Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, you’ll meet a man who knows the names of EVERYTHING!

I was on one of those baking-hot family vacations, back in the days when having air conditioning in a car was optional. Seriously. My sister and I were probably the only kids at school whose parents would not spend the extra dollars to have it installed.

“Roll down your window,” they’d say, “and poke your head out if you’re hot.”

Okay, maybe not in those exact words, but the coolest air my sister and I enjoyed in the back seat was called WD50 which translates to windows down at 50mph.

I’m remembering one vacation out in Colorado when we drove through the Rocky Mountains. The meadow flowers bowed in the breezes, the sun blazed over us, and the views were spectacular. Up in the passenger seat, my mother glanced up from her map to gaze out the window. (Yes. These were the days before cell phones. How did we manage to live back then???)

“STOP!” my mom ordered. “There’s no one behind us. Back up about one-hundred feet, and pull over.”

Of course, we all thought Mom had spotted an injured animal and asked what we were backing down the mountain to rescue.

“I saw a (insert LONG Latin name of a botanical species found in Colorado EXCEPT at that particular time of year).”

Dad pulled over. Mom popped the trunk and pulled out a small pail and trowel. (These were standard equipment in our car when traveling with my mother.) Mom marched up the hill, flashed us her triumphant smile, knelt, and dug up the rare species to bring home for her rock garden. I don’t think there was a plant she didn’t know the proper botanical name for. That goes for bird names, too.

As always, my story ties in with today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review. Yes, my story was about my mother, who, like my dad, amazed me with all she knew–just like the child in today’s book who feels amazement at his father’s extensive knowledge.

My Father Knows the Names of Things is written by Jane Yolen, the beloved, award-winning children’s author of more than 370 books and illustrated by the imaginative, award-winning illustrator, Stephane Jorisch.

Title – My Father Knows the Names of Things

Written by – Jane Yolen

Illustrated by –Stephane Jorisch

Published by – Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers – 2010

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Learning, sharing, father and child time.

Opening –

My father knows the names of things,

Each bird that sings,

Their nicknames, too,

He knows the names of dogs

And cheese

And seven words that all mean blue.

Amazon Review HERE – From each bird that sings, to every kind of cloud, to all of the planets, the father in this story knows the names of them all–and takes the time to impart his knowledge to his child. As they walk together outside, the father points out which mosses are the fuzziest and which insects are the buzziest, which flowers are the tallest and which beetles are the smallest. Jane Yolen’s lyrical text is complemented by Stephane Jorisch’s soft artwork, a pairing that is touching without being overly sentimental, which makes this the perfect choice for fathers and children to share.

Learn more about Jane Yolen HERE.

Learn more about Stephane Jorisch HERE.

Until next Friday!

A Parisian Night Before Christmas Picture Book That’s Tre’ Chic!

If you thought that picture books were written just for children, I’ve got a surprise for you. I was recently visiting Chicago, strolling through the decked out, lighted shops when…

What to my wandering eyes should appear,

but a book nestled snug between holly and deer.

It stood beneath branches all lit up and bright

like a treasure I’d found that came into my sight.

This book was just right for my fave holiday!

Twas the night before Christmas IN  PARIS, Hooray!

Away to the register, I made a mad dash

Flung open my purse and then laid out my cash.

One look at my cell and I saw it was three.

I grabbed book and receipt, and I started to flee.

My train left at four, so I started to jog.

I had to get home to start typing my blog.

This holiday version of this classic is sweet

I hope my dear followers find this a treat.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good read.

Title – The Night Before Christmas in Paris

Written by – Betty Lou Phillips and Roblyn Herndon

and illustrated by – Sheryl Dickert

Published by – Gibbs Smith – 2012

Opening – 

Twas the week before Christmas!

All over the world

The children were breathless

as visions unfurled

Of the magical time when their

dreams would take flight

And the sweet sound of sleigh bells

would ring in the night.

 

But Santa was frantic–

he wasn’t elated,

For his dear Mrs. Claus

could not be located.

The lists were not finished;

the maps were a mess,

And where to deliver

was anyone’s guess.

Amazon Review – A haute stocking stuffer for Paris lovers.

Haute couture and Paris sights capture Mrs. Claus’s imagination―as they would any woman’s! This charming story finds Mrs. Claus fabulously ensconced in Paris, having enjoyed fashion week and been lured for several months’ stay by all the sights, scents, and couture of Paris. In the end, Santa takes a quick tour of the City of Light himself―the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées, the Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, Notre Dame, Montmartre and more―to find the satiated Mrs. Claus and whisk her back home just in time to help the elves with the last-minute packing of toys for children all over the world.

Find more “Perfect Picture Book Friday” reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.

Until next Friday.

Wrap up this book for someone special. Poetry Friday meets Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Last week, my hubby surprised me with a present that combines three of my interests between one set of colorful book covers. The book is called Origami and Haiku inspired by Japanese artwork. With Christmas nearly here, I’d like to share this book with you because I believe it would make a perfect present, both for children and adults.

This book combines the beautiful and sparse poetry form of Haiku, the intricate, paper-folding art of origami, stunning nature illustrations by various Japanese artists, and…

if that doesn’t seem amazing enough, 50 removable origami papers so readers can follow along and create the projects which correspond to the poems and art.

I call that a lot to love in a book!

 

Title – Origami and Haiku – inspired by Japanese artwork

Published by – Nosy Crow, an imprint of Candlewick Press – 2018

Topics/Theme –  Haiku poems, origami projects, Japanese nature illustrations

A haiku poem from the page about the rabbit:  

even the rabbit droops one

of her ears–

midsummer heat!

by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Find this book here on Amazon

For those of you who are interested in learning more about Haiku, here are two fun projects.

Origami rings Here
origami rings

 

 

 

 

Origami elephant Here

easy origami elephant

To learn more about Haiku look Here and Here.

More Haiku books for children (Click the title to jump to each book’s listing on Amazon.)

One Leaf Rides the Wind

Hi, Koo

The Cuckoo’s Haiku

Dogku

Until next Friday.

A Round of Robins add their poetic song to Perfect Picture Book Friday

Welcome to another Perfect Picture Book Friday book review. Knowing my admiration for all things nature, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve chosen to share a nature-themed poetry book. This one is ALL about robins – those red-breasted, fancy-vested, springtime visitors with a hearty appetite for wiggly, jiggly worms.

A Round of Robins 

Written by- Katie Hesterman

Illustrated by – Sergio Ruzzier

Published by- Nancy Paulsen Books – 2018

Topics – Bird poems, robins, and nature

The first poem in the book. 

TURF TUNE

Defender Dad sings, “Back away,

‘Cause Mom and I are here to stay!

We’ll raise a brood, and when we’re done,

We just might hatch another one.”

Synopsis from Amazon – Sixteen fresh and funny poems welcome a new batch of robins to the world!
Katie Hesterman’s vibrant verse celebrates this awesome circle of bird life, as we follow a pair of robin parents from nest-building and egg-laying to raising their hungry hatchlings, and finally sending off their flying fledglings. Sergio Ruzzier’s brilliant, candy-colored art pays tribute to all these stages of a robin’s life cycle, reminding us that while robins may be common, they are also extraordinary!

Why do I like this book? With my soft spot for nature, birds, and poetry, this book sings one of my favorite songs. I found this gem perched on a library shelf beside a flock of bird-themed picture books. Sergio Ruzzier’s signature style of illustration stood out from the other books. His playful and expressive pen and ink and watercolor illustrations add the right feel to accompany Katie Hesterman’s thoughtful poems which take the reader on a journey from nest building to family hatching to nest leaving. I opened to the first page, read the poem I shared above, and I instantly added this book to my checkout pile of picture book treasures. I hope you’ll pick up this book and enjoy the thoughtful robin poems and downright adorable illustrations.

Learn more about Katie Hesterman HERE.

Learn more about Sergio Ruzzier HERE.

Watch a video about robins on YouTube HERE.

Visit “Drawing Tutorials” to help children learn how to draw a robin HERE.

Until next Friday.

Perfect Picture Book Friday gets close to nature.

Growing up in the country, nature surrounded me. Nature nested in sturdy branches, burrowed holes in my mother’s garden, nibbled juicy mulberries in the woods, made a cozy home beneath rotted logs, and glistened after a summer rain. Nature also found its way into our house where it climbed up the windows (thousands of ladybugs), thought it was okay to share my pillow (a long, hairy millipede), and nestled on the windowsill to dry its wings after hatching in my bedroom (a luna moth).

When I was about ten, I spotted a wasp nest under construction above our front door. Instead of swatting it down with the kitchen broom, my mother introduced nature to me as the precious gift it is. She brought out a pair of garden chairs from the garage and set them up within five feet of the wasps. That afternoon, we watched the winged architects increase the size of their home while we sipped iced tea and enjoyed the amazing show.

Watching nature is at the heart of today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review.

Title – On Bird Hill – view on Amazon HERE.

Written by – Jane Yolen

Illustrated by – Bob Marstall

Published by – The Cornell Lab Publishing Group – 2016

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  observation, nature, birds,

Opening –

As I was walking on Bird Hill,

Though it was day, the moon shone still.

And on Bird Hill, I saw a tree,

As light and bright as it could be.

Why do I like this book? This rhyming picture book is written and illustrated in an amazing way. The reader begins with a broad view of nature. Then, page after page we are made aware that something wonderful is about to happen as we are moved in closer and closer to the big moment (which I will not spoil for you).

Learn more about Jane Yolen HERE.

Learn more about Bob Marstall HERE.

Until next Friday!

Perfect Picture Book Friday Wishes Happy Birthday to Lee Bennett Hopkins.

Today is a special day in many ways. Yes, today is Perfect Picture Book Friday, but it is also Poetry Friday and the birthday of the beloved poet and anthologist, Lee Bennett Hopkins whose poetry anthology book, School People, I recently shared with you. If you want to join in the birthday celebration for Lee, the party is well underway over at Robyn Hood Black’s blog.

Lee Bennett Hopkins

As you probably guessed, today’s picture book review is a poetry anthology- a book of poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins about a place that is dear to my heart.

The library.

I came from a serious, book-loving family. My father designed and helped build the house I grew up in, and instead of wallpaper, Dad cut and sanded looooong pieces of wood for floor to ceiling and wall to wall bookshelves. Those shelves were deep enough to hold two or three rows of books–and they did!

Imagine pulling a book off of a shelf and finding another book behind it and another book behind that one. Owning thousands of books seemed normal to me.

Dad was fond of saying, “When I have a little money, I buy books. If I have a little money left, I buy more books.

I figured everyone lived in a house filled floor to ceiling and wall to wall with books until I was invited over to a friend’s house back in the first grade. Dad had taught me that I can learn much about a person from their books. So, I was naturally excited to learn more about my friend, Carol, from the books she and her family piled, gathered, and stacked on their shelves. But the first thing I noticed at Carol’s house was NO books! (No books except the one they kept in their bathroom.) I wanted to go home because her house didn’t feel like a home to me. I didn’t care that Carol had piles of games and stuffed animals to play with. I simply wondered how anyone could be happy in a house without books.

“Dad!” I said when he picked me up later that afternoon, “I thought people were supposed to buy books when they had a little money. Carol and her family must be stone poor because they don’t have any books!”

Dad took my hand in his. “I know a place that has more books than we have at home.”

“Can you take me there?”

That afternoon, Dad introduced me to a place I have come to think of as my second home–a place with friendly, knowledgeable people who went out of their way to find the book I wanted to read, find more books on subjects I was interested in, helped me  navigate the card catalogue, and always made me feel welcome.

Yup! I’m talking about the library.

In honor of the library, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Poetry Friday, and Lee Bennett Hopkin’s 80th birthday, I’d like to share a special book of poems dedicated to the library.

Title – Jumping Off Library Shelves

Poems selected by – Lee Bennett Hopkins

Illustrated by – Jane Manning

Published by – WordSong – 2015

Topic – poems, the library, books

Opening –  I’ll only include part of this poem with hopes you will visit your library to find this treasure of a book and read on. 

Breakfast Between the Shelves by Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Morning pours spoons of sun

through tall windows, rests along

a reading chair, a copper rail;

hovers over crumbs, small supper scraps

left by those who opened books

last night, to live in story.

Mice scamper

between shelves,

pass poems

like platters of cheese;

Please read this about Owl!

And this about Giant!

Amazon’s Review –  View it HERE. Here is the library, not just as a place that houses books, but as an experience. Fifteen poems celebrate the thrill of getting your first library card, the excitement of story hour, the fun of using the computer, the pride of reading to the dog, and the joy of discovering that the librarian understands you and knows exactly which books you’ll love. The poems, compiled by noted poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins, pay homage to the marvels of books and reading. Accompanied by Jane Manning’s colorful, imaginative illustrations, this collection lyrically celebrates the magic of libraries.

 I like this book because… the fifteen poems gathered like friends between the covers of this anthology express the happiness I have always felt, and still feel, about a visit to the library. Each poem serves as an ingredient which, alone or combined, conjures up childhood memories like the magic of a bulging bag of books, the pride I felt when I held my first library card, learning about faraway places and people-fictitious and real. This collection of poems paints a clear picture of the place I call my “other home.”
Happy Birthday, Lee Bennett Hopkins! I’m glad I got to meet you through the Highlights Poetry workshop, taught by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Georgia Heard.  Your passion for poetry is delightfully contagious. Hugs and heartfelt thanks,
Leslie Leibhardt Goodman
Until next Friday!