picture Book Friday | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Ruth Brown’s A Dark, Dark Tale

It’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, and Halloween is coming! I’ve chosen one of my son’s favorite books, which he remembers as being “really, really scary.” We read it over and over and always had a good laugh at the end. He is 14 now and still remembers how he felt reading it… I think that’s a pretty strong recommendation!

Check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog feature Perfect Picture Book Fridays. She has compiled a complete list with links to resources for home and the classroom. It’s awesome!

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Title: A Dark, Dark Tale

Author/Illustrator: Ruth Brown

First published by Anderson Press Ltd, 1981

Fiction

Ages: 3-5 years

Theme: Halloween, bravery

Opening: “Once upon a time there was a dark, dark moor.”

Synopsis: Children will delight in following the black cat’s progress through the dark wood, into the dark house, and eventually to the surprise discovery at the back of the toy cupboard, in this mysterious, beautifully illustrated picture book.(from Goodreads)

Resources and ideas: Lesson plans at MyBookez. Game of I Spy, looking for all the animals, especially the cat; cutouts and collages of cats, owls, trees, spooky houses, bats, moon, etc.; layered collage with doors opening to reveal something beneath; create a new story following the pattern of repetition and rhythm in the text.

What I thought: I loved the atmosphere created by the illustrations and the repetition in the text and in the imagery. Even though a different spooky place is featured on each spread, the words “dark, dark” and the black cat lead the way through each page turn. The tension builds as the cat leads us to smaller and smaller places. What are we going to find? The anticipation reaches a climax and is delightfully resolved on the final page.

Enjoy!

Categories: Books we love, Reviews | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

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