Perfect Picture Book Friday Takes a New Approach to Valentine’s Day.

Sure, I could share a picture book with you that boasts a Valentine’s Day theme, but I decided to veer off in a fresh direction. Instead of one book, I’m sharing three that have absolutely nothing to do with Valentine’s Day except for one thing.

All three books have perfectly pink covers, making them perfect to share this holiday!

Title – Pinkalicious

Written and illustrated by- Victoria Kann & Elizabeth Kann

Published by- Harper Collins Children’s Books – 2006

Topics – Pink, cupcakes, picky eaters.

Opening – It was a rainy day, too wet to go outside.
Mommy said, “Let’s make cupcakes! What color do you want?”
“Pink!” I said. “Pink, pink, pink!”

Synopsis from Amazon HERE Pinkalicious loves all things pink. From fairy dresses to cotton candy to bubblegum. Most importantly she loves eating pink cupcakes. Mommy and Daddy warn her not to eat too many, but Pinkalicious can’t help herself. They’re just too good! But when Pinkalicious eats one too many, she turns pink herself! What will she do?

Title – Glamourpuss

Written by- Sarah Weeks

Illustrated by – David Small

Published by- Scholastic Press – 2015

Topics – pampered pet, jealousy, friendship

Opening – Once upon a pillow sat a glamourous cat named Glamourpuss.
Glamourpuss lived ith Mr. and Mrrs. Highhorsen in a giant masion on the top of a hill…

Synopsis from Amazon HERE A sassy, delicious picture-book gem from award-winning author Sarah Weeks and Caldecott Medal winner David Small.Glamourpuss has it all.She has style.She has charm. And she knows how to strike a pose.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.

Title – Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin

Written by- Lloyd Moss

Illustrated by – Marjorie Priceman

Published by- Aladdin Paperbacks – 2000

Topics – music, counting, stories in rhyme

Opening – With a mournful moan and silken tone,
Itself alone comes ONE TROMBONE.
Gliding, sliding, igh notes go low;
ONE TROMBONE is playing SOLO.

Synopsis from Amazon HERE – When this book begins, the trombone is playing all by itself. But soon a trumpet makes a duet, a french horn a trio, and so on until the entire orchestra is assembled on stage. Written in elegant and rhythmic verse and illustrated with playful and flowing artwork, this unique counting book is the perfect introduction to musical groups. Readers of all ages are sure to shout “Encore!” when they reach the final page of this joyous celebration of classical music.

My appologies that Monday will come and go without my poetry post, but after my long-awaited hand surgery (today), I’ll need a little time to mend. However, knowing how impossible it is for me to go a day without writing, I’ll be back seriously soon (even if I have to peck out a poem on my computer with a pencil clamped between my teeth).

Leslie

Perfect Picture Book Friday Shares a Poetic Year of Celebrations.

Back in September, of that year many of us don’t like to speak about, I shared two picture poetry books by Raven Howell followed by her interview. Today, for Perfect Picture Book Friday, I’m pleased to share another of Raven’s poetry books that focuses on the various events and holidays celebrated throughout the year.

A CHEER FOR THE YEAR opens with a tribute to New Year’s Day with the promise of shimmering icicles and snowy hills for sledding. As you turn the pages, the poems move through the months, sharing Raven’s sweet humor, appreciation, and love for each special event. The groundhog gets questioned whether spring will arrive early or whether winter will stick around. Valentine’s Day, Arbor Day, Easter, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, and more, lead us to the next New Year’s celebration.

Title – A Cheer For The Year

Written by  –  Raven Howell

Illustrated by  – Meredith Messinger

Published – Clear Fork Publishing

Suitable for ages – up to 12

Topics – poetry, holidays, celebrations

Opening – The first poem, in celebration of New Year’s, begins…

New year’s Day, Frizzle frazzle, Shiver, shimmer, Razzle dazzle. Promises of snow that sticks…

and continues on, taking the reader for a high-paced sled ride where they greet a special snow friend.

Amazon Review HERE A Cheer for the Year offers a poetic calendar of holiday treats, the feeling you get when a friend presses a box of decadent chocolates in your hands, and you didn’t even know that’s what you were missing.

“A Cheer For the Year is an educational and fun collection of poems that weaves through seasons and holidays with a rhyme and colorful discovery on each page. Cleverly written, with illustrations that will delight children of all ages, this is a must have on any child’s bookshelf!”
– Jo Ann DiSalvo, Youth Services Programmer/Beekman Library

Why do I like this book? It’s a combination of factors, really. I love how Raven Howell always delights me with her poetry, finding unique moments to share through unexpected twists and seriously fun to say and read aloud words. Team up her poems with the playful, paper cut illustrations of Meredith Fern Messinger, that add an additional layer of surprise and delight to each page, and you’re holding a perfect picture book!

Learn more about Raven Howell HERE.

Learn more about Meredith Messinger HERE.

I invite you to visit me next week for The Monday Poems.

Leslie

A Rescue Mission + Book Review this Perfect Picture Book Friday

If you’ve been a longtime follower of my blog, you must know that I embrace all things nature. My love for the environment moseys, sprouts, and ambles through many of my picture book manuscripts as well as my blog posts, where this fascination is evident in the books I share.

I am forever amazed by the magic that hatches from an egg as small as a garden pea. I am intrigued by great flocks of birds that change direction as if commanded by a voice only they can hear. And when I find an acorn, I look into the branches of the impressive oak, knowing I am holding a seed as small as the one that sprouted and pushed its way toward the clouds.

Before I share today’s special picture book, I’d like to tell you about the author, who, as luck would have it, is one of my valued critique partners and a dear friend. Julia Richardson holds a boundless love for nature and is currently hard at work saving Hayden Creek, which runs through the state of Michigan. A faraway village has proposed to dump their wastewater into this pristine trout stream, and Julia is taking time away from her writing to do everything possible to prevent this tragedy. In the past, I have followed each of my picture book reviews with an author interview the following Friday. Julia’s interview will be delayed for the best possible reason. To Julia, if anyone has the strength, belief, and fortitute to make positive changes for the environment, it is you.

Onward to today’s review of Julia’s debut picture book, Little Dandelion Seeds the World.

Title – Little Dandelion Seeds the World
(Available on March 15, 2021)

Written by  –  Julia Richardson

Illustrated by  – Kristen & Kevin Howeshell

Published – Sleeping Bear Press, 2021

Suitable for ages – 6-10

Topics – Dandelions, seeds, dispersal

Opening
Swish, swirl, one hundred seeds fly.
One little seed flies with the wind, far, far away.
Darting.
Drifting.
Dropping.
Down with a root.
Up wth a shoot.
A little dandelion blooms in Africa.

Amazon Review HERE – Did you know dandelions thrive on all seven continents? The cheery blooms are among the most resilient and adaptable in the world. In this lyrical book, learn how the crafty plant travels on the wind and hitches rides in all manner of ways in order to spread far and wide. Includes a map and backmatter on dandelions.

Why do I like this book? Through the use of such writer’s tools as assonance, alliteration, rhyme, and the repeated refrain (Down with a root. Up with a shoot), Julia Richardson adds musicality to her writing, making this book a pleasure to read aloud or cozy close and hear. Readers and listeners get the unexpected surprise of discovering page after page of places on Earth dandelion seeds can travel. Through colorful, textural illustrations, Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell bring to life such marvelous destinations as Australia, Africa, and Europe. Their artistic talents teamed with Julia’s lyrical text create a book both children and adults will adore.

Learn more about Julia Richardson HERE.

Learn more about Kristen & Kevin Howdeshell HERE.

  • If you are interested in supporting Julia Richardson in her efforts to save Hayden Creek or you want to follow along on the progress, you can learn more at this special Facebook group. Save Hayden Creek.

I invite you to visit me next week for The Monday Poems.

Leslie

Inclusion Meets Perfect Picture Book Friday

I waited on the bleachers, wedged between a competitive jock, an energetic cheerleader, and other eager students to play volleyball. The gym teacher called up two students to be team leaders.

“Take turns,” he said, “calling out the names of the classmates you want on your team.” Without saying these exact words, the basic translation goes something like this… Choose the most popular kids first, and work your way down through the least desirable ones. By the way, this statement isn’t open for debate; it’s a sad fact.

I watched as classmate after classmate dashed down bleachers to stand with their team leader. Soon, I had ample space around me. Space enough to stretch my legs and arms, flail them if I was in the mood, and not touch anyone because I was the only student left, and both teams had a matched number of players. Go ahead and dab at your eyes with the nearest tissue or your sleeve. I’ll wait.

At this point, everyone turned toward the bleachers. Their eyes bored into me as if I were a strange ingredient that would destroy their perfect recipe. Does anyone out there know what it’s like to hear, “We don’t want Leslie on our team!” or “Well, neither do we!” Anyone???

[Okay, straight off, I duck when a ball flies at my head. It’s instinctive. I don’t fight the impulse or make apologies for it. I know I do this, and everyone in my class knew this about me, too.]

The gym teacher, confident I wasn’t the make-it-or-break-it player to help either team win or lose, assigned me to one of the teams. I walked past the cheering group and over to the bunch that couldn’t contain their groans.

As you might have guessed, I ducked when the ball flew at me or sidestepped it every chance I got. In the last minute of the game, when both teams were tied, the opposing team went in for the kill. One of the big guys hefted the ball straight for my head, accompanied by a derogatory remark. I got mad, raised my hands together in a hard fist, and BAM! I scored the point that changed how everyone looked at me.

A bunch of my teammates started swearing in that good way that meant they couldn’t believe what just happened. The teacher shook his head in disbelief. “I didn’t think you had it in you,” he said, writing an A after my name in his grade book.

The takeaway from this story is that the small and meek can make a difference when given a chance (or when angered), which leads me to my second autumn-perfect picture book review of The Littlest Pumpkin.

Title – The Littlest Pumpkin

Written by  –  R.A. Herman

Illustrated by  – Betina Ogden

Published  – Scholastic – 2001

Suitable for ages – 4 to 8.

Topics – Dreams and inclusion

Opening – It was Halloween, and there were 18 pumpkins left at Bartlett’s Farm Stand. The pumpkins looked their very best, because they all wanted to be taken home and made into jolly jack-o’-lanterns.

The Littlest Pumpkin had the biggest dreams of all. She saw herself shining in the dark, with ghosts, monsters, witches, and fairies gathered around her singing a Halloween song. And today was the day when all her dreams were going to come true.

Amazon Review HERE – When Bartlett’s Farm Stand closes for the season, the Littlest Pumpkin, who longs to make someone happy for Halloween, is devastated to be the only pumpkin left, but when a group of mice come along, they make the Littlest Pumpkin the happiest pumpkin in the world!

Why do I like this book? How could I read this book and not connect with the Littlest Pumpkin? Her dreams were just as big and valid as the dreams of the other 17 pumpkins gathered together at Bartlett’s Farm Stand. And despite her wish to be chosen by a child that Halloween, she was passed over again and again until… The heart-hugging ending which I won’t give away. This story offers hope, and proof that dreams can come true.

Learn more about R.A. Herman HERE.

Learn more about Betina Ogden HERE.

I invite you to visit me next week for The Monday Poems.

Leslie