Making Room this Perfect Picture Book Friday

Back in college, I’d meet up with four of my friends on Friday’s for movie night. We’d take turns choosing both the movie and the mode of transportation to the theater. I didn’t have a car, so on my days, we caught the bus. Nine times out of ten, everyone knew I’d choose a rom-com. The world comes at us with enough reasons to be afraid; why add misery to that stew?

One Friday, it was Rick’s turn. Needing to make up for the mushy screen time he’d endured the previous Friday, he chose the testosterone-fueled, bloodbath movie, Scarface with Al Pacino. Big cast, few remaining survivors. I spent much of the movie pretending I’d lost something valuable in my popcorn. Meg Ryan would NEVER be in a movie like that!

But to give a reason for sharing this memory, Rick’s chosen transportation that day (for all FIVE of us) was his moped. We piled on each other’s laps like a stacked sandwich, and with all our weight, the poor moped strained forward at two miles per hour. Walking would have saved time. Somehow, we all managed to score a ride and turn a few heads on our way to the theater, which leads me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday Review of…

ROOM ON THE BROOM

Title – Room on the Broom

Written by  –  Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by  – Axel Scheffler

Published  – Puffin Books – 2001

Suitable for ages – 4 to 8.

Topics – Friendship and companionship

Opening – The witch had a cat and a hat that was black and long ginger hair in a braid down her back. How the cat purred and how the witch grinned, as they sat on their broomstick and flew through the wind. But how the witch wailed and how the cat spat, when the wind blew so wildly, it blew off the hat.

Amazon Review – HERE. The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, then her bow, and then her wand!  Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom.  But is there room on the broom for so many friends?  And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?

Why do I like this book? When I think about witch stories, I expect to read about old hags who, like the witch in Hansel and Gretel, got her jollies baking children into cookies to stand outside of her house of sweets. But the witch in Room on the Broom surprised me. She loves animals as much as I do, she makes room for them–no matter what, and she looks out for their best interests. Truly a sweetie! As it turns out, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are the dynamic writing and illustrating duo of the beloved picture book The Gruffalo and many others. You’re sure to fall in love with both the rollicking, rhyming story and the playful illustrations the second you open this book.

Learn more about Julia Donaldson HERE.

Listen to a read aloud of Room on the Broom HERE.

Watch an wonderful, 25-minute movie of Room on the Broom HERE.

Learn more about Axel Scheffler HERE.

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

Leslie

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!

You’ll be shocked when you learn who authored this picture book!

Read through this list of facts to see if you can guess the mystery author’s name.

Born on October 23, 1959, this American singer, songwriter, parodist, record producer, satirist, actor, voice actor, music video director, film producer, and author is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts.

Since 1976, when his first comedy song aired, he has sold more than 12 million albums!

Between 1976 and 2017, he has recorded more than 150 parody and original songs.

He has performed more than 1000 live shows.

His works have earned him four Grammy Awards and a further 11 nominations, four gold records, and six platinum records in the United States.

Any guesses?

About two weeks ago, friends of mine sent me a lovely message on Facebook telling me they are enjoying my book reviews and have checked out some of the books from their library. Then, with one question, they sent me falling off the side of my chair.

“We wondered if you ever reviewed a picture book by Weird Al Yankovic.”

HUH? WHAT? Weird Al Yankovic writes picture books? Seriously? This I’ve GOT to see.

I hopped over to Amazon, read the glowing review, read the first pages Amazon shares, laughed like crazy at the brilliant humor, placed my order, and checked my mailbox twice every day until the package arrived.

OMG! This guy knows how to write entertaining, rhyming picture books both kids and their parents will love!

Without further ado . . .

When I Grow Up

Title – When I Grow Up

Written by – Al Yankovic  

Illustrated by – Wes Hargis

Published by – scholastic – 2011

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics – rhyming text, a child’s humorous career plans.

Opening –  I waited so long for the hours to pass, but soon it was noon there in Mrs. Krupp’s class. And Thursday at noon, as I’m sure you know well, is the time of the week when we do show-and-tell.

And this week the subject–so special to me–was “When I grow up, what am I gonna be?” That’s something I’d really been thinking about, and I just couldn’t wait to let all those thoughts out.

Amazon’s Review –  View it HERE. Grammy Award-winner and pop culture icon “Weird Al” Yankovic delivers his first picture book, bringing his trademark wit, wordplay, and silliness to a story that explores the timeless question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Funny and charming, this is a celebration of creativity and possibility.

An Amazon Best Book of the Month! “The farce and parody make this a rare book with appeal to both kids and adults” (Booklist).

It’s Show-and-Tell time in Mrs. Krupp’s class, and Billy just can’t wait for his turn! Today the class is discussing what they want to be when they grow up, and our exuberant eight-year-old hero is bursting to tell everyone about his future career plans.

In dazzling wordplay and delicious rhymes, Billy regales his patient teacher and amazed classmates with tales of the variety of careers he wants to pursue—each more outlandish and wildly imaginative than the last!

Why do I like this book? Honestly, if a book makes me laugh a lot, the author has won me over. And I received a laugh out loud moment on every page. Bravo, Al Yankovic!

The imagination of Billy, the main character, goes well beyond that of a typical child. Billy is a boy with BIG dreams for his future, and he’s not about to settle for a boring career. From dreaming of becoming the greatest chef in the world who makes such tantalizing (and strange–unless you’re pregnant) dishes such as Twinkies au gratin and candied pigs’ feet topped with shrimp-flavored lollipops, he also dreams of becoming a snail trainer, giraffe milker, and a gorilla masseuse for starters. And if you aren’t laughing hard enough, Wes Hargis’s give the text an added zing with his witty and imaginative illustrations. I could go on, but best you check out his one to see why I love it so much.

Learn more about Al Yankovic HERE.

Watch a YouTube video interview with Al Yankovic on The Today Show HERE.

Watch another YouTube video from an interview on Conan HERE.

The two picture books Al Yankovic wrote are When I Grow Up and My New Teacher and Me!