Friday, January 29, 2016

PPBF: Maudie and Bear

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Maudie and Bear,
by Jan Ormerod and Freya Blackwood
Maudie and Bear
Written by Jan Ormerod
Illustrated by Freya Blackwood
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2010,
American edition 2012
ages 3-8, under 800 words

Friendship, Manners

"I need some exercise," said Maudie.
"Fresh air would be nice," said Bear.
"How about a bike ride?" said Maudie

Maudie and Bear are friends. In this picture book with five short stories, readers are introduced to imaginative, adorable Maudie. She is an everyman, playing in the yard, eating cookies, having tea parties. Bear is more like a beloved dad. It is the believable reactions of Maudie and the patient love of Bear that make this book a Frog and Toad for this generation. Stories include "Making Up", where Maudie's antics make Bear laugh. Maudie can't understand why anyone would be laughing at her, except to poke fun, and so a tiff ensues. In "Telling Stories" Bear makes excuses for listening to Maudie's made-up story with his eyes closed. Maudie tries everything little ones do to get Bear to stay awake but in the end, it is Bear who has to finish the tale. Also included are "The Bike Ride," "Home Sweet Home," and "The Snack."

What I Love:
Jan Ormerod perfectly captures the voice of little Maudie. She pouts without being spoiled. She exasperates without being annoying. The parent / child friendship is the perfect vehicle for these quiet stories which will seem familiar to any mom and idyllic to any child. Freya Blackwood's illustrations are . . . perfect. (Can't use that word too many times for this collection.) Her soft watercolors are both fresh and nostalgic. And the fabulous American edition was designed by Annie Ericsson, designeer extraordinaire. I dare you not to love this award-winning book.


Photos and variations courtesy Minieco
1. Early Words offers a teacher guide with activities, written by Dr. Robin Morrow.
2. I love the torn paper bear made by Crafty Morning. The no-scissors technique is easy for even the smallest readers.
3. Pair storytime with snacktime with bear toast from Kids Soup.
4. Have your students come up with additional adventures for Maudie and Bear. Use the existing stories to teach conflict and resolution.
5. Check out these and other related Perfect Picture Books from your local library.

Reviewed by Amy
Reviewed by Kirsten

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Stacy

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for January 29, 2016, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's excellent blog.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Register for World Read Aloud Day

Make your plans to celebrate reading around the world.

Register at

How will you celebrate?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Most Valuable Possessions

". . . the things of greatest value are the things that can’t be taken away – creativity, heart and intelligence. "
-Mira Reisberg*

Bookplate provided by Pratt Institute Libraries

*Via Nerdy Chicks Rule

Friday, January 22, 2016

PPBF: The Biggest, Best Snowman

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

The Biggest, Best Snowman,
by Margie Cuyler and Will Hillenbrand
The Biggest, Best Snowman
Written by Margery Cuyler
Illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Scholastic, 1998
Age 4-8, ATOS level 3.6

winter, individuality


Little Nell lived with BIG Mama, BIG Sarah, and BIG Lizzie in a BIG house in a BIG snowy woods.

Little Nell lives with her BIG family. They tell her she is too small to help, too small to do anything. So Nell escapes to the BIG woods to get some perspective. Her animals friends persuade her that she is too big enough to build a snowman, a really, really big snowman. She teaches them how to roll the snowballs just right, how to build a snowman, and how to decorate him. Nell proves to her family that she is both clever and capable, even if she is small. 

What I Love:
Margie Cuyler uses the common childhood experience of being left out as the basis for this simple story. The stunning pictures are full of life and color (despite all the snow.) And illustrator Will Hillenbrand throws in a few surprises too. (Look carefully at the tracks the animals make in the snow.)


One blogger thought this mom had too much time
 on her hands. Sorry, I disagree. These are adorable! 
1.Margie Cuyler talks about her love of picture books and why they're important on WritingForKidsWhileRaisingThem.
2. You'll find teacher resources on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock site
and more worksheets and ideas on The Picture Book Teacher
3. Create a healthy snowman snack with cheese sticks from  ihow.
4. Try Tic Tac Snow and other fun activities suggested by Parents Magazine.
5. Live in a sunny climate? Make your own play snow with this recipe from Momma's Fun World.
6. Parenting Chaos recommends additional children's books about snowmen.
7. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Joanna
Reviewed by Patricia

Reviewed by Katie
Reviewed by Joanne

Reviewed by GradeOnederful

Reviewed by Catherine

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for January 22, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Monday, January 18, 2016

What We Might Be

"If fantasy speaks to us as we are, it also speaks to us as we might be.”
~Lloyd Alexander*

Bookplate of a musician by Louis John Rhead

*Via Beth Cato

Sunday, January 17, 2016

ReviMo 2016 Concludes

Grab your winners badge at Meg Miller Writes

Thanks to Meg Miller and all her special guest for motivation and valuable editing advice. 

My goal this year was to revise each of the seven days and to make significant changes to at least four manuscripts. I only revised 6 days, but I did write an outline for a brand new manuscript on day one, so I'm feeling pretty awesome!

How was your ReviMo?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 Reading Frenzy

50 Book Pledge sponsored by The Savvy Reader

I keep forgetting to post this. 

Each year I plan to read at least 50 new books during the year plus an additional 150 picture books. I exceeded both of those goals in 2015, and enjoyed some pretty amazing stories. (I finally read Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan and Sparky! was a favorite picture book discovery.) 
This year I've joined the 50 Book Pledge to help me keep track. I've also signed up on Goodreads, and have pledged to use that site this year. 
In addition, I plan to win one of  K. M. Weiland's books by finishing her 100 book challenge. (Picture books don't count.) I received her Structuring Your Novel for my birthday and can't wait to dive into it. If you're up for it, why not join us? What have you got to lose?
Have you set your reading goals for 2016?
Do you have a stack by your bed, or a list on Pinterest, or do you simply harvest from your local library?

Share your tips and goals in the comments and join me on Goodreads or 50BookPledge.

2016 Reading Challenge,
 sponsored by GoodReads
100 Book Challenge,
sponsored by K. M. Weiland

Monday, January 11, 2016

Students and Escapists

"I divide all readers into two classes: Those who read to remember and those who read to forget."
-William Lyon Phelps

Bookplate by Anna Mackova

Friday, January 8, 2016

PPBF: Mediopollito

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

by Alma Flora Ada and Kim Howard
Mediopollito, Half-Chicken
Written by Alma Flor Ada
Illustrated by Kim Howard
Translated by Rosalma Zubizarreta
Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 1995
Age 5-9

Bilingual, folktale

Has vista alguna vez una veleta? Sabes de donde salio el gallito en la punta, un gallito que da vueltas para decirnos en que direccion sopla el viento?
Te lo voy a contar. Es un cuento viejo, viejisimo, que mi abuelita me conto. A ella se lo habia contado su abuelita. Dice asi . . .
Have you ever seen a weather vane? Do you know why there is a little rooster on one end, spinning around to let us know which way the wind is blowing?
Well, I'll tell you. It's an old, old story that my grandmother once told me. And before that, her grandmother told it to her. It goes like this . . .

Hace mucho, muchisimo tiempo, alla en Mexico, en una hacienda, una gallina empollaba sus huevos.
A long, long time ago on a Mexican ranch, a mother hen was sitting on her eggs.

Mediopollito, Half-Chicken is a retelling of the traditional Mexican folk tale. This origin tale explains how we got the roosters on our weathervanes. Though retold from Spain to Latin America, Alma Flor Ada has choosen to rewrite the Cuban version. In the story, the main character is hatched with only one leg, one wing, one eye. Mediopollito is only half a chicken. He embarks on a journey to find fame and meaning. During his travels he helps untangle the wind, frees the river from the jumble of branches in its path, and aids a fire from going out. When Medipollito reaches the town, he ends up in a cook pot. His friends the wind, the river, and the fire, help him escape. Flying to the tallest building in town, Mediopollito finally feels he has found his place, watching the world go by, but staying safe from its dangers. From then on, he remains atop the building, as do all weathervanes.

What I Love:
I love folktales and origin tales. This one is no exception. It is simple, with fantastic elements, like the anthropomorphic wind and fire. Although the story is completely fictional, it rings true for young readers because Mediopollito is determined not to let his limitations hold him back from following his dreams. The light-hearted folkart illustrations by Kim Howard reinforce the rich history of this story. The book is bilingual, a great way to introduce kids of all backgrounds to another language. The Spanish is beautifully lyrical, and the English telling is fun. Notes from the author are included in the edition I read.


Photo courtesy See What We Did Today
1. Take your readers on a trip around the world by reading folktales from other countries. Alma Flor Ada has more bilingual books and several collections of folk tales and nursery rhymes from Spanish speaking countries.
2. Find fun Spanish worksheets at Enchanted and plenty of resources for teachers on the author's website.
3. Shelly Palmer recommends 5 apps which introduce kids to Spanish.
3. Weather WizKids has weather themed jokes and science experiments for pre-school through elementary age students.
4. First-School has instructions for a handprint rooster on a stick which can be used as a puppet to act out the story.
5. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Vivian
Reviewed by Susanna

Reviewed by Tiffa
Reviewed by Joanne

Reviewed by Julie
Reviewed by Renee

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for January 8, 2016 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Keep Trying

"It is better to have tried and failed, than to have failed without trying."
-Joe Girard*

Bookplate by Horatio Poole,
Courtesy Davidson Galleries

*from Jo Linsdell Feliciani via Facebook