Friday, November 10, 2017

PPBF: Clara and Davie

Here's today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick:

A biographical story of sibling love, by Patricia Polacco
Clara and Davie
The True Story of Young Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross

Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
Scholastic Press, 2014
Ages 3-6, 40 pp, 690L

Biography, Siblings, Kindness

On a cold, blustery morning in North Oxford, Massachusetts, a blizzard was threatening and bearing down hard. It was Christmas Day 1821.
Mama was expecting her fifth child. Ten years had passed since her last baby. Mama's health was fragile.

Young Clara adores her older brother. He encourages her to explore nature, to look into employment outside of traditional women's roles, and to be herself. Her passion for animals leads her to become a sort of veterinary doctor her community relies on, but when her brother is gravely injured, Clara will need all her skills to help him survive.

What I Love:
The text is in a slightly older, more wordy style, but it tells the story with warm, sensory detail. The tender relationship between siblings, though they are ten years apart, is one modern audiences need to hear. The author uses this true story from Clara Barton's past to give readers a look into her depth of character and into the circumstances which helped shape her groundbreaking career. The author's note explains the writer's personal connection to the family and provides more historical detail. Lively illustrations in Polacco's trademark style add personality and ground the story in time and place.

1. Find fascinating facts about the real Clara Barton at the Clara Barton Museum in Washington, DC or explore their website. HistoryNet offers fasts facts and a summary of her accomplishments, while the National Archives houses several of her correspondence and photos.

2. Visit the Red Cross site to find ways even kids can volunteer, and be an example of good citizenship by finding a blood drive near you. RocParent offers suggestions for teaching children about blood donations and Easy Science For Kids elaborates on the technical side of your circulatory system.

3. Boys' Life posted a great article on stocking a first aid kit. Use it along with the 5 easy safety tips every kids should know from Boston Parent Paper.

4. Clara started out as an animal caretaker, a good place for all kids to learn gentleness and empathy. I enjoyed reading the creative ways kids can get involved in animal-centered volunteering from Mother Nature Network, the Central PA Humane Society, and PETA Kids.

5. Did you know there are several songs about Clara Barton? Makers asked modern songwriters to band together to create songs to teach and honor Clara. "Angel of Mercy" is a teaching song, by Jonathan Sprout. "Lady With the Lamp", by Jerry Garcia, and "Thank-you, Nurse" by Joe McDonald are two you can find online.

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

Reviewed by Leslie
Reviewed by Joanna

Revieweed by Family-Ship
Reviewed by Valarie

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Kid-Lit Reviews

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, November 3, 2017 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. I love Patricia Polacco's books. I have not read this story. She is so popular that I think she can get away with wordy stories. They are so relevant and her artwork beautiful. Don't know how I missed this one. We have some of her earliest autographed books in the 1990s. Always been a fan!

    1. One of my closest friends in high school was a huge fan and introduced me to her lovely body of work. In my opinion, her books keep getting better. Enjoy!

  2. One of the first picture books my daughter received as a present was Patricia Polacco's Keeping Quilt. I'm looking forward to reading Clara and Davie. Somehow, I missed this book.

    1. What a lovely memory! I hope you have a chance to share Clara and Davie with her. I thought it was both touching and inspiring. Thanks.

  3. Definitely one I also missed and need to go find. Thanks Joanne for highlighting it!

    1. It's a great addition to any library collection. Maybe you can request it. Thanks for stopping in.

  4. I hadn't seen this story by one of my favorite authors. There is heart in all of Polacco's books. Thanks for pointing this one out! And thanks for adding all of the bonus resources to your review.

    1. If you're a Polacco fan, you'll enjoy the personal connection she shares in the author's note. Thanks for reading!

  5. I hadn't known Patricia Polacco had written a biography of Clara Barton. This sounds like a marvelous one. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I didn't realize it was a biographical story when I picked it up, but was so pleasantly surprised. Thanks.

  6. I missed this when it came out too! Silly me!

    1. There are days when I start to realize I just can't read them all... but I keep trying. Thanks.

  7. I love Polacco's books and that her editor allows her to still write wordier texts for this age group! I know nothing about Clara Barton, and would love to fill in some gaps by reading this. personal authorial connections are always interesting.

    1. I am thrilled this book (and others like it) prove wordier text can still be valuable for readers and makes a terrific book! --As I shout from my soapbox! Thanks for reading.


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.