A Distant Vacation + A Famous Bookstore = Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday

I was away last week on a much-needed vacation. I traveled to a city where architectural wonders rose around me as I ventured down narrow, cobblestone streets. Everywhere I turned, views left me breathless and reaching for my camera. Late one afternoon, I rode up an elevator with my family that carried us closer to the clouds and revealed an unforgettable 360-degree sight of this bustling city that never sleeps.  I toured museums, boasting treasures I had only seen in books but now stood before in awe. I tucked into tiny shops filled with tantalizing delights. I ate in restaurants that offered unbelievable, culinary masterpieces for the tummy and the eyes!

A famous store in this city made it high on my must-see list.

Misleadingly small on the outside, but filled with a labyrinth of book-filled rooms on the inside is how I would describe the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore in Paris. 

When I packed my suitcase for this trip, I brought as little as possible so as to leave as much room as possible for a few Parisian souvenirs. I imagined strolling along the Champs Elyse’es, saying, “Oooo-La-La!” each time I fell in love with a sweater, purse, or scarf. Maybe I’d bring home a small replica of the Eiffel Tower to sit beside me at my desk or a box of utterly-divine chocolates. Instead, I needed to borrow space in my husband’s suitcase for the stack of books I couldn’t resist. 

The interesting detail about the book I’m sharing with you today is that I purchased it without knowing what the story was about. For the first time, I didn’t read the synopsis, and I didn’t read a single word on any page; instead, I became intrigued by the cover illustration, opened the book to the first page, and knew I wasn’t leaving the Shakespeare and Company Bookstore without this treasure.

Title – How the Stars Came to Be

Written and illustrated by – Poonam Mistry

Published by – Tate Publishing -2019

Suitable for ages – absolutely everyone – children and adults

Topics/Theme –  Folk tale, how the stars came to be, father and daughter story

Opening – In a time many years ago, there was only the light from the Sun and the Moon. There once lived a Fisherman’s daughter who loved to feel the light on her skin. During the day she would dance and play, weaving in and out of the Sun’s rays.

Amazon Review HERE –  Have you ever wondered how the stars came to be in the sky?

The Fisherman’s Daughter loved to dance in the sunlight and bathe in the glow of the moon. But when the moon disappeared for a few nights each month, she worried about her father and how he would find his way home from the sea in the deep darkness. When the sun finds her sobbing one night, he takes one of his rays and shatters it onto the ground, creating the stars and giving the girl the task of putting them into the dark night sky. This beautifully illustrated story gives us a new folk tale, and a new way to look up at the night sky.

Learn more about Poonam Mistry HERE.

Sit back and watch this youtube video, filled with illustrations by Poonam Mistry HERE.

If you have an extra moment,  I’ve included 16 photographs from my vacation.

PARIS 2019 PHOTO ALBUM

2500

The famed Shakespeare and Company Bookstore

2516

Notre Dame

2431

tree-lined lane near the Pont Alexandre III Bridge

2409

Irresistible pastries

2223

View from the Arc de Triomphe

2097

Inside the Louvre

2019

Streets at Montmartre

2524

A Parisian sight

1998

Windows at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul

1983

Sacre’ Coeur Basilica

(21)

A decadent chocolate dessert

(20)

Pont Alexandre III Bridge

(19)

Tuileries Garden

(18)

Rue du Petite Pont

(16)

Me at the Eiffel Tower

(15)

An amazing Cappuccino

Au revoir until next Friday!

Need a Friend? Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday Review Shows You How.

Let’s travel back in time…

I was a couple of months into first grade. My friends from kindergarten and I were a year older, ready to say goodbye to little kid activities like stacking blocks and hello to reading Sally, Dick, and Jane books. Except instead of joining my friends on their first-grade adventure, I had more than stacking blocks to say goodbye to.

My family was moving, and I’d never see any of my friends again.

My childhood was not the age of cell phones, texts, and Instagram posts.  Sure, I could have written snail mail letters, but let’s not forget that I was just learning to write my name and spell simple words, so writing newsy letters to keep in touch wasn’t an option.

Moving meant starting from scratch.

Of course, all of the kids in my new homeroom had playground buddies and knew who would trade pudding cups for Ding Dongs while I was clueless who would want to trade me ANYTHING for my salami and parsley sandwich -guaranteed to leave flecks of green between your teeth. Yes, I was the only kid who survived elementary school without ever having a normal, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I also didn’t get to wear jeans, but that’s another story…

Looking back, I wish today’s picture book, Neville, existed when I was six. The main character, in this adorable book by Norton Juster, figures out how to make friends in a most ingenious way. Yes, it would take courage, but boy does this kid’s method work!

In case you’re wondering where you heard the name, Norton Juster, he is the well-known and beloved author of The Phantom Toll Booth, The Hello, Goodbye Window, and many more remarkable books.

Title – Neville

Written by – Norton Juster

Illustrated by –G. Brian Karas

Published by – Schwartz and Wade Books -2011

Suitable for ages – 4-8

Topics/Theme –  Moving and making friends

Opening – The big gray van pulled away from the curb, moved slowly down the street, and disappeared around the corner. Now it was quiet, and there he was, where he really didn’t want to be.

Amazon Review HERE – Written by the acclaimed author of The Phantom Tollbooth, this Amazon Best Picture Book of the Year is a simply told story about a boy who moves to a new neighborhood and finds a unique way to make friends. With whimsical illustrations by award-winning illustrator G. Brian Karas, here is a read-aloud that’s great for storytime, and is sure to be a hit among fans of Juster, Karas, and anyone who is “the new kid on the block.”

“[T]his ingenious foray into breaking into a new neighborhood makes for an amusing and appealing story.” —School Library Journal

Learn more about Norton Juster in this video interview HERE.

Enjoy this Q & A with G. Brian Karas HERE.

Did your family move when you were growing up? If you have a memory you’d like to share, I hope you’ll include it in the comments.

Until next Friday!

Things Are Heating Up This Perfect Picture Book Friday With A DRAGON!

Have you ever wanted something so much but having it was impossible because an obstacle stood in your way? I’m not talking about the agony of climbing up a bean pole that’s growing through the clouds, getting past a starving giant (unnoticed), and snatching his golden goose. No, nothing challenging like that.

In the case of today’s book for Perfect Picture Book Friday, our main character, Duncan, desperately wants to read a book all the way through to those two wonderful words, ‘The End,’ but something keeps stopping him.

What could possibly stop Duncan from finishing a book?

I’m glad you asked. Well, Duncan happens to be a dragon–the FIRE BREATHING sort who has a habit of turning his books into ashes. I’m not going to spoil the ending for you, but I will say that the solution to Duncan’s problem is so picture book perfect, I recommend you read this book to find out how he solves his heated dilemma.

Title – Duncan The Story Dragon

Written and illustrated by – Amanda Driscoll

Published by – Alfred A. Knopf – 2015

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Reading, determination, and friendship

(Isn’t this the cutest illustration?) 

Opening – Duncan the Dragon loved to read. When Duncan read a book, the story came to life… and his imagination caught fire. Unfortunately, so did his book. (In the land of picture books, I call this a perfect opening to a perfect book.) 

Amazon Review HERE – Duncan the Dragon loves to read. When he reads a story, his imagination catches fire! Unfortunately . . . so does his book. Fire breath is great for roasting marshmallows, but it’s not so great for reading. Duncan just wants to get to those two wonderful words, like the last sip of a chocolate milkshake: The End. Will he ever find out how the story ends? This bright, warm tale champions determination, friendship, and a love for books. And milkshakes!

Learn more about Amanda Driscoll HERE.

Check out this seriously adorable Fire Breathing Dragon craft project on YouTube.

Until next Friday!

Messes aren’t always disasters. See why this Perfect Picture Book Friday!

I’m pretty sure many of us could look back to our childhood years and identify a little, and hopefully a lot, with Jamie, the main character in today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection, Down Here by Valerie Sherrard.

Jamie is a little boy with a big imagination. He sees the world in ways grownups no longer can. Where his mother sees a mess of blankets thrown over chairs, pillows piled up precariously, and a toboggan IN THE HOUSE, Jamie sees a castle where knights tame dragons to roast marshmallows. Don’t you already love this kid?

Although I never played with imaginary knights and dragons when I was little, I did play under the dining room table. I’d imagine the long tablecloth, that swept down to the floor, made the walls of my secret room. I would dump out my box of Legos and build a small village for my dolls. Some days, I’d pull my little, wooden stool under the table and pretend it was an artist’s table. I’d spread out my paper and crayons and color pictures of my family and flowers. Then, I’d tape up my mini-masterpieces to the underside of the tablecloth to decorate my secret room. Minus the dragons, I was a little like Jamie. Maybe that’s why I love today’s book so much.

Title – Down Here – view on Amazon HERE.

Written by – Valerie Sherrard

Illustrated by – Isabelle Malenfant

Published by – Fitzhenry & Whiteside – 2015

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Imaginative play, looking at things differently

Opening – Everyone is good at something.

My sister Lynn is good at drawing cats. Our fridge is covered with her pictures!

My brother Marcus is good at telling scary stories. Mom claps and says he will be a great author some day.

I am good at building. I can build ANYTHING! There is only one problem.

Why do I like this book? I had forgotten, until my daughter was about two or three, that everything around me can be seen from more perspectives than simply straight on or from top-down. My little girl walked and crawled close to the ground, she could see the undersides of furniture, the undersides of the dog’s belly, and the underside of a skirt on a mannequin at Macy’s… But that’s another story. Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday selection, Down Here, reminds us not to be quick to judge until we have looked at something from all sides. I call that a great reason to like love this book.

Learn more about Valerie Sherrard HERE.

Learn more about Isabelle Malenfant HERE.

Are you interested in ideas to encourage imaginative play? You’ll find ten HERE.

Until next Friday!

Four Otters Toboggan: An Animal Counting Book by Vivian Kirkfield+ Book Winner!

This Friday, as promised, I’m sharing Vivian Kirkfield’s stunning picture book, Four Otters Toboggan – An Animal Counting Book, as well as the lucky winner of this book, “hat picked” from those who left a comment on last Friday’s author interview post.

vine borderHave you ever been attracted to a book because of its title or cover illustration? Have you ever paged through a book and connected with it so powerfully you hugged it all the way to the store’s cash register? Have you ever been moved by a book so greatly you read it countless times? 

Vivian’s picture book, Four Otters Toboggan – An Animal Counting Book, will have you saying Yes! Yes! Yes!

Welcome to an ecological journey of discovery on which you will be delighted by Vivian’s special word choices – sure to change the way you see and hear the world.

We’ve seen dragonflies hover and zip across a pond, but have we thought of them as ballerinas above a liquid stage? 

In nature films, we have observed otters slide into the water, but when Vivian writes that they toboggan down a slide of mud, this playful scene comes to life. 

Title – Four Otters Toboggan – An Animal Counting Book

Written by – Vivian Kirkfield

Illustrated by – Mirka Hokkanen

Published by- PomegranateKids – 2019

Topics – wildlife preservation, endangered animal awareness, counting, water, weather

Opening –

Water waits.

Dawn breaks

in a chorus of bird song.

ONE willow flycatcher whistles

as the night slips silently away.

Synopsis from Amazon  Water wakes. Wildlife greets the day and finds shelter, safety, and fun on the river in this lyrical, ecologically oriented counting book. One willow flycatcher, two dragonflies, three kit foxes, and more thrive in their habitat. As kids count, the day turns from dawn to dusk, and the character of the water changes as quickly as a child’s moods. Animals sing, leap, tiptoe, toboggan, hoot, hunt, flit, flutter, and hover. They ride out a storm, bask in waning rays, and tuck in under the silver moon.

Filled with modern wood engravings, Four Otters Toboggan celebrates wild beauty, encouraging readers of all ages to preserve and cherish our planet. After the story is finished, children can read more about each species in the back of the book, conservation efforts, what causes animals to become endangered, and what people can do to protect wild habitats.

Why do I like this book? Along with the fun of finding and counting animals on each page, children are introduced to eleven endangered species, the concept of time passage over a day, and the ever-changing mood of both water and a storm. That’s a lot to build into a 32-page picture book! And did I mention the back matter offers additional facts about each animal? The part I love best is that this information is told with lyrical and thoughtfully-chosen words, accompanied by lovingly-created, modern, wood engraving illustrations.

Now for the winner of Vivian’s beautiful book.

Please put your hands together for Jilanne Hoffmann!!!

Learn more about Vivian Kirkfield HERE.

Learn more about Mirka Hokkanen HERE.

Read about and watch the making of the illustrations for Four Otters Toboggan HERE.

From Siera Club – Learn 5 Ways to Protect Endangered Species HERE.

Until next Friday!

 

It’s Show and Tell Time This Perfect Picture Book Friday!

Thinking back to my elementary school days, one of my favorite memories circles around show and tell time. Although I never brought in anything out of the ordinary, one girl in my class did.

While the first kids to share held their items for all to see, Jane walked to the front of Mrs. Kelly’s third-grade classroom with a paper bag clutched in her hands. Clearly nervous about her choice of what to share, Jane’s knuckles grew whiter the harder she clenched the rolled up top of that bag, desperate to keep whatever she’d brought from escaping. Or so we believed…

Jane looked long and hard at her bag. Then, she looked at the teacher.

Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle.

Jane unfolded the crimped top and reached her hand into the bag. No one breathed while we waited to see what lurked within.

“This is a freshly cut chicken foot,” Jane said. “My family raises chickens, and I can make this foot move.”

Was she kidding?

When Jane grabbed a dangling tendon and gave it a tug, every squeamish girl in room 305 grossed out as the claw-like foot gripped and released like a grizzled witch’s hand. The boys, however, circled Jane, eager for a turn to make the foot clench next. When Jane went on to tell us how long a chicken can run around without its head, Mrs. Kelly changed the rules of Show and Tell. From that day on, all items brought in to share had to pass her approval.

And this brings me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday Review.

Title – Rotten Teeth

Written by- Laura Simms

Illustrated by – David Catrow

Published by- Houghton Mifflin Company – 1998

Topics – Show and Tell, sharing,

Opening – Melissa Hermann was the shortest person in her first-grade class. She was also the only one who hadn’t brought in anything for Show and Tell.

Elaine Estes showed the class a plastic dinosaur footprint. Carmine Appaseed shared his entire glow-in-the-dark sticker collection. Even shy Fern Miller had brought in her baby hamster. It sat in a cage in the room all morning.

But nothing from Melissa’s house seemed special enough.

Synopsis from AmazonSpeaking in front of the class isn’t easy for small people like Melissa Herman. Especially when there’s nothing very special to say about her house or her family or herself. But with the help of her older brother, Melissa borrows a bottle from her father’s dental office to take to show and tell. The teacher is appalled, but the children are intrigued. David Catrow’s hilariously zany illustrations reveal that there is nothing ordinary about Melissa Herman, or her house or her family. The bright artwork is laugh-aloud funny and will have children begging to hear the story again, or maybe invent their very own tale.

Why do I like this book? Right from the start, the reader is intrigued to learn why Melissa hasn’t brought anything for Show and Tell. Is her home that normal? That boring? However, the humorous illustration on the opening page reveals Melissa does not live an ordinary life. This first look at the outside of her house hints that some strange and mysterious oddities lurk within. Maybe Melissa doesn’t think anything would be interesting enough to bring and share, but her big brother does, and boy does Melissa get a reaction from her classmates and teacher! On the entertainment scale for picture books, I give this gem a solid ten.

Hop over to Laura Simms web site HERE.

Learn more about David Catrow HERE

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If you have a fond, funny, or otherwise memorable memory about Show and Tell, I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Until next Friday!

Learn How To Make A Friend This Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Back in preschool, I didn’t worry about making a friend. With my sister, a year ahead of me, I found comfort knowing she’d be there. She’d be there to show me which toys were the most fun to play with, when to expect naptime, when the teacher served a pudding snack, and when it was time to pull on our jackets and head for home. Worrying about making a friend happened in first grade when my family moved to a new town in the middle of the school year.

Let’s forget that my teacher resembled the witch in Wizzard of OZ, and I don’t mean Glinda. Let’s forget that when I walked in, there were no extra desks, and the teacher left me standing in front of twenty-five pairs of staring eyes while she foraged in other rooms for a desk. Let’s forget that during reading time, I had to share a book with a freckle-faced girl named Cindy who caught me up on the parts of the story I had missed.

Wait. Let’s not forget about Cindy. She was the first friend I made at the new school who didn’t make me feel like a stranger, entering someone’s house at dinner time. Her family didn’t have much money, so she didn’t have many school supplies, but she did have two pencils. And she shared.

Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review is a story about making a friend. In fact, the title of the book is Making a Friend.

Title – Making a Friend

Written by- Tammi Sauer

Illustrated by – Alison Friend

Published by- Harper Collins Children’s – 2018

Topics – making a friend, working together, getting along.

Opening – Beaver was good at making lots of things. But there was one thing he had trouble with…

…making a friend. No matter how hard he tried, nothing ever went as planned.

Synopsis from Amazon Beaver is good at making just about everything…but not friends. One winter day, Beaver sees some snowflakes in the sky and gets a great idea: he’ll make a friend. Yes! A snowman will be a great friend!

Raccoon passes by as Beaver sets to work and offers a helping hand. The two work side by side to give their snowman everything a friend needs.

But when the snowman proves to be a little cold, Beaver discovers that he may have unknowingly “made” another buddy instead.

Perfect for snuggling together for a read-aloud, this sweet snowy friendship story from Tammi Sauer and Alison Friend will warm the hearts of young readers.

Why do I like this book? This is a story that will speak to children everywhere. We’ve all, at one time, started at a new school whether it was our first day of preschool or because we moved to a new town. For those children who wonder how to make a new friend, Tammi Sauer has the answer in her sweet story of friendship.

Hop over to Tammi Sauer’s website HERE.

Read an interview with Alison Friend HERE.

Find fun, kid-friendly crafts about friendship HERE.

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If you have a fond, funny, or otherwise memorable memory about making a friend, I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Until next Friday!

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 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.

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.