Perfect Picture Book Friday Goes On The Mend.

I’m sorry for reposting a book review from my blog archives, but I have a GOOD reason. Last week, I had surgery, and the enormous cast has all but swallowed up my left hand. So please bear with me as I peck out this post, letter for letter, with the speed of a sloth.

In honor of my repaired injury, I have chosen an appropriate book, How to Heal a Broken Wing.

Now, onto the original book review…

Living with wild critters was part of my childhood.  My mother often brought home temporary pets for us to observe. We had a pair of mice, a lunar moth, tree frogs, and a fair number of birds that flew into our windows. Once, we had a seriously injured salad-loving mallard living in our kitchen that my mom found along a country road.

The need to care for injured or neglected animals continues with me. Each bird that flies into the window receives a cozy, lined box, a dish of water, and a bowl of bird seeds to help with its recovery. Those that don’t survive…I carefully bury in the garden with flower petals, earth, and tears.

My love of animal rescue stories shows itself in today’s PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) review, How to Heal a Broken Wing.  See the book on Amazon HERE.

Title – How to Heal a Broken Wing

Written and illustrated by – Bob Graham

Published by – Candlewick Press 2008

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Animal rescue and kindness

Opening – High above the city, no one heard the soft thud of feathers against glass.

Amazon Review – In a spare urban fable, Bob Graham brings us one small boy, one loving family, and one miraculous story of hope and healing.

In a city full of hurried people, only young Will notices the bird lying hurt on the ground. With the help of his sympathetic mother, he gently wraps the injured bird and takes it home. In classic Bob Graham style, the beauty is in the details: the careful ministrations with an eyedropper, the bedroom filled with animal memorabilia, the saving of the single feather as a good-luck charm for the bird’s return to the sky. Wistful and uplifting, here is a tale of possibility — and of the souls who never doubt its power.

Why do I like this book? In sparse text and tender illustrations, the reader strongly feels the love Will has for an injured bird. But Will doesn’t only bring home the injured bird, he also saves a feather the bird lost,  hoping his parents can reattach it to help the bird fly again. Understanding their son’s need to care for the bird, his mother brings a medical kit, and his father prepares a cozy box. In caring for the injured bird, Will and his family demonstrate a wonderful act of kindness from the heart.   

Learn about Bob Graham HERE.

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

 

Bird craft to make with kids   Image of Yarn Bird

Find instructions HERE. After the text instructions, photographs follow, illustrating the process to make this adorable bird.

Until next Friday.

Get a BIG Laugh this Perfect Picture Book Friday.

I recently came across a YouTube video of a grandmother reading a picture book to her grandson. With each page turn, snickers turned into laughs that grew and grew to the point where tears formed and she could barely read. The story, the humorous illustrations, and the grandmother’s infectious laughter had me hanging on to my chair to keep from falling off. Hands down, this is one of the funniest picture books.

If you happen to know someone who never or rarely finds anything funny, get a copy of this book and ask them to read it aloud to you. My guess is that you’re going to hear some BIG laughs.

The Wonky Donkey 

Written by- Craig Smith

Illustrated by – Katz Cowley

Published by- Scholastic – 2010

Topics – Side-splitting humor and being yourself

Opening – 

I was walking down the road and I saw…

a donkey,

Hee Haw!

He was a wonky donkey.

Synopsis from AmazonChildren will be in fits of laughter with this perfect read-aloud tale of an endearing donkey.

Why do I like this book? Face it, we all love reading or listening to something that makes us laugh, and this book delivers BIG laughs. The story about being okay with who you are – faults and all, plus comical and heartfelt illustrations which raise the humor to the ceiling, make this a must-have book which I quickly added to my shelf of favorites.

Learn more about Craig Smith HERE.

Learn more Katz Cowley HERE.

Listen to a YouTube video where Katz Cowley shares her illustration process HERE.

YouTube video of Grandmother reading The Wonky Donkey HERE.

Until next Friday.

Get A Skiing Lesson Today At Perfect Picture Book Friday

Grab your jacket, scarf, and skis because Perfect Picture Book Friday is taking you out for a skiing lesson…

…with a giraffe!

I’m thinking back to one particular Friday when I was in the sixth grade. It was the Friday before Winter break. Outside, snowflakes, big as coasters, were settling down on the swings and monkey bars. Inside, my teacher, Mrs. Larson, was piling plates with candy-sprinkled cookies and filling up cups with cocoa and marshmallows. The room was buzzing with the voices of anxious kids, chattering about their plans for those snowy vacation days.

“I’m going to build a snowman, go sledding with my sister, and bake cookies!” I said.

Two kids pushed in front of me, eager to share their winter break plans. In three words, they made my dream snowman grow soggy.

“We’re going skiing!” they shouted.

Of course, everyone wanted to know if they had ever skied before, if they were sticking to the bunny hill, or if they were going to tackle the scariest slope.

After winter break, two kids hobbled into the classroom on crutches, eager to share their harrowing stories about their ride down, Down, DOWN the BIG hill. Loads of autographs and good wishes were already penned around their casts, but the kids in Mrs. Larson’s classroom still managed to find space to add in their names, too.

I’ve never been skiing. I’ve never even touched a pair of skis. But when those kids shared their adventures on the slopes, I hung onto every one of their words, trying to get a feeling for what it is like to sail over and down snowy hills. Maybe one day…

So, if you love skiing or ever wondered what it would be like to ski, you’ll enjoy the fun-filled ride in Viviane Elbee’s debut picture book, Teach Your Giraffe To Ski.

And…

As a special bonus, Viviane will be joining me here next Friday for an author interview! Please stop by to say hello to her.

Teach Your Giraffe To Ski

Written by- Viviane Elbee

Illustrated by – Danni Gowdy

Published by- Albert Whitman & Company – 2018

Topics – skiing, friendship, and facing fears.

Opening – Uh-oh. It’s snowing and your giraffe wants you to teach her to ski.

Synopsis from Amazon –Your giraffe wants to learn how to ski—but not on the bunny hill. She wants to go down the big scary slope! Enjoy this riotous journey as the narrator tries to reign their giraffe in—and learns something about courage along the way.

Why do I like this book? As a parent with a child who hears her friends talk about skiing and wonders what it’s like, this book serves as a perfect introduction to the sport. Viviane Elbee’s main character explains the skiing positions needed to slow down, go fast, make a turn, and more. And what better companion to learn alongside than a giraffe?

Learn more about Viviane Elbee HERE.

Learn more about Danni Gowdy HERE.

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 Hangs Out With Elephant and Piggie.

While I was writing my personal story to accompany today’s picture book review, something magical happened. The more details I recalled and wrote down, the more I realized I had written a rough draft for my next picture book manuscript. So, I’m going to switch gears and share a different book with you.

I thought I had read every single Elephant and Piggie book by Mo Willems, but one had escaped me.

I’m especially fond of stories which offer an unexpected twist at the end. And yes, most picture books deliver just such an ending, but as I neared the last pages of The Thank You Book, the ending I expected and was 99.99999% sure would be delivered, was waaaay off. Mo Willems delivered a spot on, eye-popping surprise.

The Thank You Book (An Elephant & Piggie Book)

Written and illustrated by- Mo Willems

Published by- Hyperion Books for Children – 2016

Topics – Thankfulness and consideration for others.

Opening – “I am one lucky pig. I have a lot to be thankful for… I had better get thanking!” 

(How adorable is that?) 

Synopsis from Amazon – Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In The Thank You Book, Piggie wants to thank EVERYONE. But Gerald is worried Piggie will forget someone . . . someone important.

Why do I like this book? I have never read a book by Mo Willems I didn’t love. And in The Thank You Book, I spent page after page knowing exactly what Mo Willems had planned. Exactly. And then… BAM! A surprise came beyond all surprises. You’ll simply have to check out this book to find out who Piggie forgets to thank.

Learn more about Mo Willems HERE.

Watch a video interview with Mo Willems HERE.

See some great kid-friendly projects inspired by Mo Willems Books HERE.

Until next Friday.

This Perfect Picture Book Friday Review Will Squeeze Your Heart!

Perfect Picture Book Friday looks at There Might Be Lobsters by Carolyn Crimi, illustrated by Laurel Molk.

About fifteen years ago, I traveled with my family to Hawaii. In addition to experiencing tropical surroundings for the first time, waking up at four in the morning to watch the sunrise, strolling barefoot along the beach to collect shiny seashells and funny shaped pieces of lava, I experienced snorkeling for the first time.

I also discovered the paralyzing power of the brain.

Despite being told repeatedly that once the snorkeling mask and breathing hose were tightly secured I could safely breathe under the water, I couldn’t inhale the teeniest molecule of air. I dipped my face below the water’s surface and floated about, holding my breath while watching a school of fish swim past my fingertips.

I brought up my face to yank out the breathing tube and suck in the sweet air.

I dipped my face down again, watching and waiting for another fish. I waited as long as I could hold my breath. Then…

I brought up my face, yanked out the breathing tube, and sucked in the sweet air.

Right about that time, my hubby swam over and handed me a camera in a water-proof case. “You might have more fun if you’re taking pictures,” he said.

I replaced the breathing tube, pressed my face into the water, and observed the deep sea world through the camera’s lens. It was at the time, when air seemed a good thing to get, that an enormous sea turtle paddled beneath me. I snapped picture after picture, fluttering my feet to keep up with him. As the beautiful turtle disappeared behind a curtain of seaweed, I realized something.

I brought up my face, yanked out the breathing tube, and yelled, “I did it! I breathed underwater!”

Sometimes it takes something big, like a giant sea turtle, to get us over our fears. In the case of a dog named Suki, from today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review, getting over his long list of fears at the beach takes the loss of something small but of immense importance.

There Might Be Lobsters

Written by- Carolyn Crimi

Illustrated by – Laurel Molk

Published by- Candlewick Press – 2017

Topics – Fear, Friendship, overcoming obstacles, and love.

Opening – Lots of things at the beach scared Suki. Lots.

“Come on, Sukie, you can do it!” said Eleanor. She stood at the bottom of the stairs to the beach and waved to Sukie.

But Sukie was just a small dog,

and the stairs were big and sandy, and she hadn’t had lunch yet, and her foot hurt a little…

(and I’m going to stop here with hopes you’ll check out this book to read this heartfelt story and enjoy every emotion-packed illustration.) 

Synopsis from Amazon – A little dog’s paralyzing anxiety gives way to bravery when someone smaller is in need in this humorous, tenderly sympathetic story.

Lots of things at the beach scare Sukie. Lots. Because she is just a small dog, and the stairs are big and sandy, and the waves are big and whooshy, and the balls are big and beachy. And besides, there might be lobsters. With endearing illustrations and a perfectly paced text that captures a timid pup’s looping thoughts, here is a funny and honest read-aloud about how overwhelming the world can be when you’re worried — and how empowering it is to overcome your fears when it matters the most.

Why do I like this book? Each of us, at some point in our lives, has experienced a fear that stopped us from doing something. Like a fear of drowning that turned learning to swim into a miserable memory for us (me). Or a fear of heights that kept us (me) from zip-lining hundreds of feet above the Hawaiian forest with family and friends.

In the case of today’s picture book, Sukie, a little dog, fears many things at the beach, including lobsters. Overcoming his fear comes when the unthinkable happens, and he must choose between feeling loss and lonliness forever or facing his fear to keep something of great value. Spoiler alert. Sukie faces his fear. But you knew he would.

Writing Prompt: Write about a fear you overcame and how facing it changed you. Include your emotions before and after the event.

Learn more about Carolyn Crimi HERE.

Learn more about Laurel Molk HERE.

Until next Friday.

Bear Has a Story to Tell-this week at Perfect Picture Book Friday

Perfect Picture Book Friday looks at Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead, a story about patience, caring, and friendship.

Do you remember coming home from school, bursting with a story about something amazing that happened to you or to a friend? Maybe you spent the whole day reviewing every detail because you didn’t want to leave out anything your family might find funny or fascinating. Finally, the end-of-the-day bell rings. You make a mad dash for home and burst through the front door. But instead of getting a chance to tell your story, your mother is on the phone, and it looks like she won’t be ending her call with Aunt Sylvie anytime soon. Your Dad is over in the neighbor’s yard, helping to fix a sputtering lawnmower. Your sister is dashing out the front door for her ballet class. The only one left to share your story with is Spot, and he’s in the middle of a tail-wagging, paw-prancing nap.

You wait…

You wait longer…

Dinner comes. The family, including Spot, gather at the table, and you can’t remember enough of your story to make it worth telling anymore. You sum up your day in a few words.

“It was fine.”

If this has ever happened to you, you’ll enjoy today’s picture book review beary, beary much!

Bear Has a Story to Tell

Written by- Philip C. Stead

Illustrated by – Erin E. Stead

Published by- Roaring Book Press – 2012

Topics – patience, caring, and friendship.

Opening – It was almost winter and Bear was getting sleepy. But first, Bear had a story to tell.

“Mouse, would you like to hear a story?” asked Bear with a yawn.

“I am sorry, Bear,” said Mouse, “but it is almost winter and I have many seeds to gather.”

Synopsis from Amazon – Bear found his friend Mouse, but Mouse was busy gathering seeds and didn’t have time to listen to a story. Then Bear saw his friend Duck, but Duck was getting ready to fly south. What about his friend Toad? He was busy looking for a warm place to sleep. By the time Bear was through helping his friends get ready for winter, would anyone still be awake to hear his story?

This endearing story of friendship and patience is a worthy companion to Philip and Erin Stead’s last collaboration, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal.

Why do I like this book? Many kids (and adults) will easily see themselves in this story and say, “I know what Bear is going through.” and “I know exactly how he feels.” But looking past Bear’s problem of wanting to share a story with his busy friends, Bear’s generous caring nature shines through far brighter as he puts the needs of others before his own. I found so much to love in this tender and touching story, and I hope if you read Bear Has a Story to Tell, you will feel the same way, too.

Learn more about Philip C. Stead HERE.

Learn more about Erin E. Stead HERE.

Until next Friday.

Perfect Picture Book Friday Shares Glamourpuss

Perfect Picture Book Friday looks at, Glamourpuss, by Sarah Weeks.

Having grown up with cats, (cats we assumed were all girls until their fated trip to the vet when we were told we had boys in need of quick name changes…) I couldn’t resist sharing this wonderful book. Although none of my cats worshiped themselves to the degree Glamourpuss does in this charming fairytale-esque story, they all came dangerously close.

Title – Glamourpuss

Written by- Sarah Weeks

Illustrated by- David Small

Published by- Scholastic Press – 2015

Topics – friendship, jealousy, and compassion

Opening – Once upon a pillow sat a glamorous cat named Glamourpuss.

Jacket copy  –Glamourpuss loves being the center of attention. So when an unwelcome guest (a dog, no less!) steals the spotlight with some tasteless bow-wowing and undignified tail-wagging, Glamourpuss worries that she’s going to fall out of fashion.  Is there room for only one superstar in this mansion? When Glamourpuss makes her most majestic move to find out, the result is pure purrfection.

Kirkus Review – A lighthearted twist on the traditional antagonism between cats and dogs takes place in an over-the-top upper-crust world.

Weeks includes several nods to fairy-tale conventions in her slyly amusing text. The saga begins “Once upon a pillow,” and the eponymous heroine turns to her mirror for confirmation that she is the “most glamorous of all.” Meanwhile, classic films are clearly the inspiration for Small. Created with ink, watercolor, pastel, and collage, illustrations include a flat-screen TV showing Theda Bara as Cleopatra, a scrawny Chihuahua with Shirley Temple, Carmen Miranda and Scarlett O’Hara costumes, and a setting that evokes the glamour of old Hollywood. Bluebelle, the dog, is a visitor in the home of Glamourpuss’ owners and, in the cat’s eyes at least, a rival for their affections. Well-pleased with her luxurious lifestyle, cheerfully cataloged in scratchy, energetic artwork, Glamourpuss tries her best to sabotage Bluebelle. While her efforts don’t pan out, and the dog definitely has her day, young listeners will likely be pleased with the (not entirely) unexpected rapprochement between the two pets.

Sophisticated vocabulary and pop-culture references may well fly over the heads of children, making this fizzy, exuberant entertainment a treat that is best shared by an adult with a penchant for screwball comedy. (Picture book. 4-7)

Why do I like this book? The marriage of text and illustration is purrr-fect. The story opens with the introduction of an excessively pampered cat who thinks highly of herself. Children will learn new vocabulary words with ease as they are clearly and humorously defined both through text and illustration.  The illustrations offer a wealth of details to keep young listeners entertained as they endure the frustration Glamourpuss feels when a talented dog in tacky clothes comes to visit. Enter…Bluebell. Upon discovering that Bluebell despises entertaining and parading about in ridiculous outfits, Glamourpuss steps in to offer a few lessons of her own, helping Bluebell become the kind of dog she deserves and wants to be, thus creating a lasting friendship.

Author – Visit Sarah Weeks here.

Illustrator – Visit David Small here. 

Interview with Sarah Weeks about Glamourpuss here.

Learn to draw a cat for children here.

Perfect Picture Book Friday Looks at The Most Magnificent Thing

Perfect Picture Book Friday looks at The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires, a story about never giving up no matter how many failures come.

Back when I was about ten years old, I colored a picture of a field of flowers for my room. I drew some teeny-tiny blooms and some enormous ones. I gave each flower unique petals, shapes, and colors – no two were alike. I worked until I had filled the field with the happiest flowers I could imagine. Then, I ran to show it to my mother, eager for her praise and pretty sure I had earned lots of it for my masterpiece!

Note: My mother was a scientific illustrator at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois.

Does anyone see where this is going? 

Picture me dashing into the kitchen, clutching my drawing, and putting off as much enthusiasm as Charlie Bucket did when he found the golden ticket, wrapped inside a Wonka bar.

My mother smoothed out my drawing and studied it. I watched her eyes sweep over my art as she took in the beauty of each of my carefully executed blossoms and my impressive array of colors.

“Well?” I begged. “What do you think?”

Mom pointed to a yellow flower with spiky petals. “What kind of flower is this one?”

“That’s a daisy,” I said, “and that blue one is a daisy, too. This red one is rose, of course. And that hairy, pink one is a clover. And that orange one is a marigold. Over here, I drew a lilac bush, and in that corner is a tulip. And look,” I said, my enthusiasm nearly pushing the roof off of our house, “I even drew a cactus exactly like the ones we saw in Arizona on vacation last summer!”

“And all these flowers are growing where?” Mom asked.

“In a big field.”

“And where is this big field?” Mom pressed.

“Here,” I said, holding up my picture. “Right here.”

“Well, if that’s so,” Mom said, “this picture could never exist anywhere. In real nature, these plants wouldn’t grow in the same place. If you want to draw an accurate picture of flowers, you can look them up in one of my botany books by region and season.” She handed the picture back to me.

I walked to my room and drew a picture of a flower–one flower. On another sheet of paper, I drew a different kind of flower. By the end of the day, I had drawn lots of flowers. I pinned them next to each other because, in my room, anything I could imagine was possible.

The Most Magnificent Thing

Written and illustrated by- Ashley Spires

Published by- Kids Can Press – 2014

Topics – Determination, imagination, and persistence.

Opening – This is a regular girl and her best friend in the whole wide world. They do all kinds of things together. They race. They eat. They explore. They relax. She makes things. He unmakes things. One day, the girl has a wonderful idea. She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! 

(Seriously long) Synopsis from Amazon – Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. “She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!” But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. For the early grades’ exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl’s frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it’s okay to make mistakes. The clever use of verbs in groups of threes is both fun and functional, offering opportunities for wonderful vocabulary enrichment. The girl doesn’t just “make” her magnificent thing — she “tinkers and hammers and measures,” she “smoothes and wrenches and fiddles,” she “twists and tweaks and fastens.” These precise action words are likely to fire up the imaginations of youngsters eager to create their own inventions and is a great tie-in to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Why do I like this book? Kids need to learn not to give up at the first sign of failure, and this story provides the perfect example of how trying, again and again, can lead to success. This story also shows that taking a close look at “why” something failed can lead to better results. The specific areas Ashley Spires chose to color in the illustrations keeps the focus on what is important in each scene. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best), I give this book a solid 10!

Learn more about the author/illustrator, Ashley Spires HERE.

A writer’s prompt: Write about a something you made that took many, many, many tries to get right.

Until next Friday.

Perfect Picture Book Friday Looks at Crow Call by Lois Lowry

Perfect Picture Book Friday looks at Crow Call by Lois Lowry.

Near me, where I write, stand two tall bookshelves–an anniversary gift from my understanding husband. I dedicated shelves to picture books, middle-grade novels, nonfiction books for children, and books on the many aspects of writing books.  On my picture book shelf, one book sits with its cover facing me. That book is Crow Call by Lois Lowry.

A couple of years ago, my daughter asked me to bring her to the book fair at her school. Since we had too many bills to pay off that month, I told her I could only afford to buy one or two books for her and none for me.

Who was I fooling…? My addiction to books began as a child when my father covered one wall of our living room, end to end and floor to ceiling, with bookshelves he handmade. Over the years, we filled those shelves to brimming. 

Crow Call by Lois Lowry Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.

In the room set up for the fair, I said to my daughter, “Go ahead and look around. I’ll be over here, browsing the picture books.”

My eyes roamed over the titles and then…a book caught my eye.  Crow Call by Lois Lowry. I immediately identified with the young girl with blonde braids on the cover. She looked like me when I was her age. The girl was standing on a golden hillside, staring up with wonder at a sky filled with crows. The illustration, made with the loving hand of illustrator, Bagram Ibatoulline, perfectly captured the landscape of my childhood. I read the opening lines, continued to the last page of this feel-good story, and swallowed my tears.

Right about the time when I closed the book and held it in a hug that I heard a familiar voice…

“I thought you weren’t going to buy any books for yourself,” my daughter said.

“I love this story so much,” I managed to say. And that’s all I said as I clutched the book harder.

Then, she noted the tears in my eyes and hugged me. “I think you need to buy this one.”

Crow Call

*Written by- Lois Lowry – Drawn from her own personal experience as a child.

*Illustrated by- Bagram Ibatoulline

*Published by- Scholastic Press, 2009

*Suitable for – 4 and up

*Topics/Theme – The bond of parent and child, specifically father and daughter.

*Opening –  It’s morning, early, barely light, cold for November. At home, in the bed next to mine, Jessica, my older sister, still sleeps. But my bed is empty.

Words from the author “The details of Crow Call are true. They happened in 1945 to me and my father. But parents and children groping toward understanding each other — that happens to everyone. And so this story is not really just my story, but everyone’s.” —Lois Lowry

Synopsis from Amazon

This is the story of young Liz, her father, and their strained relationship. Dad has been away at WWII for longer than she can remember, and they begin their journey of reconnection through a hunting shirt, cherry pie, tender conversation, and the crow call. This allegorical story shows how, like the birds gathering above, the relationship between the girl and her father is graced with the chance to fly.

Why do I like this book? So many picture books these days have sparse text and are 500 words or less–often less. But this book, with it longer text, tells a rich and satisfying story of a relationship between a father and daughter separated by a war. It captures the shyness of a little girl who sees her father as a stranger. Their journey into the day becomes an important step in finding their way back–together. Through the father’s generosity, sensitivity, and gentleness, a bond is formed which leads to a perfectly satisfying ending. Now, team up the beautiful writing of Lois Lowry with the soft, realistic illustrations of Bagram Ibatoulline, and you have a Newberry Medal winner in your hands.

Lois Lowry’s website (author)

Classroom author study of Lois Lowry

Bagram Ibatoulline’s website (illustrator)

To listen to Lois Lowry speak about Crow Call, visit YouTube.

A writer’s prompt: Write about a special time you shared with your mom or dad when you were a child–a time that strengthened your parent-child bond.

Until next Friday.