Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Monday, May 29, 2017

Whom do you remember?

Here we are celebrating Memorial Day with prayer, reflection, family time, and music by the Voices of Liberty.

We send our thanks to all the families who sacrifice at home everyday and the servicemen and women who sacrifice their wants for our needs.

We are most thankful to God for those who have gone before, those who have sacrificed their lives in the service of freedom.

 It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

For those families of servicemen, I'd like to recommend the following books, While My Soldier Serves and Fighting Fear. I recently met Edie Melson, the author of these powerful books. She knows what she's talking about and I highly recommend buying one of these books to strengthen and support the wives, children, and families of the members of our armed forces.

While My Soldier Serves,
Prayers for military families
Fighting Fear, Winning the War at Home
Secrets to living a peace-filled life

Friday, May 26, 2017

PPBF: Alpha Bravo Charlie

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Alpha Bravo Charlie,
The Complete Book of Nautical Codes, by Sara Gillingham
Alpha Bravo Charlie

Written and illustrated by Sara Gillingham

Phaidon Press, 2016
Ages 6-10, 120 pp

Language, Nautical, Nonfiction

Ship ahoy!
Imagine you are on a boat out at sea, a long time ago, with no phone or electronic way to talk to anyone else. Sailing in the big, wide ocean is pretty dangerous! There are pirate ships that could rob you, and maybe even enemy ships from countries you are at war with. So when you see another ship off in the distance, what do you do?

Alpha Bravo Charlie is truly a "complete book of nautical codes." The introduction explains the need for and definition of signal flags, the phonetic alphabet flags, Morse code, and semaphore. Then, for each letter of the alphabet, the book includes a full page flag, explanations of each of the other languages, plus a different kind of boat on every page giving examples of the code in use. Each boat is also explained in detail adding a bonus of 26 boats to the reader's repertoire. The back matter includes a glossary, more about nautical history, more about codes, decorating boats, links, and resources for further study. Whew!

What I Love:
This brightly colored, graphic book is sturdy and perfect for enquiring minds and eager little hands. The format is what makes it stand out, as well as the information packed between the covers. Even the endpapers are in Morse code (though I found myself wishing there was a secret message embedded there!) I loved learning the meanings of the flags and can see this being referred to often by best buddies: sending signals from the tree tops or covertly in the classroom. The creator cleverly included various ships to help tell her story. For example, the Alpha flag also means "diver down." The artist drew a boat with diving platform, including descriptive text, to cement the details in our minds. I was astounded she could come up with twenty-six different kinds of boats, each linking to the meaning of the International Code of Signals flags. I did find myself wishing I could detach the flags and use them. I can imagine my kid-self doing just that.


Secret codes in Math class
from What Do We Do All Day
1. I found an Australian site which has pictures and descriptions
of the International Code of Signal Flags.

2. has articles on the history of Morse code and
lessons on the subject.

3. I found a huge, detailed list of various ships on the Ultimate Online Guide. I wonder if it more or less reliable than Wikipedia.

4. Kids Activities Blog and each have a multitude of codes you can teach your kids.

5. Creative Interviews posted an interview with Sara Gillingham on her duties as design director.

6. Check out these related reviews from my previous posts and don't forget to support your local library.

Jackrabbit McCabe & the Electric Telegraph

Mr. Wuffles!

Reviewed by Leslie
Reviewed by Vivian

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 Friday, May 5, 2017 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Two Out of Three?

“A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.”
~ William Faulkner*

Czechoslovakian bookplate
via Pinterest

*Via Rosi at The Write Stuff

Friday, May 19, 2017

PPBF: The Book of Mistakes

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

The Book of Mistakes, by Corinna Luyken
The Book of Mistakes
Written and illustrated by Corinna Luyken

Dial BFYR, 2017
Ages 4-8, 56 pp

Creativity, Accidents

It started

with a mistake.

From the first two words, "It started" we see a pencil drawing a face and we know this book is going to be special. On the next page, the "artist" makes a blob where the eye should be. But this clever picture book shows readers how to keep creating through the mistakes, turning them into happy accidents, or transforming them into out-of-the-box solutions. As the book progresses, a main character emerges and by the end, her personality is fully realized along with a fantastic setting peopled with other unusual characters. The very end is no mistake as the story circles back on itself, leaving the reader with the definitive message to explore their creativity without fear.

What I Love:
This debut book showcases Corinna Luyken's talent in creating fascinating quirky drawings as well as a page-turning picture book. With the emphasis on the theme and the text directed at the reader, the "story" is a little light. But in many ways, this feels like a Peter H. Reynolds book. I predict many wonderful masterpieces as a result of the author's permission to revel in our mistakes.

1. For interviews with the illustrator, see SCBWI's Kidlit Artists, Design of the Picture Book, and Let's Talk Picture Books.

2. Introduce budding artists to Ed Emberley's drawing pages and books. No one says "I can't draw" when they follow his step-by-step instructions.

3. Peter H. Reynolds's International Dot Day is all about creativity. You don't have to wait until September to be infected by his encouraging mission.

4. Not confident with a pencil? Try baking Oops cookies from Steph's Blessings.

5. More4Kids has posted a straightforward article on helping children learn from their mistakes. And Roots of Action lists ten ways you can turn mistakes into positive experiences.

6. Check out these and more related Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Laura
Reviewed by Barbara

Reviewed by Leslie
Reviewed by Sue

Reviewed by Erik
Reviewed by Joanne

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 Friday, May 19, 2017 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Don't Forget the Fun

"Scarry considered himself above all else a fun-man disguised as an educator. 'Everything has an educational value if you look for it. But it’s the fun I want to get across.'"
—Richard Scarry*

Giraffe bookplate via Jaume Matamala

*Via Sterling Publishing

Friday, May 12, 2017

PPBF: Poor Louie

Thanks to Joyful Riot

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is dedicated to moms and their kids, expecting mothers, and doggie mommies.

Poor Louie, by Tony Fucile
Poor Louie
Written and illustrated by Tony Fucile
Candlewick, 2017
Ages 3-7, 40 pp

Pregnancy, Pets

Oh. Hello.
You're probably wondering what I'm doing here in the dark.
By myself. With all this stuff.

Louie the Chihuahua loves his pet parents. His life is perfect, until Mom and Dad begin preparing for real parenthood. Louie is convinced his happiness will end. Running away seems like the only solution, but the author-illustrator has something much better in store.

What I Love:
Tony's previous books are fun to read, so I knew this would be a winner. As I turned the pages in the book store I was struck by the beautiful balance between text and art. Tony's characters are utterly adorable. His style is vintage chic, timeless and appealing. As the story winds its way to the surprising yet inevitable conclusion, I found myself giggling, guessing, and hoping. I realized this book had staying power and bought it on the spot. It's a perfect gift for pet parents, older siblings, and parents-to-be, but kids will immediately relate to the main character. This is my new book crush...and I'm a cat person!

1. If you aren't familiar with Tony Fucile (pronounced Foo-Chilly), you can find an interview from a previous book, Let's Do Nothing! at Candlewick Press. Or watch The Iron Giant or Disney's Lion King or The Little Mermaid. Tony was a phenomenal character animator.

DIY Network features this all natural
dog treat recipe with bacon and peanut butter
2. For care and feeding of real Chihuahuas, visit Totally Chihuahuas

3. Young readers might enjoy a free Chihuahua coloring page from Coloring Café.

4. Poor Louie is hilarious, but helping your pet cope with a new baby is serious business. Get tips from both sides of the cradle at Parents online and the ASPCA.

5. For the humans in your life, try this recipe for White Chocolate Vanilla Peanut Butter Puppy Chow from AverieCooks.

6. Check out these and more related Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Joanna
Reviewed by Penny
Reviewed by Diane
Reviewed by Erik
Reviewed by Wendy
Reviewed by Heather
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 Friday, May 12, 2017 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

See the World

"We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth."

~John Lubbock*

Letterpress bookplate of Australia
Created by Mac and Ninny
*Via Quote Garden