Posts tagged ‘picture book’

May 10, 2015

National Bike Month

by Angela Verges

Sally Jean Bicycle Queen

Title: Sally Jean the Bicycle Queen Author: Cari Best Illustrator: Christine Davenier Ages: 4-8 Genre: Picture Book

Remember when you first learned to ride a bike without training wheels? You could finally zoom around with the big kids. Now it’s you kids turn to experience the freedom of bike riding. I recently discovered that May is National Bike Month.
Before you dust off you bike and hit the trails, spend some time with a good book related to bike riding. Whether your interest is fiction, non-fiction of something on bicycle safety, the local library has vast variety from which to choose.
A few interesting books rolled off the library shelves and into my hands. The first book was Sally Jean the Bicycle Queen. Sally Jean began her bike riding journey in a seat on the back of her mama’s bike.

As Sally Jean got older she transitioned to a tricycle, a bike with training wheels, and finally riding without training wheels. As she got older, she learned to do tricks with her bike, but soon began to outgrow her bike that she named Flash. Thus began her problem.
Sally Jean was the Queen at fixing other people’s bicycle problems, but could she resolve her own? There was no money to buy a new bike, so Sally Jean had to creatively come up with a solution. You’ll have to read the book to discover how she attempted to resolved her bike problem.
If you like stories with animal characters, Duck on a Bike was very entertaining. Duck had a bright idea that he could ride a bike, so he hopped on a parked bike and wobbled along. As he rode past many of his animal friends, they had an opinion of what they thought about Ducks bike riding skills.

Title: Duck on a Bike Author/Illustrator: David Shannon Ages: 5-8 Genre: Picture Book

Title: Duck on a Bike
Author/Illustrator: David Shannon
Ages: 5-8
Genre: Picture Book

As the humor unfolds, children are sure to become easily engrossed in the story of Duck on a Bike. The next time you’re at the library, pick up this great read aloud and discover what Sheep, Horse, Chicken and Goat have to say about their friend Duck riding a bike.
If you have a young child learning to ride a bike, check out Off We Go! A Bear and Mole Story. This was a heartwarming tale about friendship and learning to ride a bike. The language was simple, but packed a punch with each encounter.
Mole pushed off on his bike and went wobble, wobble, crash. He was ready to quit, but Bear offered a word of encouragement. Mole encountered many animals on his bike ride, all of whom had to scramble to get out of his path. Pick up this book and see if you can predict what will happen with each page turn.

Title: Off We Go! A Bear and Mole Story Author/Illustrator: Will Hillenbrand Ages: 3-6 Genre: Picture Book

Title: Off We Go! A Bear and Mole Story
Author/Illustrator: Will Hillenbrand
Ages: 3-6
Genre: Picture Book

Do you have a favorite bike story?

March 30, 2015

National Humor Month

By Angela Verges

Guess what? April is National Humor Month. This is an ideal time to read a humorous book. I recently had the opportunity to meet author/illustrator Peter Brown at a book signing. He was funny and so are some of his picture books.

Peter Brown demonstrating how he illustrated the tiger In Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Peter Brown demonstrating how he illustrated the tiger In Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

During his presentation, Peter Brown showed the audience how he drew the tiger from his book, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. As he read the story, the kids in the audience roared and laughed along with the story. Add this to your reading list for April to see what adventures arise.

Title: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild Author/Illustrator: Peter Brown Genre: Picture Book Ages: 3-6

Title: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
Author/Illustrator: Peter Brown
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: 3-6


Add a bit of hilarity to your reading with another one of Peter Brown’s books, Flight of The DoDo. Mr. Brown’s humor begins on the first page when Penguin is pooped on by a goose flying overhead. What will happen next? Open this delightful book to find out what happens with Penguin and some of his bird friends.

Title: Flight of The DoDo Author/Illustrator: Peter Brown Genre: Picture Book Ages: 3-6

Title: Flight of The DoDo
Author/Illustrator: Peter Brown
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: 3-6

One more book to add to your list of humorous reading is, Children Make Terrible Pets, again by Peter Brown. Has your child ever asked to have a pet? In this story, the author has cleverly woven together a story about a bear who wants to keep a boy as a pet.


Title: Children Make Terrible Pets Author/Illustrator: Peter Brown Genre: Picture Book Ages: 3-6

Title: Children Make Terrible Pets
Author/Illustrator: Peter Brown
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: 3-6

In addition to reading humorous stories this month, you can also schedule a few fun family activities. Here are three to get you started?
1. Read a joke book.
2. Gather the family and have each person tell their favorite joke or make one up.
3. Do a silly dance, then laugh at yourself.

What are some of your favorite humorous books or family activities that add humor to your life?

February 1, 2015

Once Upon a time

By Angela Verges

Once upon a time in a two storied house in a small subdivision near a forest, lived Dreadlocks and his Mama Bear. And thus begins my fairy tale of living with a teen bear known as Dreadlocks because of his hair style.

Did you now that February 26 is Tell a Fairy Tale Day? This is an ideal time to pull out your child’s favorite tale and read it over again. There are also fairy tales waiting to be discovered by your child.

While reading an article in the Metro Parent Magazine. I discovered two interesting books – The Sock Fairy and The Knot Fairy. Have you ever begun to put away laundry only to discover mismatched or missing socks? This is the time to call on the sock fairy.

Have you ever wondered why your child wakes up with knotted hair? There may be a magical explanation. The videos below will give you a peek the two fairy tale book mentioned here.

Title: The Knot Fairy Author: Bobbie Hinman Illustrator: Kristi Bridgeman Gener: Picture Book Ages: 3-7

Title: The Knot Fairy
Author: Bobbie Hinman
Illustrator: Kristi Bridgeman
Gener: Picture Book
Ages: 3-7

Title: The Sock Fairy Author: Bobbie Hinman Illustrator: Kristi Bridgeman Genre: Picture Book Ages: 3-7

Title: The Sock Fairy
Author: Bobbie Hinman
Illustrator: Kristi Bridgeman
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: 3-7

If you’re looking for an activity to celebrate Tell a Fairy Tale Day, check your local library or bookstore. In Ann Arbor, MI, Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tearoom will hold a “fairy tea” story time on February 19.

Turn your once upon a time into happily ever after on Tell a Fairy Tale Day – choose a fun but or activity to engage your child.

November 6, 2014

if you could skate with a PENGUIN

by Wendy Lawrence

I have a gorgeous book for you today, a story of a girl and a penguin told entirely in whites, blues, and yellows. White mostly for the snow, blues for the penguin and the girl’s snowsuit, yellows for her hat, his feet.

floraTitle: Flora and the Penguin
: Molly Idle
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: 0 – 6 (I usually think kids need to be a little older to get books without words, but this is a story anyone, even the youngest, would love to look at.)

There are no words, and I have mixed feelings about books without words. On the one had, I love them. The illustrations tend to be powerful and emotional. The stories tend to be mixed with a certain kind of humor that can only be told without words. (Remember Flashlight and the raccoon pointing the light back at the boy?) On the other hand, when I’m “reading” them to my kids, which is clearly the wrong verb, I’m sometimes at a loss.

Do I describe the pictures? But if I do that, which sometimes I do, then I’m just writing the words myself, and that seems lame, because even though I call myself a writer, I don’t think that the words I’m using would be any better than the words the author might have used and, in the end, decided not to.

Or do I remain quiet and just flip the pages, letting my mind and my son’s mind wander through the story? But then sometimes he gets mad, and doesn’t believe me when I say there are no words.

Or do I ask him to tell the story? Ask him what he sees? Ask him to describe?

Usually, I settle for a mix of all three. Which is probably what the authors intend. Plus, it has the added benefit of forcing interaction with the book! Which is why I started this blog in the first place! So bring it on, books that demand me to do more than think about the laundry while reciting words my brain has long since memorized!

Flora and the Penguin is a great one for this because the story is told so obviously. Also, it adds to the interactive nature of the book with tabs that your kids can flip. Flora starts ice skating, she finds a penguin. She ice skates with the penguin. The penguin disappears. She is a little sad. Penguin brings her a fish. She throws it back in the water. The penguin is a little sad. There is resolution and love in the end. It’s a super sweet book with beautiful colors and lines and surprise. With the snow on its way, it would make a great fall or winter birthday present or a gift for the winter holidays!

November 2, 2014

America Recycles Day – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

By Angela Verges

Do you have a child who likes to collect…stuff? Over the years my son has collected football trading cards, Yu-gi-oh cards and a bunch of other things. A couple of times a year I would encourage him give away some of the things he no longer played with. The task was anything but pleasant.

November 15th is America Recycles Day. If you have a child who likes to hold onto things forever, this is a great time to introduce the concept of recycling. This task may require you to use creativity. When I attempted to help my son part with some of his old toys, he responded with, “Don’t throw that away, I still play with that.”

If you have a little pack rat who likes to keep everything, he might enjoy reading Stuff! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This is a story about a little pack rat named Pinch who keeps everything from magazines to toy cars, boats and games. Pinch had so much stuff that it was spilling onto the street.

Author: Steven Kroll Illustrator: Steve Cox Ages: 4-8 years

Author: Steven Kroll
Illustrator: Steve Cox
Ages: 4-8 years

You will have to read the story to find out what Pinch does to reduce, reuse and recycle. Expand your child’s knowledge of recycling by creating green crafts. You can find a variety of projects in the book Cool Crafts with old Wrappers, Cans, and Bottles by Carol Sirrine.

Cool Crafts tells you how to make projects reusing items you already have. Did you know you could make Itty Bitty Frames using metal bottle caps? It’s as simple as gluing a magazine a small picture into the cap and adding a magnet strip.

Author Carol Sirrine Ages 8-14 years

Author: Carol Sirrine
Ages: 8-14 years

Do you have a suggestion of things to do for America Recycles Day or a favorite book related to recycling?

October 20, 2014

a serious dog in A GOOD HOME FOR MAX

by Wendy Lawrence

The illustrations in this book are stunning. Junzo Terada is the celebrated artist behind them. They are full of retro-gorgeous colors like real red, a soft blue, yellows, and greens and browns. The images are slightly splotched (that’s a terrible description from someone who is obviously NOT an artist) with patches of white and gold, making them even appear old.

maxTitle: A Good Home for Max
Author/Illustrator: Junzo Terada
Genre: Picture Book
0 – 6

The story is a little bit retro, too. It’s a toy store story. And a forgotten toy, kind of like Corduroy. Tabi the mouse cleans the store at night and loves Max more than anything, but tried to make the very serious dog with a somewhat unhappy face more likable so he will get taken home, too. The story is simple and predictable with a happy ending, which is pleasantly old-fashioned. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the new things going on in picture books these days, but sometimes you don’t feel like a zombie robot or a creepy carrot or using all your energy mixing pretend paints.

Sometimes you just want a nice story. With nice characters. And undescribably nice–beautiful, too, and poignant–illustrations.

October 15, 2014

robot smartypants burp the alphabet

I think the title of this book Robot Burb Head Smartypants, pretty much says all you need to know. Our favorite robots from the totally awesome Robot Zombie Frankenstein book by Annette Simon are back. Only this time they are trying to teach you things. Like counting. And saying the alphabet. But, inevitably, burping gets in the way. So as you can see, there is NOTHING NOT to like about this book! It’s phenomenally awesome.

robotTitle: Robot Burp Head Smartypants
Author/Illustrator: Annette Simon
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: 0 – 7 (This is one of those picture books older kids will appreciate just as much.)

Here’s a sample page:


Seriously. If you need more than that, I can’t help you. Well, okay, I can give you one more reason to get this book. The illustrations–digital images made of geometric shapes mixed with real photographic images–are as awesome as the text. So there. And check out Robot Zombie Frankenstein too!

October 13, 2014

for kids who love colors. or those that don’t, but will soon. Mix it up!

by Wendy Lawrence

I was super excited when this book landed on my doorstep. Its predecessor, Press Here is one of our longtime family favorites. (If you don’t know that one, and unexpectedly interactive book of colors, definitely check out the link above.)

Mix it Up! uses the same principles of Press Here, but adds a whole dimension of colors and how they are made. Kids mix their fingers on the paint illustrations and make their own colors as if they were mixing paints themselves. What happens when you rub your finger on the blue then dip it in the yellow? Turn the pages to find out! What about if one page has a red dot and the opposite page has a yellow dot and you close them together? Turn the page again! What about if you mix a bunch of colors with white? Or with black?

mixitupTitle: Mix it Up!
Author/Illustrator: Hervé Tullet
: Picture Book, Art
Ages: 0 – 6

Kids will love playing with this book. And when you are done, they will love playing with paint! You could even really easily let your kids recreate this whole book with a simple supply of finger paints. How much fun would that be?

October 9, 2014

remember when you played TELEPHONE?

by Wendy Lawrence

It starts with a mother bird who says “Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner.” But the youngest only remembers “Tell Peter: Hit pop flies and homers.” That changes to “Tell Peter: Prop planes are for fliers.”

telephoneTitle: Telephone
Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jen Corace
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: 0 – 7

The game of telephone, played by birds on a telephone wire, appropriately enough, gets out of hand at one point:

Tell Peter: There’s a giant monster lobster named Homer! He smells like socks and he breathes red fire! His eyes blaze like stars and he rides a crocodile that flies and he’s coming to this wire! Tell Peter to fly! Fly far far away! He’s too young to be somebody’s dinner!

Then there is one of those beautifully brilliant pages with no words. Where an older owl gives this latest message the kind of look that parents sometimes give the younger set. And he turns and says “Hey, Peter.” Which is another of my favorite pages. I love that it slows down a little. Then he straightens his glasses and says “You mom says fly home for dinner.”

🙂 Which made me love the book. Because really, as parents, doesn’t that just sum up the whole job? Yes, it’s nice to have fun with the kids, but sometimes, when dinner is on the table and the craziness is out of hand, it’s up to us to cut out the monsters and the crocodiles and boil everything down to the main point.

That and the illustrations. Which are gorgeous.

October 2, 2014

don’t forget your FLASHLIGHT

by Wendy Lawrence

This book made me wish it was nighttime and I was camping. Well, actually, I usually wish I was camping. But just flip through a couple of pages of this wordless, black-yet-bright, night-inspired picture book and see if you don’t find yourself waiting for the sun to go down.

My kids are going to love this book. And as soon as it’s done they are going to look for their flashlights. The nighttime images are gorgeous, and the beam of light that finds bats, owls, sticks, and apples, is perfect. Even without words, the book manages to be funny. The boy trips at one point and finds the beam illuminating him–with a raccoon on the other end!

flashlightTitle: Flashlight
Author/Illustrator: Lizi Boyd (or do I only write “illustrator” since there are no words??)
Genre: Picture Book
Ages: 2 – 7