picture book

BOB, NOT BOB! by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick

What child hasn’t suffered through the torture of a horrific cold?  The misery of achy sinuses? The hopeless yearning for relief? Who does a child turn to when plagued by such painful distress? You got it. Mom. That’s it. No one else will do.

Authors Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick, with illustrator Matthew Cordell nailed this exasperating, snot-filled scenario to a tee! Their BOB, NOT BOB! (Disney Hyperion, 2017) is a delightful story about Little Louie, a boy who is afflicted by the worst cold ever. Because his nasal cavities are swollen with mucus, Little Louie’s plugged-up calls for Mom sound more like Bob, which happens to be the name of his devoted, slobbery dog. Frustration adds to agony as every time Little Louie pleads for his loving mother’s care his goofy, fun-loving Dalmatian arrives ready to play. And, when this happens, everyone is miserable!

I invite you to take a look at the Standards-aligned Educator’s Guide crafted for BOB, NOT BOB! It’s formatted more like a press-release, and yet it is comprised of contents that educators and at-wits-end parents will find useful. Functional and fun, this guide is the perfect complement for one of the most charming books I’ve read in a long time.

Adventures of a Debut Author - A Lesson in Networking with Kris Remenar

I’ve been snooping around discovering ways that clever Kris Remenar has been promoting her darling Groundhog’s Dilemma (Charlesbridge, 2015). She’s one smart debut author, I have to tell you.  

I invite you to take some time to peruse her exceptional website. Of course, being a librarian, Kris has a wealth of resources at her fingertips.  Take a moment and see how generously she shares her knowledge and expertise. I like the way the website reflects her likeable, charming personality, too. Nicely done.

My sleuthing uncovered an insightful Let’s Get Busy podcast Kris did with her acclaimed illustrator (and husband!) Matt Faulkner. The interviewer is Matthew Winner, elementary library specialist and cofounder of All the Wonders. I am so glad to have discovered this resource. After you’ve scoured Kris’ website, pop over to check it out. All the Wonders is packed with podcasts, videos, crafts, and projects. Oh, man! My head is spinning with ideas galore!

Friends, these folks will be good to get to know when my (our) time draws near.

In addition to the cool podcast, the talented and wonderful author Vicky Lorencen sponsored a Groundhog’s Dilemma giveaway. Giveaways are great to generate enthusiasm for new projects. I’ll find out how Vicky managed it. It’ll be good for a debut author to know, right?

Kris also asked the ReaderKidZ to do a review, which is printed below. We jumped at the chance to do so! Truth be told, Kris and Matt have created a masterpiece.  Groundhog’s Dilemma is a book that kids and their parents will, undoubtedly, want to read over and over again. On the surface, the story and illustrations are engaging and great fun. Dare to go a little deeper and the reader will discover the tenacity it takes to be true to oneself.

~      ~      ~      ~      ~

Fair-minded Groundhog is caught in a conundrum. The seasonal prediction he makes on Groundhog Day pleases some of his friends, but not all. Bear and Hare want six more weeks of winter. Squirrel and Sparrow, most definitely, do not. Groundhog explains that he’s not in control of the weather. Instead, he merely “Calls it like he sees it.”

When springtime eventually arrives, the animals of the forest resort to manipulation and bribery hoping to influence Groundhog’s future shadow-watching declarations. His social calendar overflows with invitations to baseball games, dining opportunities, and entertaining experiences unlike those he’s ever known! Truth be told, he enjoys the attention. However, come February 2, there will be a price to pay. Will Groundhog be able to truthfully state what his shadow reveals or will he be swayed in efforts to please others?

Groundhog’s Dilemma (Charlesbridge, 2015) explores themes of friendship, integrity, and honor is the most delightful ways. Debut author Kris Remenar’s sparse, tongue-in cheek text is hilarious, lively, and perfectly complimented by husband Matt Faulkner’s incredibly detailed illustrations. Groundhog’s Dilemma is both funny and poignant, one that readers will enjoy time and time again.

Ten Rules of a Super Hero

Book Title: Ten Rules of Being a Super Hero

Author/Illustrator: Deb Pilutti

Genre: Picture Book

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books - Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

ISBN: 978-0805097597

Click here to download the Common Core State Standards aligned Educator's Guide created for grades K-2.

Overview: In order to be a real superhero, you have to follow some important rules:

Rule #1: A superhero must ALWAYS respond to a call for help.

Rule #2: Saving the day is messy. But everyone understands.

In this handy guide, Captain Magma and his trusty sidekick, Lava Boy, take young readers on an adventure to learn all ten rules of being a good superhero (Amazon.com).

The Dino-Sports Series

Click on image for publisher's informationAuthor: Lisa Wheeler

Illustrator: Barry Gott

Genre: Picture books

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books

Titles included in guide: Dino-Soccer - ISBN: 9780761367895, Dino-Hockey - ISBN: 9780822561910, Dino-Basketball - ISBN: 9780761363934, Dino-Football - ISBN: 9780761363941, Dino-Baseball - ISBN: 9780761344292, Dino-Wrestling - ISBN: 9781467702126

 Click here to download the Common Core State Standards aligned Discussion & Project Guide created for grades K-3.

Overview: Play-by-play sports action series of picture books for 4-8 year olds featuring teams of Carnivorous dinosaurs against plant-eating dinos (Good Reads).

Travels with Charlie: Down South

Click on image for publisher's informationAuthor: Miles Backer

Illustrator: Chuck Nitzberg

Genre: Non-fiction Picture book

Publisher: Blue Apple Books

ISBN: 978-1-60905-353-6

Click here to download the Common Core State Standards aligned Discussion & Project Guide created for ages 6 to 9.

Overview: Part travelogue, part I SPY, part Where’s…Charlie!


Find a pirate museum. Look for Key West. Then find Miami where the beach is the best!
Is he on a Bourbon Street balcony? Riding the Ferris wheel on Atlantic City’s Steel Pier? Hiding out in a Nevada ghost town?

Buddy: The Story of Buddy Holly

Click on image to purchase the book.Author: Anne Bustard

Illustrator: Kurt Cyrus

Genre: Non-fiction Picture book

Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

ISBN: 0689866678

Click here to download the Common Core State Standards aligned Discussion & Project Guide created for ages 5 to 9.

Overview: A time or two ago, out West Texas way, a boy named Charles Hardin Holley was born. He was named after his granddaddy Charles and his granddaddy Hardin. But his mama called him Buddy.

That Buddy could shoot marbles with the best, hit homers in the red dirt, and pelt cans with his slingshot. But come sixth grade, when Buddy met up with a guitar, he never let it go. And later, when Buddy heard a new sound--part country, part gospel, and part blues, he got fired up.

It was the birth of rock 'n' roll.

Wooby & Peep: The Story of an Unlikely Friendship

Author: Cynthea Liu

Illustrator: Mary Peterson

Genre: Picture Book

Publisher: Sterling Publishing

ISBN: 9781402796449

Click here to download the Common Core State Standards aligned Discussion & Project Guide and Reader's Theatre created for ages 4 to 8.

Overview: Opposites attract and become fast friends in this quirky, funny picture book.

Wooby lives in a nice, quiet neighborhood where everyone minds his own business. And he likes it that way. Then noisy, energetic Peep moves next door with her banging and smashing and crashing. She even gives a “wild” PARTY! At first, shy Wooby is beside himself—until he realizes that he and Peep have more in common than he ever imagined. Hilarious comic-book panels throughout add fun and joy to this unique story.

A Cool Summer Tail by Carrie Pearson

Click image to access publisher's pageA Cool Summer Tail presents animal environmental adaptation facts in a fresh and original way. Author Carrie Pearson inhabits the minds of young animals as they question how humans stay cool in the summer. The questions the animals pose are based on their own seasonal adaptation methods, means by which children might find comical to consider for themselves.  

For instance, a baby fox asks his mother if humans stay cool in the summer by hanging out their tongues and panting. Baby bees ask if humans cool their hives by using their wings to blow in air, thus helping the Queen to survive. Baby hummingbirds wonder if humans migrate in search of a cooler summer home. In the end, a boy asks his mother if animals splash in a swimming pool to stay cool.

Click image to access publisher's pageA Warm Winter Tail (winner of the 2013 Gelett Burgess Award) is the companion piece for A Cool Summer Tail, in which the same delightful winter adaptation juxtaposition consideration takes place. In it, baby deer wonder if humans grow hollow hair to keep warm in the winter. Baby frogs ask if human body parts freeze. Baby bears ask if humans get plump and sleep in a lump.  A young boy asks his mother if animals stay warm by bundling up in scarves, jackets, and boots. He is assured that their bodies know how to stay warm in the winter. No need for buttons or bows.

In addition to the plethora of free online offered on the publisher’s website, the final pages of both books include four pages of rich learning activities. These lessons paired with Illustrator Christina Wald’s lovely detailed work and Pearson’s intriguing text will undoubtedly enhance any study of the natural world and the incredible creatures that inhabit it.

A Kiss Means I Love You (Concept Picture Book)

Click on image for publisher's information.Author: Kathryn Madeline Allen

Photographer: Eric Futran

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

ISBN: 978-0-8075-4186-9

Awards: 2013 Baker's Dozen: The Best Children's Books for Family Literacy, Pennsylvania Center for the Book; 2013 Gradiva Award for Best Children's Books Finalist; 2013 Texas 2 x 2 Reading List; A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book 2013 - Picture Books; Best Books for Babies 2013

Click to download the Common Core State Standards Discussion and Activity Guide created for Ages 2-6/Grades PreK-1

Overview: A Kiss Means I Love You is charming a book that helps you teach children the meanings of facial expressions and gestures. Children will wave, clap, and cheer along with you as you read the light, rhyming verse paired with delightful photos of young children.

 

New Guide for Tea Cakes for Tosh

I just put the finishing touches on a Discussion/Activity/Genealogy guide for this most amazing picture book, Tea Cakes for Tosh, written by the lovely Kelly Starling Lyons and illustrated by the phenomenal illustrator E. B. Lewis.

Starling's story is one of warmth, devotion, and confusion. In it, Tosh relishes in the retelling of his family's past told by his grandmother, Honey, while she makes tea cakes from a recipe passed on through generations. Like the familial stories, she recalls the recipe from memory. The recipe, like the stories, are an innate part of her being, and as Tosh discovers, an important part of him, too. When Honey's memory begins to fail, Tosh must assume the role of tea cake maker and family story teller.

The book is set to launch December, 2012. It's one to cherish, for sure!

Trekking Down the Jes' Happened Timeline

With each guide I work to create something that will help keep the book in the minds of teachers and librarians for a long time. Something that they can easily pull up and reuse. Something that the kids can make by themselves. The objectives of teacher guide exercises must stem from the varied themes presented in the story. And, I try to create activities in which the kids must repeatedly refer to specific pages in the book. Gotta keep that book in their hands!  

The overarching theme in Don Tate's It Jes' Happened: When Bill Traylor Started to Draw is the passage of time. It is a remarkable tale of a man who, while in his 80's, began to draw pictures depiciting the vivid memories of his life as a slave, a sharecropper, and a freeman. This great story is pieced together with multiple references of time and place, more so than in many picture books I've seen. So, I thought, since the aspects of time and place are critical to Bill Traylor's story, let's make a timeline!

 There is some assembly required to create this project. Not to worry, though. It's super easy to make. Everything you need is listed in the guide. With a little glue, some scissors, and the book in hand the incredible events of Bill Traylor's life and death can be chronicled over and over again.

 There are lots of other interactive activities in Don's guide. For instance, comprehension is reviewed by working an awesome crossword puzzle. There's a writing exercise built around writing in a character's point of view. And a poetry activity in which the students pull from their own memories as inspiration - the best kind.

So, get the book, download the guide, and have yourself some grand old fun! Make it jes' happen.