Simon’s New Bed – A Story of Sharing and Friendship Today at Perfect Picture Book Friday!

We adopted our dog, Max, about eight years ago. Of all the dogs at the rescue shelter, he was the most desperate to be loved because he had been adopted and returned six times.

The second he saw my daughter and me, he walked up to us and poured out his love with a million, hope-filled, dog kisses. I’ll never forget that day. I cradled Max in my arms like a baby and rubbed his belly while my daughter planted kisses all over his warm head and twiddled his ears. Max was the missing puzzle piece in our family picture.

We gave Max his own dog bed to snuggle into, his very own bowls for water and food, a blanket, and toys. Some years passed, and we decided to add more pets to our family. A budgie, a cockatiel, a dozen fish, one tortoise, and some treefrogs. With each new pet, Max worried he would have to make it through each day with less than ALL of our love. At times he’d turn his back to us and give us the silent treatment. Other days, he’d bark at the birds to show them who’s boss, He sniffed the tortoise and sneezed on its shell, he snubbed the fish and frogs. But… over time, Max learned to share his home with our little zoo. Which brings me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review in which learning to share leads to friendship.

Simon's New Bed by [Trimmer, Christian]

Title –  Simon’s New Bed

Author – Christian Trimmer

Illustrator – Melissa van der Paardt

Published by – Atheneum Books for Young Readers – 2015

Suitable for ages – 4 to 8

Topics – Sharing and friendship

Opening – What do you think of your new bed, Simon? You like it?

Bark! Bark!

Okay, Simon. Let’s go for a walk. You can try out your new bed when we get back!

Amazon Review  HERE. Simon’s new dog bed has been claimed by…a cat?! Laughter, scheming, and cuddles ensue in this fun naptime tale you’ll want to share, from debut author Christian Trimmer and illustrator Melissa van der Paardt.

Simon’s been looking forward to trying out his brand-new dog bed all day. He may be ready for the best nap of his life, but Miss Adora Belle the cat has other ideas. She’s taken over his bed before he even gets a chance to try it—and she’s not budging. As Simon struggles to find a way to free his bed for the Greatest Naptime Ever, he may just discover something wonderful about his new bed: there’s plenty of room for two.

Learn more about Christian Trimmer HERE.

Learn more about Melissa van der Paardt and this book HERE.

Video tutorial for a no-sew pet bed HERE.

Until next Friday.

There’s Room for Two this Perfect Picture Book Friday!

At the end of a long day of writing, editing, laundry, grocery shopping, feeding my zoo, giving homework help, paying bills, and making three meals plus a batch of biscotti, I’m understandably tired. It’s nine o’clock, and a familiar movie is playing on TV. My husband is camped out in his recliner, probably playing chess on his cell phone. Across the room, my daughter is zen tangling in her sketchbook. At the far end of the sofa, our snoring dog is making his nap look awfully, awfully good! Too good.

I lean back, just a little, to rest my head. Then, I slide down. Before long, I tilt over and stretch my legs. Soon, I’m drifting.

“Scootch in a little, Mom,” my daughter says, rubbing my shoulder.

My eyes still closed, I say, “The sofa isn’t wide enough for two. Why don’t you camp out on the loveseat?”

“Because I want to camp here with you,” she says.

I’m unable to resist the sweetness in her voice.

I scootch up against the back of the sofa, she squirms to find a comfy place beside me, and somehow, we wake up two hours later from a perfectly cozy nap.

I’m glad our sofa is big enough for two, which leads me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review…

Title –  Just Right for Two

Author – Tracey Corderoy

Illustrator – Rosalind Beardshaw

Published by – Nosy Crow – 2013

Suitable for ages – 3-5 (but I’m pretty sure people of all ages will love this book.)

Topics – Friendship

Opening – Dog had a big blue suitcase. He took it with him everywhere. Inside were all his special things… a bumpy little pinecone, a smooth rock with a hole in it, some dancing leaves,…

Amazon Review  HERE.  Dog has everything he needs in his big blue suitcase. Or does he?  Dog’s big blue suitcase is the perfect fit for all the little treasures he has collected. He is sure that he is happy with just himself and his suitcase. Until one night when Mouse comes along, and Dog discovers that his big blue suitcase is actually just right for two.

Why I like this book—  I love all things precious, and this book falls neatly into that category. Take one adorable dog with a treasure-packed suitcase, add to this a free-spirited mouse who recognizes the perfect place to squeeze in for a nap when he sees it, and you’ve got the makings of a lasting friendship. Now… team up one great writer with the artistic talents of  Rosalind Beardshaw, whose gift for capturing emotions is evident on every page, and… what more can I say?

Tracey Corderoy shares the inspiration behind her book, Just Right for Two, HERE.

Learn more about Rosalind Beardshaw HERE.

Listen to a precious reading of this book HERE.

Until next Friday.

Perfect Picture Book Friday Visits a “Home in the Woods”

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Thinking back to my childhood, it seemed any random moment or activity reminded my parents, grandmother, or other relatives of a story from long ago. Cooking raspberries for jam brought back memories of living in Germany, during the time of Hitler.

“You don’t know how good you have it, Leslie. When I was your age, I was sent to a youth labor camp. When the berries were ripe, I was ordered to pick them but was forbidden to eat any. Tasting even one was punishable because the berries were only meant for the people who ran the camp.” 

For the first time, I truly savored a raspberry while I wondered what “punishable” meant.

A comment of having to wait in the cold snow for the school bus brought stories of the days when getting to school meant trudging through deep snow for a mile or more in itchy long underwear and itchy wool socks. My dad used to say,  “Back then, we were too busy scratching to get into any trouble.”

I keep many of these stories with me–some make me smile while others leave me grateful I live now and not then. Although to hear my relatives share their stories, it seemed like growing up without money for toys and other little luxuries gave them the gift of imagination to create their own games and fun. And this leads me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday Review of Eliza Wheeler’s beautiful book, Home in the Woods.

Title – Home in the Woods

Author – Eliza Wheeler

Illustrator – Eliza Wheeler

Published by – Nancy Paulsen Books – 2019

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics – Single-parent families, Depression time

Opening – This is my family. Dad lives with the angels now, and we need to find a new home.    SUMMER    Deep in these woods, we find a shack all wrapped in tar paper. It’s hot outside, but the shack looks cold and empty, like I feel inside.

Amazon Review  HERE. Eliza Wheeler’s gorgeously illustrated book tells the story of what happens when six-year-old Marvel, her seven siblings, and their mom must start all over again after their father has died. Deep in the woods of Wisconsin, they find a tar-paper shack. It doesn’t seem like much of a home, but they soon start seeing what it could be. During their first year, it’s a struggle to maintain the shack and make sure they have enough to eat. But each season also brings its own delights and blessings–and the children always find a way to have fun. Most importantly, the family finds immense joy in being together, surrounded by nature. And slowly, their little shack starts feeling like a true home–warm, bright and filled up with love.

Why I like this book— One of the best presents anyone can give me is a story. And if the story is from their “way back when” years, the more details they sprinkle in, to bring me into their memory, the better. This is exactly what Eliza Wheeler gives readers in her touching and beautifully-written story inspired by her grandmother’s childhood. We are taken on a tour of the abandoned tar paper shack the family moves into and shown the previous owner’s possessions: a rusty oven, a potbelly stove, empty crates, box springs, old glass jars, and rags. Despite starting over in this dark and dilapidated place, the family slowly turns the broken shack into a home filled with love. The illustrations can only be described as enchanting.

Q and A with Eliza Wheeler HERE.

Until next Friday.

“The Monstore” Meets Perfect Picture Book Friday

Did you ever buy something that didn’t work EXACTLY like it did in a TV commercial? Did you ever save up your allowances, as a kid, to buy the toy all of your friends had or desperately wanted?

Like me, you probably emptied your piggy bank and scrounged between sofa cushions for pennies. You probably didn’t even splurge on a pack of gum. Finally, the day arrived when you had enough money.

You plunked down a fistful of noisy coins and hurried home with your new toy to play. But disappoint followed when the toy didn’t work EXACTLY like it did on TV. The slinky snagged on the shag carpet on the second step. The pet rock spent all of its time playing dead. The spinner on the game of LIFE jammed and stopped making that amazing, whirring sound.

After you pouted, kicked the toy across the room, and complained about the money you wasted, you tried to return the toy and GET YOUR MONEY BACK!

“I’m sorry, but we can’t accept opened or used toys.”

“No returns or refunds.”

“Sorry.”

Like me, you probably brought home your disappointment and shoved the toy under your bed.

If this scenario is even the teensiest bit familiar, you’ll find yourself relating to today’s incredibly fun Perfect Picture Book.

Title – The Monstore

Author – Tara Lazar

Illustrator – James Burks

Published by – Aladan – 2013

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics/Theme – Monsters and siblings

Opening – At the back of Frankensweet’s Candy Shoppe, under the last box of sour gum balls, there’s a trapdoor. Knock five times fast, hand over a bag of squirmy worms, and you can crawl inside… THE MONSTORE.

Amazon Review HERE. The Monstore is the place to go for all of your monsterly needs. Which is perfect, since Zack definitely has a monsterly need. The problem? His pesky little sister, Gracie, who never pays attention to that “Keep Out” sign on Zack’s door–the one he has made especially for her.

But when Zack’s monsters don’t exactly work as planned, he soon finds out that the Monstore has a few rules: No Refunds. No exchanges. No exceptions.

Learn more about Tara Lazar HERE.

Learn more about James Burks HERE.

Find some Monsterly-fun art projects for kids HERE, like these super adorable glove monsters!

glove monsters

Image credit –  playideas.com

Until next Friday!