Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Girl with a Parrot on her Head

The Girl with a Parrot on her Head

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is The Girl with the Parrot on her Head[spacer height=”10px”]

Written/Illustrated  by:  Daisy Hirst

Publisher: Candlewick (2016)

Suitable for ages: 2- 5

Themes/Topics: Coping with loss, anger, fear, anxiety, friendship

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Brief Synopsis:  Isabel, who wears a parrot on her head, has a best friend named Simon who moves away. At first she hates everything and is able to cope by sorting and labeling her things into cardboard boxes.  Except she and her parrot worry about the box of wolves, especially what to do with one big wolf. Until she finds a big box. And inside that box is a boy named Chester who helps her deal with the wolf.

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Opening pages:

“Once there was a girl with a parrot on her head. Her name was Isabel, and she had a friend named Simon, who was very good with newts.

But one day Simon went away in a truck and never came back.”

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 Why I like this book This story addresses the range of emotions kids experience when coping with loss, anger, fear, and anxiety in a unique way.  The use of symbolism for anxiety and fear using boxes and wolves may be quirky, but effective. The illustrations cleverly show time through the seasons demonstrating coping while finding a solution to a problem takes time. Kids learn about different difficult feelings they may encounter when disappointed or hurt by the loss of a friend, but also that those feelings don’t always last. In the end, new friendships do come along.

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Resources

Read more of today’s reviews at author Susanna Hill’s blog.

Happy reading!

I YAM A DONKEY by Cece Bell

I YAM A DONKEY by Cece Bell

Although I read today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick last week, I YAM still laughing!

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Title: I YAM A DONKEY story, pictures, and bad grammar

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Written & Illustrated by:  Cece Bell

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Publisher: Clarion Books (June 16, 2015)

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Suitable for ages: 4-8

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Themes/Topics: Wordplay, grammar, dialogue, humor

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Brief Synopsis:  A yam, yes, a vegetable, determined to correct the grammar of an oblivious donkey fails because it’s just an impossible feat. The frustrated yam enlists other vegetables to help but remains unsuccessful. Alas, all good things must end and the surprise ending to this story is laugh out loud funny.

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Opening pages:

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YAM:  What did you say?  “I yam a donkey?” The proper way to say                               that is “I am a donkey.”

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DONKEY: You is a donkey, too? You is a funny-looking donkey.

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YAM:  No, I am a yam. You are the one who said, “I am a donkey.” 

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Why I like this book It is laugh out loud funny! As the publisher’s blurb pointed out, I YAM A DONKEY can be compared to the comedic routine of the“Who’s on first.” about baseball by Abbott and Costello. What a fun way to teach grammar and dialogue. The ending is hilarious. I double dare you not to laugh while reading this book.

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  • Find a comprehensive list of resources here with a links to Cece Bell’s school presentation reading the book, activities, crafts, material about yams and sweet potatoes, and other books on grammar, etc.

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  • TeachersPayTeachers has a book companion unit here.

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  • Find a free ESOL resource here.

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  • After learning all about grammar, make some yam or sweet potato fries. Read the story and you’ll know why!

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To read more reviews of today’s picks, visit author Susanna Hill’s blog.

Happy reading!

The Littlest Streetcar by Vernon Smith

The Littlest Streetcar by Vernon Smith

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is The Littlest Streetcar by author-illustrator Vernon Smith. What a sweet story! [spacer height=”10px”]

Written & Illustrated by:  Vernon Smith

PublisherPelican Publishing Company, Inc. (February 2017)

Suitable for ages: 3 and up

Themes/Topics: Self-Concept, Self-esteem, New Orleans, Louisiana, Streetcars & Trains, Transportation

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Brief SynopsisThis 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.

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 Opening pages:

“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.” 

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 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 Baby the first book we both published with Pelican; he as the illustrator.

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In the back matter Smith gives a brief history about New Orleans streetcars and his inspiration for writing the story.

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Resources

  • 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.

  • See this KidsHealth PreK-2 Teacher’s Guide on Self-esteem

  • Extension activities to help children develop self-esteem.

  • Extension crafts from Pinterest to help children develop self-esteem.

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Read more today’s reviews at author Susanna Hill’s blog.

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Happy reading!

HELLO BABY by Keila V. Dawson

HELLO BABY by Keila V. Dawson

THE 2nd ANNUAL #50PreciousWords Writing Challenge hosted by author Vivian Kirkfield in honor of Dr. Suess is here!

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The challenge is to write a story for children 12 and under using 50 words or less. YIKES!

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My entry, at exactly 50 words, is about the wonder and curiosity a child has about the baby growing inside his or her mother.

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HELLO BABY

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You’re quiet inside mama’s belly. What are you doing in there?

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Listening?

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Sleeping?

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Dreaming?

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You’re moving inside mama’s belly. And I can feel what you’re doing in there.

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Kicking.

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Stretching.

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Twisting.

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You’re noisy outside mama’s belly. I can hear and see what you’re doing now!

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Screaming!

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Squealing!

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Smiling!

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Hello baby!

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