Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is The Littlest Streetcar by author-illustrator Vernon Smith. What a sweet story!
Written & Illustrated by: Vernon Smith
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. (February 2017)
Suitable for ages: 3 and up
Themes/Topics: Self-Concept, Self-esteem, New Orleans, Louisiana, Streetcars & Trains, Transportation
Brief Synopsis: This is a story about a little streetcar named Charlie who wasn’t as popular as other streetcars because he was a maintenance vehicle. Convinced he was “just a worker car”, Charlie didn’t feel worthy or as important as the other streetcars until his skills helped them out of trouble. Charlie then realized he is appreciated and valuable and special, just they way he is.
“Charlie the Streetcar liked to roll down the tracks and enjoy his day. It made him very happy, because he didn’t go out all the time like the other streetcars.
Some days, Charlie was called upon to put sand on the rails. This would create traction, so the other streetcars could move without the wheels slipping and sliding.”
Why I like this book: This is such an endearing story with a wonderful message. The Littlest Streetcar reminds readers that there is something special about each and every one of us. The artwork is colorful and expressive showing every character’s personality. See if you can find the spread where Vernon Smith gives a shout out to The King Cake Babythe first book we both published with Pelican; he as the illustrator.
In the back matter Smith gives a brief history about New Orleans streetcars and his inspiration for writing the story.
Learn more here about New Orleans Streetcars. And if you are ever in the city take a ride on one!
Read the history of trams, trolleys, and streetcars here and or visit your local train museum.
I am fortunate to have read an advanced copy of BunnyBear, my pick for today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday. What a delightful story!
Written by: Andrea J. Loney
Illustrated by: Carmen Saldaña
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (January 31, 2017)
Suitable for ages: 5-8
Themes/Topics:bears, identity, being yourself, friendship, acceptance
Brief Synopsis:What should a bear do when he feels like a bunny? And other bears called him odd. He wiggled his nose, nibbled on strawberries, and bounced through the forest of course!
Author Andrea Loney tells the story about a bear who did what felt natural because “It made him feel free and light and happy.” Even though others did not always understand, Bunnybear finds out he is not the only animal whose identity is at odds with social norms. Readers will celebrate the importance of staying true to who you are on the inside, despite what you look like on the outside.
“There was once a bear who was more than a bear.
Sure, he was shaggy and stompy like most bears. And he could be loud-very loud-if he wanted to.
But when he was alone, he loved to bounce through he forest, wiggle his nose, and nibble on strawberries. It made him feel free and light and happy.”
Why I like this book: BunnyBear is a wonderful story to introduce kids to the idea that it’s more important to know who you are, be yourself and be happy rather than try to live in a way that doesn’t feel right to please others.
Being different can be difficult and lonely for kids. This story gives them hope. They learn that being true to your natural self means you don’t have to be alone. And somewhere there are friends who will accept you for who you are. The theme of this story is “Just be you.”
Susanna Hill’s book lists on Acceptance/Tolerance and Be Yourself/Individuality.
Chapter Two “I’m Special” and Chapter Six “I Like Myself” from author Vivian Kirkfield‘s book Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking has many activities appropriate activities.
To read more reviews of today’s picks, visit author Susanna Hill’s blog.