Friday, March 20, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - FIREFLIES!

Fireflies! by Julie Brinckloe
Illustrated by Julie Brinckloe
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks
Published: 1986
ISBN: 9780689710551
Personal Copy
Suitable for ages 5 and 8
Themes/Topics: science, nature, insects, nonfiction, compassion

Fireflies! One of my favorite picture books.

Opening: On a summer evening/I looked up from dinner,/through the open window to the backyard.

Brief Synopsis: A young boy is proud of having caught a jar full of fireflies, which seems to him like owning a piece of moonlight, but as the light begins to dim he realizes he must set the insects free or they will die (from Amazon).

Why I like This Book: Oh, there are so many reasons to LOVE this book. For one thing, it reminded me of catching fireflies myself as a child. We use to have so much fun. I also love how the boy struggled to decide what to do once he caught his firefly. His inner conflict is very apparent in the story.

Links to Resources:

You can find more wonderful reviews at Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Gardener

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart
Illustrated by David Small
Publisher: Square Fish 
Published: 1997
ISBN-13: 9780312367497
Personal Copy

As I was looking through my picture books for something to review today, The Gardener caught my eye. Maybe because my husband and I are working on putting a small backyard garden in our yard. The weather is finally pretty enough to think about getting one going.

What a beautiful story of change and growth as told through letters back and forth between Lydia Grace and her mom, dad, and grandma. Having to leave her family during hard times turned into a story of flowers and love. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

See Teacher Resources below...

Monday, March 16, 2015

A Butterfly is Patient

A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston 
Illustrated by Sylvia Long
Publisher: Chronicle Books. 
Published: 2011
ISBN-13: 9780811864794
Personal Copy

Some many authors have found new and interesting ways to describe insects, their life cycles, and worlds...and I love this!

A Butterfly is Patient starts with a spread of caterpillars and ends with a spread of butterflies. I think this is magical.

The book itself starts with the life cycle of a butterfly. From there it lets us know how they are helpful, how they can camouflage, which are poisonous, and so many other wonderful facts. But the beauty is in the way each piece of information is told.

You will truly enjoy this wonderful book about butterflies!

Teacher Resources:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Ladybugs: Red, Fiery, and Bright

Ladybugs: Red, Fiery, and Bright by Mia Posada
Illustrated by Mia Posada
Publisher: Scholastic, Nonfiction
Published: 2002
ISBN: 9780876143346
Personal Copy
Suitable for ages 5 and up
Themes/Topics: science, nature, insects, nonfiction

Opening: Little round beetles/with red coats and black spots/crawl through gardens and trees,/and on flowers in pots.

Brief Synopsis: An educational picture book written to entertain and inform young readers about ladybugs and their life cycle. The text, written in rhyming verse, takes the reader from egg to larva, to metamorphosis into the beautiful ladybug that we know. The back matter provides more facts about these creatures and how they help framers.

Why I like this book: Oh my, why would I not like this book? I love how it starts out just talking about the ladybug before it takes you through its life cycle. The illustrations are wonderful in showing the transformation of the egg into the ladybug. And the Posada creates a masterpiece book about the ladybug with her poetic verse. All in all...I love everything about this book!

Links to Resources:

You can find more wonderful reviews at Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What Do You Do With An Idea?


What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada
Illustrated by Mae Benson
Publisher: Compendium Inc. 
Published: 2013
ISBN-13: 9781938298073
Read at Barnes and Noble

How many times do we have ideas? How many times do we pursue our ideas and how many times do we let them go?

This is an enlightening and encouraging story about a boy who has an idea, but does several things with it...ignores it, lets others dissuade him from growing it, and finally accepting it.

Once he decides that he likes his idea, he nourishes it and allows it to blossom. And blossom it does...

The colors in the book go from sepia to vibrant showing that the idea has come to fruition.

What will you do with your idea(s)?

Lesson Ideas:

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ida B. Wells

Another great book for Women's History Month

 Ida B. Wells: Let the Truth Be Told by Walter Dean Myers
Illustrated by Bonnie Christensen
Publisher: Amistad
Published: 2008
ISBN-13: 9780060544683
Personal Copy

It did not surprise me that such an awesome story as this was being told by the wonderful Walter Dean Myers. His books have won not only awards, but the hearts of their readers.

Who has not heard of the great Civil Rights activists and leaders of the 50's and 60's. We all have...but, did you know that there was a woman who fought for the rights of African-Americans long before then? Ida B. Wells did, and in this spectacular picture book, Myers takes us on a journey through her life and struggles. Not only did she fight for the rights of African-Americans, but she was also involved in Women's Suffrage with Susan B. Anthony and Jane Addams. Long before Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells was removed from a train car for not moving to the smoking car - where all the African Americans were to sit.

This is a book that provides wonderful back matter, and direct quotes from Wells herself. Don't let the opportunity to read and share this book pass you by.

Activities to go with this book:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Perfect Picture Book Friday - Nobody Owns the Sky

As I have been working on several different challenges lately, I came upon an awesome website. It is Susanna Leonard Hill's website. What caught my eye was her Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF). The great thing about her PPBF is that there are resources with the books for parents, teachers, and homeschoolers. So this is my first try at PPBF!

Nobody Owns the Sky by Reeve Lindbergh
Illustrated by Pamela Lindbergh
Publisher: Candlewick Press, Nonfiction
Published: 1996
ISBN: 9780763603618
Personal Copy
Suitable for ages 5 and up
Themes/Topics: following your dreams, aviators, women, death, Black History, nonfiction

Opening: There was a young woman who wanted to fly. But people said, "Kiss that wish good-bye! The sky's too big and the sky's too high. And you never will fly, so you'd better not try."

Brief Synopsis: In the 1920's, Bessie Coleman, a young black woman, wanted to fly, but the chances of that ever happening were very small. Bessie didn't let her chances dissuade her from following her dream. This story, written in poetic form, is her story - the story of the first African-American aviator.

Why I like this book: Since March is Women's History Month, I have been on the lookout for picture books that were about strong, courageous women. This book certain hit the spot. She doesn't give up on her dream and doesn't allow her circumstances The rhyme and the rhythm of the story sets the pace very nicely for the book. So not only is it about a wonderful woman, but it is written by the daughter of Charles Lindbergh. 

Links to Resources: 

You can find more wonderful reviews at at Susanna Hill's Perfect Picture Books.


                                              Bessie Coleman

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

You Nest Here With Me - Jane Yolen, Heidi Stemple, and Melissa Stewart

You Nest Here With Me

You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple
Illustrated by Melissa Stewart
Publisher: Highlights Press
Published: 2015
ISBN-13: 9781590789230
Read at B&N

What a beautiful mother and daughter collaboration! And the illustrations add to the beautiful nighttime story that this is.

As a mother snuggle with her child in bed, she tells of birds and all the places that they sleep/rest. The beauty comes in the tercet rhyming pattern of different places that the birds nest.

                               Swallows nest above barn doors,
                                    Plovers nest on shady shores,
                               Eagles nest upon high tors,
                                    But you nest here with me.

But after each set of birds' nests, the mother always lets the child know that she belongs with her by saying...

                               But you nest here with me

Melissa Stewart's illustrations add a quiet and peacefulness to the story that makes this a wonderful bedtime story.

At the end of the book, the authors' notes provide other information about some of the birds.

Here is a wonderful interview with the author Jane Yolen...

I recommend reading this one today.