Perfect Picture Book Friday-I Need My Monster

This week, I have chosen I Need My Monster for Perfect Picture Book Friday.

I Need My Monster

Written by Amanda Noll and Illustrated by Howard McWilliam

Publisher: Flashlight Press 2009

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Monsters, Humor, Imagination

Opening Lines: Tonight, when I looked under the bed for my monster, I found this note instead. “Gone fishing. Back in a week. —Gabe”  What was I going to do? I needed a monster under my bed. How was I supposed to get to sleep if my monster was gone?

Synopsis: (from Flashlight Press) I Need My Monster is a  unique monster-under-the-bed story for all monster-loving kids. The perfect balance of  giggles and shivers will keep you under your covers, and  you’ll soon be sleeping soundly.

Resources: Comprehensive Lesson Plan at Empowering Writers,  Activities from Flashlight PressHow to Make Your Own MonsterMonster Maker by Think Bank

Why I Like This Book: First off, I love the idea of a monster named Gabe. It’s so un-monsterly. And, the idea of a kid who NEEDS his monster is very creative. Ethan tries to replace Gabe, so that he can go to sleep. But it’s hard to replace a monster that has such wonderful characteristics…ragged breathing, nose-whistling, crabbling, uncut claws, and spooky green ooze. As you can see, the language is perfect for a monster book. Don’t you love the word crabbling? Although polite, Ethan turns down several monsters who would really like to sub in for Gabe. They aren’t quite up to his “monster” standards. The dialog between Ethan and those “applying for the job” is hilarious. . A plethora of well-timed action verbs, along with reach-out-and-grab-you illustrations, keep the anticipation at a monster level. You will NEED to turn the pages:-) The fact that Gabe is so picky about his monster and its level of scariness will have kids giggling, which will hopefully help them deal with their own monsters under the bed. And let’s face it, some kids just love monsters no matter where they are. In that case, this book NEEDS to be added to their collection of monster books.

Extras: Visit ‘s blog for an interview with the author, Amanda Noll.

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list if you scroll down past the category list.

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Once There was a Bull…frog!

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list.  This week, I have chosen Once There Was A Bull…frog!  for Perfect Picture Book Friday.

Once There Was A Bull…frog!

Written by: Rick Walton and Illustrated by Greg Hally

Gibbs Smith- 1995 1st edition, Rep Rev edition (March 1, 2011)

Ages 3-7

Themes: Compound Words, Language Fun, Educational, Concepts,  Humor

Synopsis: (From Rick Walton’s website) It’s about the worst thing that can happen to a bullfrog: he’s lost his hop and doesn’t know where to find it. But when he begins to search for it, he discovers that nothing is what it seems. He looks under a toad. But turn the page, and the toad turns out to be a toadstool. He looks under a dog. But turn the page, and the dog is really a doghouse. And so on, and so on, from a cow…boy to a stage…coach. Set in the Old West, the story takes the reader into every nook and cranny that compound words can offer. Will the bullfrog ever find his hop? Turn the page and find out! Rick Walton and Greg Hally have created a page-turner, in the truest sense of the word. It’s a rollicking story that begs to be read again and again.

Resources: Rick Walton’s website has an extensive list of awesome resources, including: 2275 Compound Words, Activities, Build Your Own Compound Words, Compound Word Riddles, Nursery Rhymes About Frogs, Write Compound Word Riddles, Write Your Own Bull…frog Story, Write Your Own Problem Story.

Why This Book is Praise…worthy: Because it’s more appealing than flap…jacks, more inventive than fly…paper, more exciting than a home…run,  and a more than fool…proof way to teach children about compound words. In fact, I was so over…come by joy when I discovered this book that it contributed in a big way to my decision to try my hand at writing…which back in 1995 (when the book was first published)…was actually hand…written 🙂 Rick Walton is a master…mind when it comes to word…play. This book will add  a big dose of sun…shine for students in your class…room.  I’m not over…stretching when I say that you won’t be short…changed by Greg Hally’s clever illustrations as they show…case compound words in a playful way. In short, Once There Was A Bull…frog will be a worth…while read and you will be spell…bound by the ready…wittedness with…in the pages.

Seriously, not only is this a book every early elementary teacher should have for teaching compound words, but it is a read-aloud that any kid or adult will want to read/hear over and over again. It will have readers and listeners anticipating every page turn. The illustrations strengthen the text by tempting the reader to guess what is on the next page. But watch out…they will trick you every time and send you off on a wild guessing game. When you finish this book, you may want to follow Bull…frog’s adventure in his next book, Bullfrog Pops!

I have several of Rick Walton’s books. They are a wonderful resource for teachers. For instance, another title is Pig, Pigger, Piggest. He has a list of books for teachers with resources. Visit his website to view others.

Valentines Day Contest

Susanna Leonard Hill is having her Valentines Day Contest. I am a huge fan of her blog. I met her online back when she was hosting a Thanksgiving Day Contest. I decided to enter which was great fun. I also started reading her blog that very day and since then I haven’t missed one of her posts (or one of her contests 🙂

Our entry is supposed to be a children’s story, poetry or prose, maximum 200 words, about unlikely Valentines. For complete contest guidelines go here. To read all the entries, click here. Susanna’s example will be in her post and links to the entries are below her post.

So on to my entry.

Frankenstein Valentine

Won’t you be my Valentine?
And say, “I love you, Frankenstein?”
Love my ragged, jagged hair?
Love my bloodshot, frightening stare?

Won’t you be my Valentine?
And say, “I love you, Frankenstein?”
Love my grisly, garish grin?
Love my lumpy, warty skin?

Won’t you be my Valentine?
And say, “I love you, Frankenstein?”
Love my stitched-up, crooked scar?
Love my brain from Victor’s jar?

Won’t you be my Valentine?
And say, “I love you, Frankenstein?”
Love my garbled, boorish talk?
Love my lumbering, stilted walk?

Yes, it’s your chance, my Valentine
to be my Mrs. Frankenstein.
What???
G-r-r-r-r-r-r!!!!!

You say that you will NOT be my mine?
Will NOT love this Frankenstein?
Then…just forget this love-fest scene
I’m heading back to Halloween!

Happy Valentines Day!

Perfect Picture Book Friday-Don’t Panic Annika

I am jumping up and down with excitement…Boing! Boing!…for Perfect Picture Book Friday. Today, I am reviewing a book by…drumroll…

The One! The Only! Juliet Clare Bell! (You could call that an overuse of exclamation points…but in this case…you’d be so wrong). Clare just happens to be in my critique group and she is awesome. She is not the only awesome member of my critique group. There are six others filled with awesomeness. In case you’re not in the mood for math, that would be eight in our group, which has turned out to be a really good number.

OK…OK…on to the review.

Don’t Panic, Annika!

Written by Juliet Clare Bell and Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Picadilly 2011 (and others-see Notes below)

Ages 4-7

Themes: Childhood Experiences (remaining calm), Emotions, Determination, Problem Solving, Family

OpeningAnnika was a panicker. She always PANICKED . . .When she dropped Moose in the pond . . . she PANICKED. “He’s fallen in! I can’t get him!” she shouted. “Try fishing him out with your net,” said Dad. “I CAN’T! shouted Annika.

Brief Synopsis: (From Amazon-UK) Annika is a panicker! She panics when her coat zip gets stuck on the way to a party. She panics when she can’t find her favourite toy at bedtime. Mum, Dad and her brother try to show her how to stay calm in a crisis. But when she gets locked in the house, with the only keys out of reach, it’s Annika who manages to solve the problem by herself.

Resources: I would consider this book a resource for parent’s and teachers who are wanting to teach a child skills for remaining calm. Clare is in the process of creating resources as we speak. They will be available for download from her website March 1, 2012. Also, Clare’s daughter, who shares the name of the main character, reads the book aloud on this YouTube video. She does an excellent job and is just precious in an Annika costume. Clare says that even though Annika shares the name of the main character, she doesn’t share the personality. As you can see she is not a panicker.

Why I Like This Book: Clare’s repetitive, rhythmic text  make this a book that children will want to hear/read again and again. Her characterization is spot on.  The book teaches some very useful skills that children can use for calming themselves in situations where they might be prone to panic. Even though there is a lesson to be learned, the book is a load of fun and not preachy in the least. Jennifer E. Morris’s illustrations will capture children from the beginning. When Annika drops her favorite toy, Moose, in the pond, you will want to jump in and rescue him yourself, because Jennifer has made him completely adorable.

Notes: Besides being published in English in the UK (Piccadilly Press) and Australia (Koala Books), Don’t Panic Annika!  and is published in Dutch in the Netherlands (Geen Paniek, Anniek! with de Vries Brouwers). It’s also coming out in Taiwan, in Chinese and English as a dual language edition (Chang Tan Int Publishing, 2012), and in Slovenian, too (Skrivnost).

Extras: Clare has another book coming out in early autumn with Barefoot Books. The title is The Kite Princess and will be illustrated by Laura-Kate Chapman. The main character is a princess named Cinnamon Stitch.  It will come with an audio CD read by Oscar nominated  Imelda Staunton 🙂 Oh…and I just learned that Pirate Picnic will be out in May, 2012, and is published by Franklin Watts. The Kite Princess and Pirate Picnic are alluring titles that I can’t wait to read. She has more details here on her website.

More Extras: Click here for an interview about how Clare became an author. And, for you writers, here is a blog post about her perfect picture book structure.

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list.

Liebster Award

Thank you to Beth Stillborn for bestowing upon me the Liebster Blog Award.

What is the Liebster Blog Award?
  • Well, don’t try dictionary.com because they will ask, “Did you mean lobster?”
  • And this is what you get at http://www.britannica.com: “Liebster – You are looking for Liebster? | getaspecialdeal.com”
  • Wikipedia said the page didn’t exist, but gave me a chance to create it…I passed.
Anyway, the Liebster Blog Award has been making its way around the blogosphere. Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. WOW!

The Liebster Blog Award is given to up-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

After doing a thorough Google search, I learned there are several versions of  rules for the Liebster Blog Award. So, not only did I get an award, I got to choose the list of rules I like the best…and here they are:

  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
  • Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
  • Copy & paste the blog award on your blog
  • Pass the award to 3-5 bloggers and reveal your picks.
  • Let them know you chose them by leaving a comment on their blog.

So, here we go—-

Many, many thanks to Beth Stillborn for the award. Her blog is  By Word of Beth. Her tagline is “On Writing, Reading, the Arts and Life.” Isn’t that appealing? You will find the information she shares appealing as well. Be sure to visit her here.

I am choosing to pass the award to 4 bloggers. I know that I could’ve chosen more…but a lot of the blogs I follow have already received the Liebster Blog Award. Then there are the blogs I follow that passed the 200 mark a long time ago. Seriously, it is very hard to pick  blogs. There are so many great ones out there and you never know for sure if they have less than 200 followers…I surely don’t want to insult anyone that may have 300….500….1000 followers and I’m just not aware of that fact. But, I am going to do my best to follow these rules 🙂

Here are the 4 blogs I choose:

Diandra Mae is a very talented illustrator. Viewing her blog and her portfolio on her website will surely give you the inspiration it has given me.

Dana Carey at Up in the Attic-Dana is an author/illustrator from France. You will enjoy her blog, along with her sketches.  Be sure to read this interesting guest post post where Dana was featured on Tara Lazar’s blog, Writing Kids While Raising Them.

Carter Higgins a motion graphics designer.  Check out her blog, Design of the Picture Book. To quote Carter, “I love pictures and words and how they can communicate. When picture books are framed by good design, my heart skips a beat.” Well my heart skipped a beat when I saw her amazing trailer for Picture Book Month. Such talent! You can view it here.

A Pen in Neverland is the blog belonging to Angela Peña Dahle.  She has a new blog banner that is so unbelievably cute that you must head on over to see it. You’ll be glad you did.

Perfect Picture Book Friday-The Cow That Laid An Egg

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list.  This week, I have chosen The Cow That Laid An Egg  for Perfect Picture Book Friday.

The Cow That Laid An Egg

Written by Andy Cutbill and Illustrated by Russell Ayto

HarperCollins 2008

Ages 3-7

Themes: Insecurity, Jealousy, Animals

Brief Synopsis: (Little One Books) Marjorie is an insecure cow who wishes she had some special talent. She can’t ride a bicycle or do handstands like the other cows. Then one morning (thanks to a bunch of scheming chickens and a paintbrush), Marjorie is astonished to discover something extraordinary: she has laid an egg!

Resources: Unfortunately I did not find resources. But a good question for discussion would be: “Which do you think came first? The cow or the egg?”

Why I Like This Book: Marjorie see that the other cows have special talents. She has none and is feeling very down. But then she lays an egg which seems the most special of talents and draws attention from all directions. Although the other cows are very suspicious and suspect the chickens had something to do with this, Marjorie believes!!! The text and illustrations are hilarious. From the proud farmer, to the crafty chickens, to the disbelieving cows, to Majorie’s patient egg-warming positions, to the first word from Majorie’s baby’s mouth…Andy Cutbill and Russell Ayto make this a delightful read…and reread…and reread. Once you read The Cow That Laid An Egg you will want to rush to the bookstore or library and read the next one, The Cow That Was the Best Moo-ther. As for me, by doing this review, I have learned that there is a third book…First Week At Cow School. I know what book I want to read ASAP.