Friday, October 11, 2013

PPBF: The Most Perfect Spot

Today's pick
The Most Perfect Spot,
A most perfect picture book.
The Most Perfect Spot
Written and illustrated by Diane Goode

Harper Collins, 2006, Fiction
K-3, Reading Level 2.7

Themes:
Cause & Effect, Humor, Pets

Opening:
"One sunny morning, Jack made his mamma breakfast in bed, and a card that said, 'I know the most perfect spot for a picnic.'
So Mama put on her very best hat and they set off for Prospect Park."

Synopsis:
So begins an eventful day in the lives of Jack and Mama, but not the day Jack has planned. Despite the best intentions, the pair are forced from one one calamity to the next, "who knows why?"   Readers do, as they follow the illustrated antics of a stray dog in the background of every scene. Jack eventually finds the perfect spot with a delightful twist.

What I Love:
Diane Goode has 55 books (and counting), and I know I've reviewed her work before, but I couldn't resist introducing you to this gem. Writers should give this book a close examination. It has the perfect (pardon the pun) balance of text and art. The secondary story, which takes place only in the illustrations, turns out to be central to the main story line. My kids love anticipating what will happen next from the clues in the artwork which often appear right before the page turn. They squeal when the text repeatedly says, "who knows why." They practically shout, "I do!" Readers love to predict the outcomes in this way, and that's what this sweet, simple tale is about. This story has a great "button," or ending after the ending.

Bonus:
Support the SPCA in the Philadelphia area.
1. Why not plan your own picnic, indoors or out, depending on the weather?
2. Get your readers to volunteer at a local animal shelter. Pets there always need a walk or a little TLC.  Too young? Sponsor a drive for supplies: food, towels, toys, newspapers. Phone the shelter in your area for their specific wish-list.
3. Do a little research into the setting for this book. Read about the history of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, the fashions, or automobiles in the early 20th century. Visit a museum to see history first-hand.
4. Play a game of consequences or stretch your students' story-telling ability by suggesting a story starter and taking turns adding a calamity/ escape plan. Write down all the twists and turns. You can even try illustrating it!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday for October 11, 2013.
Thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill.


17 comments:

  1. My perfect spot is right under my Mom Person's feet. This sounds like a fun book. A dog creating havoc! What a unique idea! I'll have to check this one out! Thanks!

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    1. Ha ha. You are so cute and clever. Thanks for making me smile.

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  2. This sounds like a perfect book for a picnic! what fun. And if it's winter, we can always picnic under the kitchen table...

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  3. This looks great!

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  4. I'm interested to see why the author chose this time period for her story. One to find!

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  5. Joanne, I enjoyed your selection today. Brought back memories of picnics as a child in parks, at the beach etc. Great to link this book with an autumn picnic theme with pumpkin picking and apple cider. My granddaughter would love this funny book.

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  6. Yes, and I now live near Prospect Park, so I really must put this on hold at Brooklyn library whose largest branch is at the northern tip of Prospect Park.

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  7. What a fun-sounding book, and great activities. Thank you.

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  8. I love the whimsical illustrations. Thanks for sharing this one Joanne!

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  9. I love books where there is something to find in each illustration. COWS TO THE RESCUE (or CHICKENS TO THE RESCUE) are some of our favorites. You have to find the sneaky animals in each scene. My kids would love to hunt for the do.

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  10. We are in a picnic phase. We'll have to find this one for my son.

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  11. Ah! Calamity sounds fun! And I love the idea of the stray dog in the back ground. Must find this and read it!

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  12. Thank-you all for your thoughtful comments. I am sorry to cut my replies short, but am very busy preparing for a workshop in three days. Fingers crossed.

    Also as for Cows to the Rescue. It looks great. I've bookmarked it. Maybe you could review it for PPBF, Kirsten?

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  13. sounds a like a fun, romping good time book. thanks. and yes Cows to the Rescue is an excellent book. I reviewed it last year for PPBF.

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    1. Thanks, Darshana. Here is a link to your thorough review of Cows to the Rescue. (I love the writers' analysis!)
      http://floweringminds.wordpress.com/?s=cows+to+the+rescue

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  14. Joanne...I grew up in NYC...and had many picnics in Prospect Park. Thanks for taking me down memory lane with this charming book. Great activities...and I appreciate you pointing out the value, as a writer, of examining this book closely. Wonderful choice.:)

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  15. This looks like such fun, Joanne! I love stories where a whole other story line takes place in the art! Thanks for sharing :)

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Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!